Rise of Flight has had a successful career option available for quite some time now. The second generation IL-2 series is about to catch up to its World War I cousin with a new career mode of its own. All indications are that this new way of playing single player is going to draw heavily on the work that 1CGS and 777 Studios did with Rise of Flight. So let’s have a look at that.
A pilots life
When IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad launched and 1CGS confirmed as the new developers of the IL-2 series, many assumed that the new IL-2 would inherit some of the career options from Rise of Flight. It didn’t… not at first anyways. However, news dropped late last year that IL-2 would be getting a new career system to replace campaign system. This may be what it looks like.
In Rise of Flight’s Career Mode you start by selecting the theater of war, you pick your unit and create your pilot. This all dependent on what you own in Rise of Flight. Aircraft that you don’t own you won’t be able to pilot (obviously) and those squadrons won’t be available for you. Some units fly mixed types so you can still pick squadrons at times even when your aircraft bank is not full.
The next set of screens is where you will spend most of your time. These are your HQ, mission, pilot and news screens.
In Rise of Flight you start a day and missions have been assigned to pilots on the roster. There’s a persistence to this so pilots you see out on missions have their stats tracked and as they score kills in missions its reflected on the roster. If they die then they die on the roster too.
The missions generated are assigned to the unit and then you get assigned to a specific mission. Other pilots fly other missions during the day too. Your favourite wingmate may not make it back from a mission you aren’t even on. It’s an interesting system!
The Career system in practice works fairly well.
You pick a part in the air war, jump in with your pilot and begin flying missions. You feel like you’re part of the squadron with its established history and roster of fellow pilots with their stats and status tracked from mission to mission.
The mission variety appears to be there in those mode as well.
In my first mission with RFC’s No. 4 squadron flying the Sopwith Camel we transferred from a base in England near Dover to the frontlines just across the channel. It was a non-combat mission but it set the mood for the missions to come. In another mission we were escorting observer planes over no-man’s land right on the edge of the channel. Though variety of types of missions may be a World War I thematic weakness, World War II should offer plenty of variety in theory.
There is repetition but there is less repetition than IL-2’s current Campaign system where you have an initial point, action point, success point and airbase. Here, there are more diverse waypoints and enemy aircraft arrangements. Everything feels…. more organic. Its not perfect but its pretty good.
It’s coming to IL-2
Sometime this fall we expect the new Career open beta to arrive to the series. It’s widely expected to replace the Campaign system with this new experience for all three titles. When it does, the experience from Rise of Flight will likely inform the design for IL-2 and maybe even improve a little on it.
Hopefully it will be the kind of experience the single player virtual pilots are asking for with the persistence, variety, and interest that is needed to sustain interest for a long time to come.
With new aircraft and theatres of war planned for the future, one also hopes that this system will plug in to those new types of content as time goes on offering up options for players flying everything from fighters to transports and artillery spotters to bombers and tank busters.
We’ll see what 1CGS has planned for us soon!