Concepts for the IL-2 series post Bodenplatte

It will be several more months before IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte becomes a completed product. Between now and then, we’re expecting a half dozen more aircraft and four seasons on the north western Europe map along with the associated campaign and career mode that will surely follow the rest of the completed package. What happens after Bodenplatte releases? Will the Pacific follow? Will there be something else in the works? Let’s explore the options.

Forward to the Pacific?

Pacific_FightersThe plan that 1CGS/777 Studios Project Manager Jason Williams has been aiming for, over years now, has been for the series to make a triumphant return to the Pacific. The original IL-2 series really made headlines when it’s Pacific Fighters expansion released to the public.

Over the years, it has been suggested that Pacific Fighters sold more than anything else in the IL-2 series up to that point beating out Forgotten Battles and the Ace Expansion pack. These earlier incarnations of the series helped pave the way with aircraft and technology that provided the foundation for this project.

Pacific Fighters was not a perfect release and over the years I’ve lamented some of the missing flyable aircraft and the lack of a focus on specific battles in the Pacific to really help flesh out one scenario or another. This is something the current 1CGS IL-2 team does well fortunately.

IL-2: Battle of Midway was meant to be the next title in the series before the team discovered that they were having greater difficulty tracking down the materials that they needed to build the aircraft for the Battle of Midway.

If it is possible to do the aircraft that they want to do at the level they want to do it, 1CGS and in particular, Jason Williams, will find a way to make it happen. If for some reason the series doesn’t make the jump to the Pacific, it will not be due to a lack of interest or trying.

But first?

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Even if 1CGS manages to pull a rabbit out of the hat and make their long awaited Battle of Midway title a reality, there may be a down time between the start of one project and the end of another. And in this I actually think it may be a good thing as IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte is a title that could definitely benefit from a few more aircraft and a little extra development time.

I’ve mentioned aircraft in the past and I think its safe to reiterate that everything from well used types like the Mosquito FB.VI, Typhoon IB, Spitfire XIV, Meteor III, B-25C/Mitchell II, A-20G and A-26 on the Allied side or the Ar234, Ju88S, FW190A-9 or the ultra rare Ta152H could be up for grabs as Collector Planes. Whatever the choice may be, Bodenplatte covers a wide time from September 1944 to April 1945 and inside that we saw considerable numbers of types of aircraft used that aren’t currently planned for the title. I’ve said it before and I will say it again that the Spitfire XIV and Ar234 would be my top two choices for the project (although I would very much like to have the Mosquito and Typhoon as well) that would satisfy a good number of pilots and offer up some extra sales.

Battle of Kuban in particular felt like a very rich title at release not only thanks to the aircraft in its own set but thanks to the Battle of Stalingrad and Moscow aircraft sets and thanks to some of the Collector Planes released both before and after it’s official release. We could see that here although it remains to be seen what the plan is.

And Korea? Or Normandy? Or Italy?

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There’s been a lot of talk about IL-2: Battle of Korea as a possible future for the series. The Korean War has rarely been covered in detail in any flight sim titles (or any games period) and offers an interesting time period at the dawn of the jet age and in the twilight of the piston engine period. It could offer a wide scope of available aircraft types although it may be hard to get the right depth of experience.

One benefit to doing this would be the continued ability to use the U-2/Po-2 biplane which saw service through to Korea (and offers a striking counterpoint to the MiG-15/F-86 Sabre duo).

The title would also benefit from the work done on the Me262 and the near Mach flight regime that the team has been programming into the series. We also know thanks to the Kuban map that the Digital Warfare engine can do mountainous regions beautifully.

My gut instinct is that 1CGS won’t be doing Korea soon. Even if the Pacific falters, I personally think the team would do better to go back and cover a battle like Normandy. Operation Overlord and the air battles both before it and after (say April through to September) would help fill out the aircraft set for Bodenplatte further and thus benefit those two titles at once.

It would be difficult to find any new and interesting German types (they could do the G-6 Late and a FW190A-6) in the fighter regime although it would offer up the chance to do a couple more German twin engined aircraft such as the Do217. The Allies could benefit immensely with a razorback version of the P-47 and P-51 or from say the potential inclusion of the previously mentioned Typhoon, or even from a bomber type like the B-26 (which would suit the series far better than the four engined heavies that we’ve been told not to expect right now).

