Greetings all on this auspicious day,
As promised last week, today we have big news as well as an overview of what we’re working on for the next Hearts of Iron expansion: Arms Against Tyranny, and the accompanying Stella Polaris update.
After successfully evading capture and inclusion in numerous HOI expansions, we’re proud to announce that Finland and the Nordic countries will be setting the theme for the Arms Against Tyranny expansion. This is a region clearly very close to our hearts at Paradox, but also a region with significant involvement in the development of WW2. While the effects of the winter war, occupations, and policy-making of the Nordic countries are well documented on the progress of the war as a whole, domestic histories and perspectives of these countries are often overlooked in favor of more active theaters. Arms Against Tyranny offers us a chance to tell both aspects of these stories without compromising the greater strategic narrative we’ve come to expect from Hearts of Iron.
Over the next several months we’ll be introducing you to a more detailed perspective on each of the constituent parts of AAT, including deep dives into the mechanics you’ve already seen (International Markets and Military Industrial Organizations). The mechanics we’ve chosen to include here are ones which we feel augment the fantasy of playing in the Nordic area during this era, though as usual, we’ve tried to make sure that the expansion brings something for everyone.
Below, you’ll find the store-page overview for what’s coming in AAT - however beyond this summary, we will not be answering any questions on the features we haven’t produced a dev diary for.
Hearts of Iron IV: Arms Against Tyranny
Four Northern democracies are seemingly helpless against nearby predatory dictatorships. Despite their size, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden have a chance to avoid conquest through clever diplomacy or fierce resistance. Write a new history of the Nordic countries in Arms Against Tyranny, a new expansion for Hearts of Iron IV.
This expansion to Paradox Interactive’s celebrated grand strategy wargame about the tumult of the years around the Second World War adds new focus trees and alternate histories for the northernmost nations of Europe, customization of weapons manufacturers, and new ways to take advantage of neutrality to profit your own citizens.
The Winter War
Relive the defining moment of Finnish history, defying the odds in a war against a much more powerful Soviet adversary. Though disadvantaged in air and amored forces, Finnish forces have a strong advantage on homeland defence, so you should prepare an army specifically designed for Finland’s terrain to fight invaders. Or, if you prefer, write your own history, strengthening Fascist sympathizers who want a Greater Finland or pursuing a socialist path - with or without Soviet support.
A Powerful Sweden
The richest of the Nordic nations, Sweden is well-suited to a path of vigorous neutrality and to serve as both an arms designer and arms trader. Strong unions risk crippling unstable governments unless you can provide enough work. In a world on fire, Sweden must also upgrade its obsolete forces so it can defend itself. Can the Swedish democracy avoid taking the side of its occupied neighbors, or will the government collapse in favor of monarchist or Fascist alternatives?
Relive the historical challenge of a young industrializing nation trying to stay neutral in the face of German aggression or prepare for war by quickly arming to resist the war that is coming to your doorstep. In alternate historical paths, unscrupulous domestic fascists may take advantage of domestic complacency and pursue Nordic union through betrayal, or a Communist revolution can choose to stand with or against Stalin’s regime.
A long-standing policy of neutrality leaves Denmark unready for a continental war. Pursue the course of domestic harmony through a strong welfare state and agile diplomacy, or throw in with the democratic Allies, rearming for the coming storm. Alternate paths include chasing the dream of a united Scandinavia, reviving the old Kalmar Union.
A War Machine of Your Design
To make sure you have an industry that matches your ambitions, national manufacturers and weapons designers can specialize their craft, improving the production and research of various items through the course of the war. Military Industrial Organizations will offer new ways to streamline production lines or develop high-performance weapons systems with advantages on the battlefield.
Guns for Butter
In the new International Market, you can become an arms exporting powerhouse, selling weapons to other nations in return for civilian factory output, increasing your own industrial production at home while fueling the fires of war abroad. This is a new way for rich and advanced neutral nations to stay viable and active in a world war.
New Military Options
Many updates and changes to the design and organization of military divisions, including customization of special forces units, divisional specializations, and more.
New Art and Music
New unit art, including Finnish snowmobile brigades, and 10 new songs inspired by the key cultures in Arms Against Tyranny.
This, however, is not all! I shall hand you over to our most prolific dev-diary artiste to introduce you to our plans for AAT’s headline nation: Finland!
Hei! It is Mano de Zombi to welcome you all to a new Hearts of Iron 4 Dev Diary!
With the beautiful Swedish summer approaching, good weather and bright sunny days have finally arrived in the North, and with them comes news about the first country to be revealed for the upcoming DLC Arms Against Tyranny, Finland!
As we have been doing in the latest DLCs, we are going to split the Finnish content into two Dev Diaries. Today, we will be talking about the historical and common branches of the Finnish Focus tree, and we will leave the alternative history for a future Dev Diary.
