In September 2016, Jason Williams said that the IL-2 series was going to continue with the Eastern Front for one more year while they built technologies that would support future development on a Pacific scenario to follow the year after. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with planning that far in advance is that things change and hurdles have to be jumped. The announcement of IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte dashed some hopes for Midway to be next. The Pacific isn’t the immediate plan anymore but will it still happen? Read on.
In conversations that I’ve had recently I’ve found that most people are pretty accepting of the course change. That has been helped, in-part, by the significant crowd pleasing options that have been offered up instead. Long requested late war Western front aircraft were very enticing as was the announcement of an armor based module and a return to World War I.
What has also helped is that the development team has been forthright with the community on their future plans. Jason told us in May that they were having trouble with resources and asked the community to help them dig up information.
When that didn’t work out and the big announcement happened, Jason also took to the forums with an official statement followed by several follow-ups and some heated reaction.
I have had to make the difficult choice to postpone, NOT CANCEL our plans to go to the Pacific theater. The reasons for this are many and have everything to do with the complexity of the subject (Ships, Japanese Aircraft) and the inability to marshal the required resources to develop this content up to the standards you expect and in a reasonable time frame and within a budget we could afford. I have not taken these steps lightly and for fans of the PTO, of which I am the biggest, this was not something I wanted to do. But the dream still lives!
Following that, I’ve read some posts and reactions from a few who are pretty angry too. I think they are more than justified to be disappointed about the change in direction as I don’t want to diminish their interests or their reactions. Its important to communicate that. To hold out hope for something and see that dashed can cause some to feel a little left out.
I also think its important to then step back and think about what we all really want. What I hope is that most people see that the team and Jason Williams in particular has engaged us regularly, hosted Q&A sessions, been on the forum and laid out the difficulties and why the delay has happened.
The trouble is research (and language)
I’ve tried to do research on Japanese aircraft and systems before and I’ve come up empty handed. I’ve found obscure details about Russian Yaks and dug up as much information on the Hawker Tempest as I possible could just using standard internet resources and the odd dip into academic sources. You can find almost anything and thanks to Google Translate you can mostly make out what’s going on too but sometimes that isn’t enough either.
Japanese planes and equipment are much harder to find out about. Beyond being written in another language, the resources are just not out there and that makes finding out information about them hard. They do exist is what I’ve been told but they have to be sourced directly from libraries and archives that just haven’t made their way online yet.
Harder still is when you’re responsible for doing the modeling and system research on aircraft that are lacking in those details. You can’t fudge these things and do a good simulator. You need to know the details. When those details are difficult to find – it’s a serious problem.
Translators are also expensive. A lot of people discount the cost of translating and how valuable that really is and how much is required to do this.
My read on the situation
Jason legitimately wanted to take the series to a new front and a new theater of war and his biggest interest was in the Pacific theater. Going there would be a significant change from the East Front battles so far and it offered up some great new gameplay opportunities.
As with all of the best laid plans, however, they don’t always work out and they aren’t ready to take us to the Pacific – yet.
The biggest issue I have is with the notion that if the team just worked a little harder they could do this easily.
I don’t think so.
These are some really hard working folks from everything we’ve seen of them right up to and including the community engagement aspect. 1CGS has done a phenomenal job of letting us know what they were working on and what they were doing with their products.
At the end of the day it comes down to one thing for me: I want whatever they do in the IL-2 series to be done well and not half-assed.
If they can’t do it well yet, then they need to do something else until they are ready to do it well. I’m all for it if that means going to a different scenario and doing something they do well at while developing some third party contractors (i.e. Tank Crew and Flying Circus) that they can then bring to bear on a future Pacific scenario.
When IL-2: Battle of Midway happens, and I fully believe that it will happen, it will be an outstanding entry into the series and I hope for nothing less. If that means waiting… I’ll wait.