Hearts of Iron III

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HeartsofIron3 temp packshot1.jpg
Developer(s) Paradox Development Studio
Publisher(s) Paradox Interactive
Engine Clausewitz Engine
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
  • NA August 7, 2009[1]
  • AUS September 24, 2009
  • UK August 14, 2009
  • WW December 7, 2009
Genre(s) Grand strategy
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Hearts of Iron III is a grand strategy wargame developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive that is the sequel to the previous Hearts of Iron games. It was announced on August 20, 2008 and was released on August 7, 2009.[2]

A Mac OS X version was announced by Virtual Programming on December 7, 2009.[3] The game was available for purchase the same day.


Hearts of Iron III allows the player to take control of almost any nation that existed during the period of 1936–1948, guiding it through World War II.[4] A variety of decisions regarding the armed forces, production, research, diplomacy, politics and espionage is the focus of the game.

The game centers around three factions: the Axis (led by Germany), the Allies (led by Great Britain), and the Comintern (led by the Soviet Union). All other nations can slowly align with one of the factions. Nations are more likely to side with those with similar ideology, threat and proximity.

Resources found in the game include: energy, metal, rare materials, and oil. The first three are required for industrial production, while oil is converted to fuel for vehicles, planes and ships.

The scope of military organization ranges from brigades to entire theaters of operation.


The first trailer[5] from the Games Convention in Leipzig showed new features such as 3D graphics.

Paradox released a series of developer diaries[6] and video showcases.[7]

Although happy with the scope of Hearts of Iron II, lead designer Johan Andersson wanted to improve upon every aspect of the game, starting again with a new engine.[8] The game's artificial intelligence (AI) was designed to be able to achieve strategic objectives and control forces delegated to it, including whole theatres of operation.[9] The AI can also remember and compare strategic possibilities as circumstances change.[9] Changing to 3D graphics helped improve other areas, as Andersson explained:

"Going 3D meant we could do another type of architecture where we could support more screen resolutions, and develop our maps in a quicker way. The biggest advantage from going 3D though was the ability to offload more to the GPU. With the machine advances during the last decade this gives us the biggest benefits in development when it comes to gameplay and AI".[8]

Paradox had a vision for the style of the map, given that the player would spend the majority of their time looking at it: "...to create a map that feels like a WW2 map, like it could be a map which...a commander in the War would be looking at himself".[10] The content of the map was also altered; the number of provinces increased to more than 15,000 over Hearts of Iron II's 2,600.[10] Customizable divisions, a first for the series, are available, each one containing two to five brigades, with each brigade increasing the division's combat power and cost.[11]


Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 8.5/10[12]
IGN 8.5/10[13]
PC Gamer (UK) 81/100[14]
PC Zone 60/100[15]
GamerLimit 75/100[16]
Smartyweb! 65/100[17]

Hearts of Iron III initially received a mixed reception because the game shipped with a large number of bugs in the early release.[18] After several patches eliminated many bugs, reception improved and the game received generally positive reviews. In 2009 December it had a combined average of a 77 on Metacritic"[19] and a 79% on Gamerankings".[20]

Gamepro wrote, "perhaps the worst problem is the interface itself, or more specifically, the amount of feedback it affords the player. In contrast to the old system, there is no instant way to assess how many divisions you have in each province, nor important values like their units' organization or combat values".

On the other hand, the game has been praised as being "tailored for experienced strat heads and wargamers with a lot of patience, but the game is more accessible than either of its predecessors and a great jumping-on point for new players who want to make the leap into a grand strategy epic".[21]


On 6 June 2010, an expansion called Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi was released. It is only available as a download.[22]

The Mac OS X version of the Semper Fi expansion pack shipped from Virtual Programming on 23 July 2010.[23]

A second expansion named Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland was announced on 27 January 2011[24] and released on 28 June 2011.[25]

The Mac OS X version of the Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland expansion pack shipped from Virtual Programming on 28 September 2011.[26]

On 22 November 2011, Paradox Interactive released the Hearts of Iron III Collection, which include both expansions for Hearts Of Iron III and all previously released sprite packs.[27]

On 6 June 2012, Paradox Interactive announced the third expansion called Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour.[28] It was released on 29 September 2012.[29]

The Mac OS X version of the Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour expansion pack shipped from Virtual Programming on 9 November 2012.


Along with full expansion packs, there has been several smaller DLC releases.

  • Hearts of Iron III: Dies Irae Götterdämmerung
  • Hearts of Iron III: Mega German Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: German Spritepack 2
  • Hearts of Iron III: US Pack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Music Pack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Japanese Infantry Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: German Infantry Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: German Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Infantry Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Dies Irae Stars and Stripes Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: US Infantry Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Sounds of Conflict
  • Hearts of Iron III: British Vehicle Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Japanese Vehicle Spritepack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Italian Vehicle Pack
  • Hearts of Iron III: Axis Minors Vehicle Pack


During an Ask Me Anything event on Reddit, Paradox Interactive confirmed that Hearts of Iron IV is planned. Though the team gave no indication as to the game's priority in being developed, or when it would be officially announced, it was revealed that it would be released "before 2020".[30] The game's page on Paradox Interactive's website, lists the release window as Q1 2015, in January 2015 this was delayed to "Late" Q2 2015.[31]


  1. ^ "Gamespy Game Information, Hearts of Iron III". Gamespy. June 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  2. ^ "gamer's gate's hearts of iron 3 page". Gamer's gate. August 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  3. ^ "Hearts of Iron III Released". Inside Mac Games. December 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  4. ^ "Hearts of Iron III Preview". GameSpy. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  5. ^ "First trailer at gamer.no" (in Norwegian site/English Trailer). gamer.no. August 21, 2008. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  6. ^ "Developer diaries at hoi3.com". hoi3.com. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  7. ^ "Video showcases on YouTube". YouTube. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  8. ^ a b "RPS interview". www.rockpapershotgun.com. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  9. ^ a b "Dev diary 27". hoi3.com. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  10. ^ a b "Dev diary 1". HOI3.com. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  11. ^ "Dev diary 7". HOI3.com. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  12. ^ August 12, 2009 6:24PM PDT (2009-08-11). "Hearts of Iron III Review". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  13. ^ "Hearts of Iron III Review - IGN". Pc.ign.com. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  14. ^ October 2009, p.88 cited on Metacritic
  15. ^ November 2009 issue, p.76 cited on Metacritic
  16. ^ "Review: Hearts of Iron III". Gamer Limit. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  17. ^ http://www.smartyweb.org/2009/08/17/hearts-of-iron-iii-a-world-of-hurt/
  18. ^ See official patch notes and change log 1.1-1.3 Patch Changelog
  19. ^ 2009 December score
  20. ^ 2009 December score
  21. ^ August 12, 2009 6:24PM PDT (2009-08-21). "Hearts of Iron III Review - GameSpot.com". Uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  22. ^ Semper Fi Announcement, Paradox Plaza
  23. ^ "Virtual Programming Releases Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi". MacGamer. July 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  24. ^ "Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland Announced". Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  25. ^ "HoI III: For the Motherland released today". Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  26. ^ "Virtual Programming Releases Three New Game Titles". Inside Mac Games. September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  27. ^ "Paradox Interactive release Hearts of Iron III Collection". November 22, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  28. ^ "E3 2012: New Expansion for Hearts of Iron III Announced - Paradox Interactive". June 6, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-26. 
  29. ^ "Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour released". September 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-09. 
  30. ^ "AMA Hearts of Iron 4 release date". October 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-24. 
  31. ^ http://www.paradoxplaza.com/games/hearts-of-iron-iv.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

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