Fiat_G55

They could also choose to do a 1944 oriented Italy campaign filling in many of the same aircraft gaps of a Normandy scenario but also offering up some unique types flown by the Italian forces offering up some unique experiences for WWII flight sim pilots.

Regardless of which decisions are made going forward, it’s clear there are many options. One of the ones not on the table and one that I haven’t mentioned is North Africa which appears to be reserved for Team Fusion and the IL-2: Cliffs of Dover title.

Tank Crew and Flying Circus

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I’ve spent most of this article talking about the main line series, however, 1CGS has been shepherding some other titles along too and by the end of next year we should see Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka and Flying Circus Vol 1 wrapping up. If one or both end up being a financial success then it’s hopeful that they would both see expansions to their titles as well.

For the Tank Crew series, a new title focused on the Battle of the Bulge would fit beautifully with the Bodenplatte aircraft set and time period offering another great opportunity for combined arms gameplay between two titles. It’s a logical next step in my mind although the series producers could base tank battles on some other notable conflicts – though these would all be in the East.

Meanwhile, Flying Circus Vol 2 would logically offer up an additional 10 aircraft rehabilitated from the Rise of Flight series and given increased poly counts and 4K textures. A follow up featuring the battles of 1917 could expand the scope of the Flying Circus series (and hopefully add Career mode back in). Further aircraft sets could also cover the Channel map and earlier conflicts in 1916 too.

That’s what I see in my crystal ball

I do like to guess at the future plans for the IL-2 series, mostly because I like the series so much and any chance to expand the content or the features just further increases my enjoyment of it. The WWII conflict that the series represents offers up a lot of history and a lot of options for the developers to try and cover. They won’t be able to practically do all of it but I am hopeful that the series will grow and expand to offer up other options.

Though it is a long way off, I thought it’d be fun to talk about the next steps even while we anxiously await the newest additions to the series which are due in just over one week now.

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. HBPencil says:

    Crystal ball gazing can be quite a fun little exercise. Personally my gut tells me that while the devs finish BoBP and work on FC and TC they’ll put out some Collector aircraft to bring in revenue and keep interest in the sim (my bet would be on the Spit XIV although the Tiffie would be my favourite. Not sure about the LW option, other than the A-9 the other choices are a bit unicorn-ish).
    After that? I would bet on the Pacific due to Jason’s enthusiasm for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Absolutely. I’m sure that Jason and team are still working hard in the background on making a Pacific battle or two a reality. If it doesn’t work out for some reason, it won’t be for their lack of trying or enthusiasm.

      Like

  2. Blue 5 says:

    I think you are probably right, but just to add some thoughts:
    – New theatre costs are combination of a/c and maps (forgetting careers and other features)
    – TC will come with Kursk – albeit a ‘small Kursk’ (basically Prokhorovka)
    – FC will come with an Arras-centric map
    – If the team wanted to get the most out of these efforts (‘bang for buck’, so to speak), then a few more EF a/c for Kursk would be ‘relatively’ easy (Yak-9….erm, Yak-1M?)
    – Possibly expanding the Arras map would allow for a pre-September ’44 (say, post-D-Day so no UK element) add-on using the variants of a/c that you suggested in your piece

    North Italy would be great, a Battle of France would be fantastic and unexpected, but highly unlikely while I think Jason’s heart is set on the Pacific there is the danger of a revenue gap between it being announced (early order) and it being ready (a year – maybe more?). I am not sure that the team can afford – literally – to be working for a year or so with limited sales.

    Korea strikes me as risky from a sales perspective.

    So I reckon (£5 bet) that there will be some roll-over for the new maps and general integration of a/c, theatres and features (including the tanks) as low-risk revenue generators before we get to the Big Pacific Project

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Agreed on all points. I do think there may be a bit of a lull in between projects that will be filled with a few extra Collector Planes. Could be wrong on that but just a gut instinct on that.

      Like

  3. gflinch says:

    You mentioned a few planes like the ar234, you haven’t mentioned the do335, it was tested and in production when the US took Oberpfaffenhofen plant. There is one known encounter with a tempest flight group and they couldn’t catch it. Other than that we know very little about its combat ability. Still a very interesting plane. Same could be said of the go229 (ho229) and the he177, if you care to go that deep into a luft46. Personally I would like to see them go back to a luft46 title just for nostalgia sake. However fill out the main fighters and bombers first. Also somehow manage B17 intercepts, maybe they could appear off map, drop their load, and continue off map.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’m a huge fan of the what-if “Luft 46” type stuff but I don’t think enough people are for it to be worthwhile so I stuck to aircraft that saw active service in a more significant way. There are certainly enough gaps to fill right now anyways that some of the exceedingly rare types are less interesting too.

