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PC Gamer
PC Gamer
Joshua Wolens

Victoria 3's first major expansion is getting punted back by 2 months so Paradox doesn't repeat the mistake of EU4's disastrous Leviathan release

An octopus spreads ink across a map in the trailer for Victoria 3's Sphere of Influence DLC.

Victoria 3, Paradox's game about making Karl Marx president or something, is due to get its first major expansion soon. It's called Sphere of Influence, and it promises to amp up Vicky's diplomatic aspects by focusing on regional interests, entanglements in foreign economies, and letting your nation's myriad interest groups form lobbies to agitate for change.

In other words, more political headaches than ever before, which is frankly just what I come to Victoria 3 for. But alas, Paradox has delayed the expansion. Where it was previously scheduled to come out on May 6, the studio is pushing things all the way back to June 24, a delay of just under two months. That also affects the release of the free patch that will accompany the update.

"While we are happy with the features on offer in 1.7/Sphere of Influence," says Victoria 3 game director Martin Anward, "we simply do not believe that sticking to the original release date will allow us to deliver those features in a polished and balanced state." Turns out, Sphere of Influence is in need of some major ironing before release, and the DLC's delay is to give Paradox the time "for bug fixing and polish."

"Both update 1.7 and Sphere of Influence contain several fundamental changes to how the game functions," says Anward, "particularly in the form of the Building Ownership Revision and Power Blocs." Those mega changes have caused mega problems, and Paradox would rather not foul up the release with "excessive bugginess, crashes or general lack of polish."

Which, to my mind, means one of two things: Either Paradox is tightening its standards when it comes to DLC releases, or the bugs that Sphere of Influence are causing are almost apocalyptically bad. Fans of the studio's games are pretty used to DLCs coming in hot, bringing all sorts of bugs with them at the same time as bringing in new features. 

The most recent—and dramatic—instance of that which I can recall is Leviathan for Europa Universalis 4, which was so disastrously buggy following its 2021 release that it's still got a 10% "Overwhelmingly Negative" rating on Steam (although not all of that is down to bugs, some folks just don't like the changes).

So, hey, I say take all the time you need, Paradox. I'd certainly welcome smoother DLC releases, and Victoria 3 in particular could do with an expansion that knocks it out of the park in the community's eyes. We rather liked the base game—scoring it 84% in our Victoria 3 review—but it's still at a "Mixed" rating per the Steam reviews. If its first major expansion can come out with a bang, that'd be just what the game needs to win over the hearts of fans.

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