As usual, I need to warn you that you are about to see Work In Progress (WIP) content that might not be finalized, balanced, localized or that might contain placeholder art, and it is subject to change before release. Also keep in mind that some of the content might vary if certain previous DLCs are not active. Thanks for your understanding!
And with that said, let’s get to it!
In 1936, Finland found itself in a complex political, diplomatic, and military situation. Despite being a democratic nation, nationalism and right-wing ideology were on the rise. The proximity to the Soviet Union also made it vulnerable to aggression, and tensions between the two countries were high.
On the political front, Finland's government was fairly fragile, with several different parties (most remarkably the Agrarian Party, the National Coalition Party and the Social Democratic Party) vying for power and struggling to work together effectively.
Finland's relationships with its neighbors were strained. In 1932, the Soviet–Finnish Non-Aggression Pact was signed between both countries, and it was reaffirmed for ten years in 1934, but relations between the two countries were definitely not great, leaving Finland in a situation of uncertainty and vulnerability.
In terms of military, the Finnish Armed Forces were poorly equipped and trained, with an army that was ill-prepared to defend the country's borders. Despite this, Finland had a long history of military valor and determination, and its soldiers had proven to be fiercely loyal to their country on multiple occasions.
So after putting some context into the situation of Finland by 1936, let’s see how the country looks like in-game:
As you can see, Finland still starts the game with the Sisu National Spirit.
But what is Sisu? I can hear some of you asking, well let me try to explain very briefly:
Sisu is a Finnish concept that is used to express the national character of the Finns. It doesn’t really have a literal equivalent in English, but could be described as stoicism, tenacity, resilience, unrelenting willpower, hardiness and bravery (among several other qualities). It is used to explain the fierce determination and courage of the Finns in the face of extreme adversity.
Just a curiosity, after reading a bit more deep into Sisu, I found out that apparently one can also have bad sisu, meaning that the individual is a hostile and malignant person, and one can also have too much sisu, meaning foolhardiness and stubbornness.
But anyhow, now that we have a better idea of what Sisu is, some of you might have noticed that the Sisu National Spirit in this screenshot is significantly weaker than its old version before the DLC.
Well fear not, this version of Sisu is not the definitive one, there are five stages for the Sisu National Spirit, and they are tied to the Balance of Power mechanic, this is one of the worst versions of it (a bit more info about why soon), and at its best tier, the Sisu National Spirit is even slightly more powerful than its older version.
Finland’s country leader has also changed. This is because, after delving into Finnish politics in the 30s and 40s, I realized how “unstable” the position of Prime Minister was: from 1936 to 1945 Finland saw some 11 different Prime Ministers, with some of them leaving their post to become President of the Republic while others seemed to be fairly irrelevant and last in their position for a very short time. In comparison, Finland had “only” 5 Presidents of the Republic in the same time period, including some of the most iconic and relevant political figures (like Mannerheim or Ryti) that had a huge impact on Finland's politics and fate.
So, I made up my mind and decided to represent these Presidents of Finland as the available country leaders in-game.
Worth noting that, even though Finland was historically really, really close to Germany in terms of relations and fascism was big in the country, Finland was considered by most a co-belligerent country to Germany, instead of an actual German ally and member of the Axis. In order to represent this in-game, and prevent certain issues such as having the AI naturally join the Axis, turn Fascist, and also being able to have a separate peace, in the game Finland’s historical path is represented by the Non-Aligned ideology.
Let’s take a look at the first one and see how these country leaders are also tied to the Finnish Balance of Power:
A skilled precision shooter, member of the Fascist Militia Suojeluskunta and staunch anti-communist, Pehr Evind Svinhufvud did not enjoy a huge popularity by 1936, so in the 1937 elections a coalition of centrists (Agrarian and Progressive) and social democrats voted for Kyösti Kallio to ensure that Svinhufvud would not be re-elected.
Among Svinhufvud’s traits, you can see this slightly weird “Personal Agenda” trait. All Finnish leaders have a Personal Agenda trait, although what this agenda is differs from leader to leader. As you might have guessed, this is directly tied to the Finnish Balance of Power, which is called “Public Trust”:
The Public Trust balance of power represents the trust of the people in their president, and how this affects the Finns and their means to overcome harsh times. It ties together the balance of power with the “Finnish spirit” (Sisu) and the Finnish leadership (country leader).
As mentioned before, Svinhufvud didn’t enjoy that much popularity by 1936, so the Balance of Power starts fairly low in the Low Public Trust side.
Low Public Trust will grant small Stability, War Support and Political Power Gain penalties.
High Public Trust, on the other hand grants Stability, War Support and Recruitable Population bonuses.
Besides this, there are 5 ranges in the Balance of Power, and each of them will provide a version of the Sisu National Spirit, so the higher the Public Trust on your leader, the more powerful Sisu you will get (note that, at its worst, the Sisu National Spirit doesn’t give you any penalties, it just become very weak).