      Of all the Luftwaffe types not covered yet, the Ar234 is my choice seeing use in 1944 and 1945 and particularly in some high profile operations in 1945. It was also the only bomber really being used by the Luftwaffe in 1945 on the Western Front and it comes with a bonus of being a single station and hopefully being about as difficult to model as fighters are. I think there’s a high chance that 1CGS will go for one as a Collector Plane.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Blue 5 says:

    Very little data for those aircraft. Ar-234 I would definitely buy but the Luft ‘46 stuff is a little beyond for me.

    Mind you, drop me a DH Vampire and I’m all over that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aaron C White says:

    I always find myself wishing for them to go the “Forgotten Battles” route and do some of the less popular sims in game.

    I would love the current Il-2 to take on the Finnish wars, but then that kind of falls into the “We already have a lot of this” with regards to the plane set, outside of adding things like the Buffalo and other Finnish fighters.

    It could be cool to see them take on Italy or even the Africa campaign, as that’s another one that wasn’t tackled much. But that suffers from the similar thing of selling people on similar variants of existing planes, with a map set that might be less appealing to some, even if it’s the polar opposite of the Russian maps.

    I guess that’s the plus side to the Pacific or a Korea release. It’s pretty much all new material. You’re moving away from the now familiar VVS and Luftwaffe plans to take on the Japanese military and start working in the Allied forces who were in the pacific. Same goes for Korea where you get the opportunity to take on a brand new map and plane set, but with the risk of it being something that becomes an accurate representation of the “forgotten” part of the Forgotten War.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      There is a third party enthusiast group with map building expertise who are working on a Finnish themed scenario. If it comes to fruition it’d be great to add in a B-239.

      Could happen but it will be a while.

      Like

      1. Aaron C White says:

        Oh nice. I think it could be interesting if 3rd parties came around, similar to how DCS does it, though I’m not sure how many interested parties there are.

        A Finnish set could be pretty fun. While the Luftwaffe side would definitely be a little limited, the FAF side gives you all sorts of interesting options like the ones we saw in Forgotten Battles that could dovetail nicely with an African scenario. I think part of what made the Forgotten Battles setting so cool was that you had the mix of equipment. Fokkers, Buffalos, Gladiators, Hurricanes, MS.406, Fiats…it gives you so much variety and might interest people from all over with potential for their favorite plane.

        But at the same time, it’s not as popular of a conflict compared to others.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Trudy says:

    I really hope there will be at least one more western front theater.
    Actually we have 3 eastern front theathers which benefit from each other and create a plausible and deep image of WW2. If Bodenplatte will stay alone, it might feel a bit superficial.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Blue 5 says:

    If we imagine an acountant’s crystal balls (however distasteful that might be) we ask 3 questions:
    – What generates most sales? US / Uk late war a/c including extra a/c for current maps
    – What makes best use of work done to date (aka low risk)? W. Europe or Med 1942 – 45 or a new EF scenario
    – What avoids overlap with TF / DCS? Pacific or post-Overlord France

    So Korea is possible, but strays into DCS territory. Pacific makes sense but is a huge amount of work and is a big RoI question. Med / Italy 1944 is conservative but maybe sales are limited. Caen to the Rhine is easier but lacks excitement of a new theatre. Bagration to Berlin might work but may see interest decline a little if perceived as ‘another Russian Front’ release.

    So I reckon:
    – They want to do Pacific
    – They will possible release an adjacent map west of the Bodenplatte area as an intermediate effort and / or some more collector a/c for current maps
    – 3rd party EF map if they can make that work
    – Italy will be considered but rejected as too ‘
    – Korea will be considered but rejected in favour of Pacific for a 2020 release

    But logic may prove erroneous here, but I think we see:
    – Fill out of popular a/c West and East
    – Maybe one new ETO map (possibly including EF)
    – Pacific in the next 2 years

    If I am correct, you saw it here first…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Well thought out Blue! We’ll see if you’re right or not in time!

