IL-2’s Lead Producer announced today that IL-2: Battle of Kuban’s final release has been delayed. The delay is small but it did warrant a significant update today on the status of the project and, interestingly, gave us our first glance at what Career Mode looks like.
This is a short delay
Compared to projects that are often months and years overdue, the delay to IL-2: Battle of Kuban is a short one. Jason has said that the expected release window is now before the end of the winter. At worst case this suggests a release before March. The best case and perhaps a more likely scenario means that the release has been delayed by mere weeks and will release in late January.
Jason himself said as much:
Completion of Kuban and the large version 3.001 update that will accompany it will now most likely occur before the end of the winter and hopefully much sooner than that, possibly the latter half of January. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the delay. We are just as disappointed as you are.
There are a number of reasons ranging from some team illness to the lengthy period of time that the Career mode required for completion.
The obvious disadvantage of a small developer team is that if someone key has a health issue or even when employees take much needed vacations, it holds up the timeline and causes bottlenecks. I could probably talk for ages about healthy work-life balance and maintaining employee productivity but suffice to say that we want the team to be healthy and I wish for all the best to anyone dealing with any serious health issues on the team.
So, best case scenario is that IL-2: Battle of Kuban final release is delayed by 2-3 weeks and worst case is that its delayed by 5-6 weeks. I’m thinking 3 weeks is probably a good guess putting it in the last week of January.
The delay also affects the final release of three new aircraft. Because they are all part of the Career Mode build, we’ll also have to wait while the P-39L-1, A-20B and Yak-7B are released. One point of speculation: the delay may allow other parts of the team to complete the La-5FN and Bf109G-6. Five new planes in one release would be ok if it happened.
Career mode update
I’ve already written about how Rise of Flight’s Career Mode works and the one in IL-2 is similar although it sounds like the team has taken this further than they had to and instead aimed for something good.
As Han has mentioned in the DDs, there are a lot of different types of missions and Viks is working especially hard to make them work well and be interesting. Many on the team have had to pitch in and help push this big task across the finish line. It’s not so easy since we are retrofitting all of our products with the new Career. It’s triple the usual work!
Making interesting missions from auto generated ones is hard. Very hard. But I was encouraged by previous developer updates and I still am that the team will pull through and we’ll see some at least reasonably interesting and slightly less cookie cutter missions from the Career Mode.
Really, this mode is a lynchpin for single player replayability and having a strong presence here is powerful feature for the series. Retrofitting not only Kuban but also Moscow and Stalingrad is a lot of extra work but it also brings the entire series up to the same single player standard no matter which one you own.
Here are some interesting screenshots from the UI of the Career mode. It’s the first time we see what this part of the interface looks like and while its not beautiful – it looks to be doing the job. It also shows the depth of the squadron information that has gone in here and the level to which you can really choose your squadrons.