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?
The 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.
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?
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).
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
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.