Developing a game such as Victoria 3 places a great burden of expectation on the developers' shoulders, and trepidation in the hearts of fans regarding the game's future. Luckily for us, dev diaries are here to shed some light on the subject.
The lead designer of Paradox Interactive's sequel to the highly successful Victoria II, Mikael, brings us updates on the game's development process in his dev diary. And, from what can be seen, the future of Victoria 3 seems bright indeed.
If asked to point out the defining trait of Victoria, long-time fans of the series will simply answer: "The pop mechanic". This way of organizing and categorizing the world was a first in grand strategy games, and even though other titles, such as Stellaris have adopted it, none have used it to the same success quite as Victoria did.
Simply put, this mechanic is what allowed Victoria to create a feeling of the in-game world's inhabitants being alive and having their own lives, and not portraying them as numbers on a screen. A feat that is incredibly hard to accomplish in a grand strategy game.
The core principle of it is categorizing the populace of a country, region, or any other type of geographical and societal appellation, based on their Professions, Religion, Culture, and Workplace. the player controls the country, not its people, and builds a society via introducing changes that affect the populace, for better or worse. Making changes that benefit one population type may adversely affect the others. Literate and skilled workers may just find it in them to abolish aristocracy, or curtailing education will ensure the ruling nobles stay in power longer.
One defining trait pointed out in this diary is the distinguishment of the populace into two categories, namely that of the Workforce and the Dependents. Introducing laws for women's rights and against child labor will lower the amount of Dependents a country has, changing, what is in the real world, the gray economic sector. It will make them easier to educate though. On the other hand, introducing pensions to wounded soldiers will increase the burden and the number of Dependents and ensure the morale of the populace and their support of the player to rise.
All in all, it seems that Paradox Interactive are providing what fans have been hoping for. Instead of simplifying the game, they embrace the charm of its complexity and rely on the existing fanbase to make the game successful. Adding better portraits to various pop groups so that mustaches can better be compared and analyzed certainly doesn't hurt either.