Paradox Interactive has only announced Europa Universalis IV last week and they are already showing the game in an alpha state during Gamescom 2012, after working on the core concepts and ideas since about September 2011.
Europa Universalis is the core grand strategy series from the company, which spawned everything from Hearts of Iron to Crusader Kings, and the fourth edition of the game is set to deliver some solid improvements while keeping the main features of the franchise familiar to old fans.
The biggest change is the introduction of three kinds of Kingdom points, for administration, diplomacy and the military, which will be involved in almost all the aspects of the game.
They are generated at a rate that’s decided by the characteristics of the ruler and are influenced by national ideas and by the various advisers and gamers can either keep hold of them in order to research new technologies (which currently costs about 400 points) or you can use them to boost your country immediately (which costs lower, currently 5 or 10 points for different actions).
It’s a huge change that could have immense impact on how Europa Universalis IV plays and it seems like a good way of making smaller nations competitive while keeping larger behemoths like France and Austria in check in the long term.
Another new system that I loved was the new trade focus, which adds depth to this area of the game and makes playing a merchant republic actually fun.
Players need to see how trade is flowing around the country and decide where to place merchants at strategic spots while also trying to control centers like Crete or Venice and at the same time securing important sea areas.
Europa Universalis IV also looks very good, based on the Crusader Kings II engine with improvements, and Paradox plans to have it out by the end of 2013.