When any of the items in the country leader’s Personal Agenda is fulfilled, the Balance of Power will move towards the appropriate side on a weekly basis. In the case of Svinhufvud, eliminating all communist and democratic support will push the Balance of Power towards High Trust over time, while losing control of a core state will do the opposite.
Last but not least, there are some decisions (and focuses) that will help you push the Balance of Power to either side. Some of them will even allow you to replace your leader, like Motion of No Confidence (which costs significantly less the lower the Public Trust is, so good in combination with Organize the Opposition, which will decrease Public Trust). As you might have guessed already, the decision to Form a Military Government, available when at war with a major country, is the way to put Mannerheim in charge of the country.
You will be able to change your Non-Aligned leader not only via Balance of Power decisions, but also via certain events. Svinhufvud’s term as President will end in 1937 and you will get an event in which you can decide if you want to re-elect him or not, Kallio will die at some point around late 1940, and if Mannerheim was appointed as President during war, there will be an event allowing him to resign in favor of Paasikivi, for free. You can still keep Mannerheim if you want and make him resign later on, at a cost, but as you will notice when you look at his Personal Agenda, that might not be a great idea. Here you have the different Non-Aligned leaders available to Finland:
And since we are already talking about Finnish characters, let’s jump into Finnish advisors, starting with a list of political advisors, most of which need to be unlocked in the Focus Tree. All the political advisors potentially available to a Non-Aligned Finland are shown with colored portraits below:
There are many more advisors but we’ll see them next time since they are exclusive to the alt-history branches.
When it comes to military advisors, as you can see below there are some new additions and many new portraits!
When it comes to Unit Leaders, Finland now starts the game with a fair amount of Generals to choose from. As you will see, most of them have a lot of terrain-related traits, and in general a rather high value on their defense skill, this is to represent the adaptability and competency of the Finnish army during the wars, especially utilizing terrain and weather conditions in their favor against drastically larger and better-equipped enemy forces (especially during the defensive Winter War).
The new Veteran Jaeger trait is used to represent officers who, during World War I, volunteered to train in Germany as Jaegers during the Great War and the civil war in Finland (this was one of many means employed by Germany to weaken Russia during the Great War).
Jaegers were highly trained, among other skills, in guerrilla warfare and sabotage operations behind enemy lines, and as you can see, in-game the trait provides huge bonuses towards gaining certain traits, including terrain ones, which will help your generals getting the key trait “Adaptable”, which can in turn really make the difference when defending against a much bigger enemy!
Does this still feel like not enough Finnish generals for you? Got you covered, throughout the focus tree you will be able to unlock many more generals:
And even though Finland was nothing close to the mightiest naval power even in the Baltic, Finland now starts with Ragnar Hakola as Admiral and can unlock Svante Sundman as an additional admiral early in the Naval branch, in case you want to go for some sort of naval run with Finland (hey, who am I to judge?).
Regarding Industrial Designers, Finland has now 5 of them, including a new Mining Company that will help with the lack resources:
Now let’s take a quick look at the Finnish Military Industrial Organizations and how Finland interacts with the MIO feature.
To keep things as short as possible, I won’t be going into any details about what an MIO is, (for more information about the feature you can check the MIO Dev corner here
We will take a look at how MIOs look like in-game, so please keep in mind that this is still very much WIP (especially UI) and various things will definitely change before release.
Here you have the list of Finnish MIOs, featuring more generalist MIOs for ships, aircraft and tanks (the tank one is actually not historical, but still a possibility if you want to focus on tank development as Finland), and dedicated infantry equipment, guns and motorized MIOs:
All of these MIOs contain several unique traits, some specific to the MIO itself, some specific to Finnish MIOs, most of which will be unlocked by different focuses in the focus tree (will go into some examples later):
MAP CHANGES (States, VPs & railways & Supply hubs, Infra, Åland)
And before getting into the Focus Tree, I need to show you guys some map changes in Finland:
Here you can see that there are several new states, closer to the regional administration during the 30s/40s (which, by the way, changed significantly in some areas in a matter of a few years. Maybe you also noticed that Åland is now a demilitarized state at game start.
A significant number of victory points have been added (most of which are low value), and some VPs, railways and supply hubs have been repositioned to more accurately represent their real location.
There has been some resource adjustment and, most importantly, infrastructure has been drastically reduced in most states, to better represent the real situation of roads and communications in most Finnish regions in the 1930s. Don’t worry too much about the infrastructure, since Finland has the means to improve that infrastructure and to deal with low supply areas and winter attrition, so these changes will potentially cause more harm to any enemy forces attempting to invade Finland from the East/North, getting away from their own supply lines.
And finally it is time to take a look at Finland’s Focus Tree. Quite modest in size, but hopefully with a good amount of flavor and interesting gameplay mechanics, something a player can enjoy while focusing on the actually important stuff: surviving the war against all odds!
First of all let me tell you that, as some of you might have hoped for, there is a significant amount of short focuses all over the Finnish tree, which will hopefully make it feel more dynamic and engaging.
Check out the rest of this DD on the Forum!