      Like

  8. 1_Robert_ says:

    My hope is the Pacific campaign sees the light of day as a follow-up to BOBp. Flying a Wildcat off a carrier in VR would be amazing.
    As for the future, I’d love to see Korea or Vietnam developed one day. I realize the focus is on the World Wars but I just love this developer’s work and hope that they can branch out further.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Carrier Ops in VR is likely to be a major selling point to folks if Midway happens. Definitely!

      Like

  9. Novice-Flyer says:

    Hey Shamrock,

    I see that you are very intrigued about the Battle of Midway being in IL-2 GB. Not to offend or disappoint you, I just don’t believe that the devs will make an IL-2: Battle of Midway. I primarily state this because the Pilot Careers of the 4 installments took place over a course of several months, while Midway was only a few days. Therefore, I believe the Battle of Guadalcanal will be done instead as it was the first allied ground offensive against the Japanese and took place over a course of several months. “ Although the Japanese suffered heavy losses at Midway, that didn’t stop their expansion. The allied victory at Guadalcanal ended all Japanese expansion attempts permanently and placed in allies in a clear road of success that eventually lead to the Japanese surrender.” (Google Docs)

    On the other hand, the allied victory at Midway crippled the Japan’s ability to launch carrier-based planes. During Guadalcanal the Americans lost the Wasp, Hornet, the Enterprise was damaged twice, leaving the USS Saratoga the only fleet carrier. Thus, they were forced to borrow the HMS Victorious. If the allied victory at Midway hadn’t happened then the Americans may not have taken Guadalcanal. The objective for Japan was to capture Midway so they could launch a second attack on Pearl Harbour. Therefore, Midway and Guadalcanal need to be in the PTO in this game. Due to many ships and planes being involved in both battles, I think the devs should make IL-2: Battle of Guadalcanal that contains the Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal: the turning points of the Pacific Theater of WW2

    Novice-Flyer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I mostly agree with you on all of the substance part of what you said 🙂 It will still be called ‘Battle of Midway.’ That’s more for marketing reasons than anything else.

      I haven’t expanded on my thoughts specifically about the title in a while but the concept of it being larger than just Midway has been talked about extensively and it’s pretty much a given.

      Battle of Midway could probably start with Battle of Coral Sea or even a bit earlier (the early island raids) and expand into the opening phases of the Guadalcanal battle. I can easily see that happening.

      Like

  10. Blue 5 says:

    If they do Pacific, I wonder if Okinawa might be a better all-round choice (given the iconic a/c), followed by Guadacanal. But then, we have the P-39 / -40 so they get something of a head-start on a ’42 scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bombzey says:

    Taking the series into the future it would be interesting to see how many people still take up the enticing Sale offers that pop up from time to time? I for one have purchased almost everything and the sales often offer nothing for me to purchase!
    I could be wrong but if a lot of the hardcore community find themselves in a similar position then IL-2 needs to evolve to grab a larger audience. Surely its survival requires a refreshing client base?
    Taking all the talented work that has been done in BoK & Bodenplatte and offering it in an easier to pick up playstyle would win the hearts of new pilots. There hasn’t been a good rata tat tat flight game for a long time now.
    Running alongside our wonderful flight sim I think we need to play “IL-2 Dogfight” or something of equal naming ….. maybe “IL-2 AirAttacker”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Given the number of sales that they run during the year including efforts to run sales outside of the usual Steam Sale time periods suggests to me that they must be working. Price is an issue for many and 66% off knocks Battles of Stalingrad and Moscow down to a more attainable level for those on a budget.

      Absolutely right that it a challenging to offer some of the folks like us who have bought things during the earliest access periods (though we still typically get a small discount for doing so) any enticements that way.

      The early days of IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad saw the series try and take a more casual player approach and that was criticized by the community and I think hurt the game’s reputation on launch. Since then it’s moved more towards the hardcore approach and IMHO I think the developers have the right balance trying to appeal to the more hardcore players while also being reasonably accessible.

      DCS has the high (and some medium fidelity), IL-2 is firmly in the middle, and War Thunder is the thousand pound gorilla that manages the more arcade/casual side of things. If IL-2 is going to expand its player base and capture a lot of the players who came in during Ace Expansion Pack and Pacific Fighters then it will have to appeal to the audience that is interested in Western aircraft and the Pacific in particular. My fingers are crossed for them!

      Like

  12. Blue 5 says:

    I do not think that they want to edge in the WT direction. Customer pick-up is debateable, but it would certainly be against the grain of what they are trying to achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

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