1CGS and 777 Studios made a major announcement today of three new products for the IL-2 series effectively forming the IL-2: Great Battles series under which these three new titles and the preceding three titles would be all grouped under. Battle of Bodenplatte, Flying Circus and Tank Crew are all due out sometime in 2018 or 2019. Read on!
Great Battles Series
Unified under the newly renamed Digital Warfare Engine (previously the Digital Nature Engine powering earlier editions of IL-2 and Rise of Flight), the IL-2: Great Battles series is meant to be a logo that would be stamped on any product that would be compatible. With the announcement today, the series picks up a huge amount of content for pilots and now for tank crews as well.
Battle of Bodenplatte
The infamous Battle of Bodeplatte was a last ditch effort by the Luftwaffe to destroy the Allied air forces and attempt to forestall the Allied advance into Germany. The January 1945 timeline allows the series to tackle a good number of late war fighters and they read like the wishlist of many players in the forums and community.
Here are the main key features and aircraft:
- 2 Collector Planes (P-38L and Fw 190 D-9)
- 8 Battle of Bodenplatte Aircraft (P-51D, P-47D, Spitfire Mk.IX, Tempest Mk.V, Bf 109 G-14, Bf 109 K-4, Fw 190 A-8 and Me 262)
- Western European Map (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany)
- Battle of Bodenplatte Pilot Career
- Quick Mission Builder
- Custom Single-Player Missions
- Scripted Campaign Support
- Multiplayer Mode (Cooperative and Dedicated Server)
The B-25 is also included in the official announcement as an AI aircraft. Aircraft in the series tend not to remain AI forever so its possible that we’ll eventually have a B-25 flyable as well. Why not right away? Bombers take far more time to develop than single engine fighters and what 1CGS has planned is ambitious.
The developers intend to include summer and winter versions of this map which is all the more interesting. I’m sure we’ll learn more on just how wide a time period this battle intends to cover beyond the January 1, 1945 operation.
In the past I’ve tended to favour the late war set and this set couldn’t be better from my perspective. Mustang, Thunderbolt and Lightning are the USAAF fighter trio of legends. The Spitfire and Tempest are absolutely key British fighters. Two late war Bf109 types, two late war FW190 types (including the A-8 that very likely would have a F-8 modification making this aircraft list more versatile), and the Me262. Incredible.
Let’s move on!
Flying Circus Vol 1
Players for months and years have been calling for the series developers to update Rise of Flight. I had essentially written off future Rise of Flight development and to some degree that’s true. The new series is a restart and rehabilitation of old assets with World War I aircraft being added to the IL-2 series’ engine.
Clearly this is intended to be the first of at least a few volume but the launch list is extensive.
Flyable Aircraft and Content (Tentative List):
- SPAD 13 C.1
- Sopwith Dolphin
- Sopwith Camel
- RAF S.E.5a
- Bristol Fighter
- Albatros D.Va
- Fokker Dr.1
- Fokker DVII
- Pfalz D.IIIa
- Halberstadt CL.II
Plus a 100x100km France map in summer textures is planned. This is intended to be a somewhat limited release given the smaller map and summer only texture, however, the aircraft list makes this compelling. Ground units and buildings are part of the release so limited is probably the wrong word.
These are the most popular types in Rise of Flight and their move to the vastly updated Digital Warfare Engine and its enhanced DX11 graphics and VR are what Rise of Flight fans have been asking for. It’s happening!
Somehow, 1CGS thinks they can also find the time to do something that many players have been asking for (and I speculated about earlier this fall) by opening up one of the biggest tank battles of the war – Kursk. If this is working the way I think it is, it means that owning Tank Crew also means the Kursk map and battle open up in at least a limited way to pilots making this a sneaky way to get another East Front map in. One that can use much of the IL-2: Battle of Kuban and IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad aircraft set too.
The tentative list of vehicles:
- T-34-76 STZ
- ZIS-5 + 72K
- PzKpfw III Ausf.L
- PzKpfw IV Ausf.G
- PzKpfw V Ausf.D
- PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1
- Sd. Kfz. 184
- Sd. Kfz. 10 + Flak38
There aren’t very many titles that target tank drivers and none that do combined arms with War Thunder as an exception. 1CGS as a developer tends to be one that focuses more on realism so I expect this to be a more realistic interpretation of the ground war. And, rather than token aircraft moments, very likely this is a full combined arms setup integrating an air war and ground war over a 100x100km map.
Pacific scenarios still planned
In September 2016, 1CGS/777 Studios Producer Jason Williams announced Battle of Kuban and an intention to go to the Pacific. I believe that the intention was to go there but over the months we heard about difficulties in securing resources and references. It looks like those concerns were merited and the series has had to find other ways to go forward.
Though some will no doubt be disappointed (and I was looking forward to Midway) I hope most will be thrilled by the other options that opened up. I think the team still wants to go to the Pacific and that it will happen but we will have to wait.
I hope that this announcement is a crowd pleaser. Despite some initial disappointment for some on the Pacific scenario, I think that the list here will appeal to a wide variety of players. Bringing Rise of Flight fans into the fold will hopefully increase the appeal of the rest of the series and it opens up interesting and fun what-if scenarios for pilots too. Have you ever tried to fight a Dr. I in an I-16. Its a silly totally non-historic scenario but a single player pilot could have fun with that.
More importantly, we have three thought out and compelling products that will add to the series in big ways. People asked for Rise of Flight in IL-2 with the VR and engine enhancements that comes with. They have it. People asked for expanding the tank battles. They have it. Many players got excited about late war battles. That’s coming too.
Midway for now will have to wait and I really do hope to return to that too. More commentary on each product as time goes on! In the meantime, check out the official announcement including details on pre-order and early access materials as well as the newest Collector Planes being added to the series.