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Described as a weak king by Princess Myciena, he seems to avoid joining the main battle operations of the great war spanning the continent. In his behaviour, he doesn't seem very firm, feeling uncertain in times of peace and rather than referring to potential strength of his own country, he hides behind threat of "having powerful friends" if the threat of war is brought upon him.
By about the third of the Progressive Era arc, false evidence of the player's empire's war crimes starts appearing. This smear propaganda campaign (and subsequent bombing of a peace conference) ruins the player's reputation on the continent, leading him to war against all realms of the Era. The player's investigation reveals the the Kingdom of Sud as the place of origin of the smear campaign. When the player's spies find out that the King is being blackmailed, the player takes over Sud. After the annexation of Sud, the King cooperates with the player, admitting to producing false evidence due to blackmailing, and reveals the true culprit behind this - Tsar Piotr of Gorski.
Vittorio Emanuele appears to be based on real-life King Victor Emmanuel III, who ruled Italy over the course of both world wars. Sud, his province, is even a boot-shaped southern peninsula with a few islands by its tip, and its name means "South" in Italian.