Hearts of Iron 3 is a real-time strategy game developed and published by Paradox Interactive and is the sequel to the original Hearts of Iron and Hearts of Iron II. It was released on August 7, 2009. In addition, a mac version was also developed and released on December 7, 2009. On release it contained a large amount of bugs that were later fixed through a series of patches.
There is currently an expansion pack scheduled for a Q2 2011 release titled Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland.
Hearts of Iron 3 includes many of the features seen in the original series and brings over several improvements from Europa Universalis: In Nomine and Rome: Vae Victus such as the Mission System and the Political Party system which played an incredibly large part for democratic countries during the WW2 period. HOI3's time-line is set in 1936-1948 with it's first expansion set to be released Q2 2011 which will increase the games original time-line. There are 5 main scenarios; 1936, 1939, 1941, 1943 and 1944 all main turning points during the war.
Technology in Hearts of Iron 3 has received a massive overhaul from Hearts of Iron II. Tech Teams are no longer in the game and more individual components of a technology can be researched rather than the entire unit (e.g. the Kar98k Rifle for the Germans to replaces it's 1918 counterpart). Research is also affected by what the country is producing (e.g. A nation that produces nothing but naval units will speed through naval tech, but likewise will suffer when researching Infantry, armor and the air-force).
The Political System is also being replaced with the Political Party system from Rome: Vae Victus. This means that parties from the time will be represented and ministers will be attached to one of these parties and during elections the political situation could change massively for a democratic nation. There are several parties within a nation such as Social Democrats and Communists. For democratic nations they have elections normally once every 4 or 5 years and the winning party gets it's ministers, which have their own bonuses, into power. If a Party such as the Communists or Fascists were to win an election there is a possibility that they could form a dictatorship or communist nation which is hard to break apart.
There is a 10 man cabinet made up for ministers from the different parties in game. The 2 most important are Head of State and Head of Government and they can not be replaced unless an election takes place or they die forcing a replacement. There are also 8 other positions relating to Intelligence, Foreign Relations, Industrial, Army, Navy, Air-force, Chief of Staff and Security. Each minister's skills bring different bonuses or potential drawbacks to the nation and they are replaceable at any time.
Production is similar to that of HOI2, although oil has been split up into fuel and crude oil. Regiment formation in HOI3 allows 4 units to be placed together (e.g. Light Armor, Infantry, Mountain Infantry and Police could be placed together and depending on the different combination's could be very successful). There are many units too choose from allowing for hundreds of possibilities.
The Theatre system allows you to assign Generals to different theatres of battle (e.g. Rommel in command of N. Africa for the Germans). You can also hand an entire theatre over to the AI so you can focus on more important issues elsewhere.
There are 3 factions in the game each with there own abilities. Allies, Axis and the Comintern.
The Allies are the nations that represent democracy. The allies will have a poor fighting force and industrial stats, but both are much higher during wartime. Any Allied state that guarantees protection to a certain nation causes all allies to do so, meaning if war is declared they will all defend that nation. In 1936 the leader is Britain and it's notable ally is France until 1941, it is then America after that. Britain is also supported by the Commonwealth.
The Axis are the nationalist dictators in the game, the axis will have combat bonuses for territory they believe is theirs (Germany fights harder in Danzig). They also have the ability to launch a limited war which means they can declare war and not call any allies to war so they can seize the land they want (e.g Italy can launch this on Greece to seize it for it's ports). In 1936 the leader is Germany and it's notable ally is Italy as well as being supported by other Eastern European Nations.
The final faction is the Comintern, made up for the Communist nations. The Comintern gain communist trading which means they can trade between each other at no cost, they also have bonuses for intelligence. The Soviet Union leads this alliance in 1936 and they are supported by a few of puppet nations. They can use there intelligence bonuses to their advantage however when attempting to gain support.