Hearts of Iron devs and former CEO speak out against toxic feedback in EU4 drama

Other Paradox staff stand in solidarity against toxic feedback as the EU4 drama continues

If you’ve been paying attention to Paradox’s grand strategy games this week, you’ll have noticed that Europa Universalis IV just received its own expansion and free update. The Leviathan EU4 DLC adds new mechanics that allow you to play ‘tall’, whereas the free 1.31 ‘Majapahit’ update attempts to give some fresh content for indigenous tribes across the map.

Neither update has worked out quite as well as was intended. In the three days since it launched, several bugs and major issues have been reported – including being able to cancel AI monument building  – along with some major balance issues. The expansion is officially Steam’s worst-rated launch ever, and a 1.31.1 hotfix was quickly released.

Sadly, players are now directing hatred towards not only Paradox as a company, but also specific members of the development team at Paradox Tinto, the new studio formed in Barcelona that’s now in charge of EU4’s development. Other teams within Paradox Interactive’s umbrella have noticed and voiced their own concerns regarding toxicity and feedback, specifically the Hearts of Iron devs.

In their most recent dev diary, the team note that while they value having a “direct line” to their audience, it’s becoming a harder and harder thing to “enjoy” because of how the culture on the forums has evolved.

“As many of you have noticed, we have gotten a little sparse in these forums in the last few months, or even years. The reason for this is that often we do face a debate culture that is not enjoyable to take part in, where it is taken as a given that the devs are either lazy or incompetent and where everything we do is viewed through that lens.

“Not only is it incredibly demoralising to spend months of your life creating something, only to see the people you made it for tearing it to shreds, it is also a debate that gives no one anything.”

Beyond what we’ve already reported on, recent events in this saga include Paradox Tinto head Johan Anderrson issuing an apology on the EU4 forums, which has since been taken down. You can read the full statement in our previous report as it was provided to PCGN separately.

Paradox’s former CEO Fredrik Wester has also gotten involved in the discourse on Twitter, speaking out about the value of the forums while not taking kindly to specific hate directed at individual employees.

“I recognise misdirected passion when I see it,” he concludes. “I know you want us to make great products and when we fail to meet expectations it comes out in frustrated messages.”

Related: What the Hearts of Iron 4 dev diary was actually about

A 1.31.2 hotfix is reportedly in the works for EU4’s latest patch. In the meantime, you can always roll back your game to a previous version via Steam’s ‘beta branch’ functionality, although you will need to read this guide on the Paradox forums in order to access the code.