Though far from our first look, today’s IL-2 Developer Diary was probably the most extensive look we’ve had at the new IL-2: Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka tank simulator that is being developed in parallel with IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte. Let’s have a look and, also, I want to pose a couple of questions to readers at the end too.
Kursk focused tank battles and air battles
The Battle of Kursk is largely considered the largest armored battle ever fought and so it makes a fitting backdrop for 1CGS new armored warfare simulator – Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka.
Twelve armored tanks and vehicles are included in this package featuring some of the most iconic and well known tanks of the Eastern Front and of the entire war.
- T-34-76 model 1943
- GAZ-MM + 72K
- PzKpfw III Ausf.M
- PzKpfw IV Ausf.G
- PzKpfw V Ausf.D “Panther”
- PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 “Tiger”
- Sd. Kfz. 184 “Ferdinand”
- Sd. Kfz. 10 + Flak38
The mix of tanks features light, medium and heavy tanks, tank destroyers, self propelled artillery and mobile anti-aircraft guns.
The new title features a simulation sized map of 100x100km in size covering the Belgorod area. This is a critical area of the Kursk battle where some of the most intense armored clashes were fought and it makes an ideal backdrop for this new title.
The new map is also smaller so it can feature a greatly enhanced terrain mesh. The devs report that it will have 16 times the usual terrain mesh detail typically used for maps featuring air battles. It will also feature trees and buildings that can be damaged by passing armor.
Scripted campaigns with several missions will be included to help fill out the single player experience. They will feature both sides of the battle and are intended to help tell the story of this battle and the intense clashes that were a part of it.
Multiplayer is also likely to be a significant feature of the title. And that’s actually what has me very excited as Tank Crew is an IL-2: Great Battles Series title. What does that mean?
Tank Crew is a fully functioning and independent module that plugs into the bigger IL-2 series. If you are only interested in tank battles and armored warfare, you can just own Tank Crew, but in doing so you’ll join a bigger series that has until now been focused on realistic air battles. The size of the Belgorod map plays directly into that:
While being smaller than our other maps, this map size is still unequal among tank sims. We don’t do this just to boast about it either – the size of our map makes joint multiplayer with tanks and aircraft possible on the same multiplayer server.
Realistic air and tank battles will be a major feature of this title with fans on both sides of the battle playing major and direct parts in the conflict. The dream here is to have coordinated combined arms battles where the air and ground battles interact and affect each other.
Combined arms is not new for the IL-2 series
I’ve already experienced combined arms in IL-2 with the inclusion of the Pz. IIIL and T-34 tanks as simplified yet drivable armored units. In multiplayer, tank clashes raged back and forth on the ground while air battles took place above. Tanks altered the battlefield by capturing airfields and key points while the air battle affected the ground battle with bombers and attack planes attempting to hold back the onslaught and plug gaps in the line.
From both a strategic and tactical viewpoint, this was incredible amounts of fun and I don’t think any series has really done this to the level that Tank Crew is promising to do. Titles like Panzer Elite had realistic ground battles (with some air intervention) and War Thunder has armored battles in a bottle experience with limited air battles. IL-2 does air battles exceptionally well and promises to bring the same high fidelity experience to armored warfare too.
When will Tank Crew release?
Tank Crew: Clash for Prokhorovka is apparently going to release into Early Access as early as July 2018. The developers report:
We plan to start the Early Access program for Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka as early as this July. Of course, we’ll have only a small bit of the final product available at the start. The official release date is more than one year ahead in the future, but early adopters of Tank Crew will have something to play with:
- Highly detailed (exterior and interior) KV-1s and PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 “Tiger” tanks;
- Nearly complete physics model of these tanks;
- Detailed ballistics model for 50mm, 76mm and 88mm rounds;
- Ability to occupy any tank station (tank commander functionality won’t be ready, but you’ll be able to take the commander seat);
- Numerous improvements to other game functionality which will improve a ground vehicle gameplay.
If your reading about the IL-2 series for the first time and are maybe a Panzer Elite fan or are coming over from War Thunder and looking for a more focused title with historical armor duels – let me explain how 1CGS tends to release their titles.
Early Access tends to begin early on in the development with a pre-order and early access content. As outlined in the quote above, the KV-1s and PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 “Tiger” tank are planned to be available in the early outing. Things will likely be fully functional on the tanks themselves but full features and gameplay will be limited at first. Over the coming months, Tank Crew will expand to include the rest of the vehicles in the list and will grow into a finished title.
While we wait for Early Access to begin in July, check out the following video showing off the KV-1s tank. Read the rest on the 1CGS Developer Diary.
A question for readers
Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka takes 1CGS previous flight simulator efforts and firmly plants an armored tank simulator in the middle of it. The expanded scope of the series and the combined arms elements have me very excited but I want to put a couple of questions out to readers on this title.
If you’re a big fan of the IL-2 series so far or of flight simulators in general, how excited are you about a tank simulator? Would you be interested in participating in the ground battle? I find myself a little torn as I want to support 1CGS’ efforts but I’m much less of a tank driver. Maybe I will change my mind over time.
I also want to ask you about coverage here on the blog. Stormbirds is very focused on flight simulators and combat flight simulators in particular. How often do you want to hear from me on something like Tank Crew? In the past, I have for example, focused on covering War Thunder’s aviation aspect but I largely ignore their tank and sea battles. Tank Crew more closely integrates with the core IL-2 experience so it may have some more relevance to flight sim pilots than the average armored game. I’m curious to know your thoughts on this.