The release of the Me262 for Battle of Bodenplatte marks a couple of major milestones with the first jet in the IL-2: Great Battles Series, the last planned Axis aircraft to be added, and it also pushes us just past one year since content for Battle of Bodenplatte started coming out. What began with the Spitfire IX and Bf109G-14 has grown considerably since then and there’s still more to come. So, what comes next and when?
Some exciting content yet to come
From what Jason Williams, IL-2’s Lead Producer, said on the forums several months ago, the next aircraft in the list for the development team is the P-51D-15. The Mustang is an aircraft with an incredible legendary status in the Western world that is just hard to ignore. Every shape, line, crease, and rivet is revered by an absolutely massive number of fans of WWII aviation.
Its service not only with the USAAF but with a couple dozen Allied countries both during and after World War II only add to the mystique. And that’s also not to forget the large number that still fly at airshows around the world as well as the type’s impressive performance in air races starting some 60-70 years ago and continuing to the present day.
Jason originally projected the Mustang to release sometime in June or July (this is back several months) and my best guess is that they might be able to meet a July release schedule. The P-51D-15, as you can see from the screenshots above, is already fairly far along and that was actually quite some time ago.
One thing is for sure, once this aircraft comes out we’re going to see a huge array of skins as the Mustang features some of the most interesting and varied schemes of WWII.
So that’s the Mustang. What else?
A trio of Allied types
Following the P-51D-15 is the B-25D Mitchell bomber which, at present, is planned as an AI aircraft that will be added to Battle of Bodenplatte. This bomber was used from 1942 on to the end of the war in the hands of multiple services. For Bodenplatte this will be an RAF aircraft but it was also used by the Soviets on the Eastern Front and by USAAF (and even a few by the USN/USMC) in the Pacific and North Africa.
Though not expected to be a flyable type right away, the hope by both many of us in the community and by 1C Game Studios is that it will become flyable later.
This version of the B-25 was also heavily modified by Allied forces in theater and the first gunship versions of the B-25 were modified C and D models. That gives me hope for all kinds of great opportunities for the 1CGS team to provide us with a capable and versatile aircraft suitable for fans of medium and higher altitude bombing as well as those of us who prefer to fly ‘in the weeds’.
One of the planes that I’m most excited about is the RAF’s bruiser of a fighter – the Tempest Mark V. This follow on to the Typhoon corrected most of the earlier types problematic traits with a completely redesigned wing using a similar laminar-flow profile like the Mustang and redesigning the tail-plane section which eliminated the rear fuselage separation issues in high speed dives that the Typhoon sometimes suffered from.
Fast a low and medium altitudes, extraordinarily well armed with four Hispano V cannons, and possessing outstanding visibility, the Tempest V is quite simply one of the best Allied fighters of the late 1944 and 1945 time period. It’s also just happens to be one of my favourites for its slightly more quirky reputation and you can bet that I’ll be flying it quite a lot.
There’s also a huge number of fans of the P-38 Lightning out there and IL-2 Battle of Bodenplatte is bringing us a P-38J model to the series. This twin-engine interceptor saw more use in the Pacific while its European theater reputation suffered somewhat. Despite that, the P-38 certainly left a mark and was heavily used as both bomber escort and as a tactical fighter. Rockets, bombs, and a formidable array of .50cal machine guns and a single 20mm cannon (a rarity in US fighter design) make the P-38 a fighter worth taking seriously.
And the map of course
Battle of Bodenplatte is going to come with what appears to be one seriously impressive map featuring a pretty wide selection of urban areas in a geographically diverse part of western Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.
The latest screenshots we saw of the map featured some the damaged buildings and spaces that the map will be able to recreate. Towns, villages and cities were frequently the sites of intense fighting or subject to bombardment from all manners of weapons both conventional artillery and aircraft as well as the slightly more unconventional (for the time) V-1 strikes.
Just as the pillars of smoke and fire over the scarred Stalingrad map leave a serious impression there, I think we’ll have similar feelings from Bodenplatte’s map seeing the series connect with the serious subject matter at hand – even if as part of the overall atmosphere.
Other features and will there be surprises?
Widely expected to come with Bodenplatte will be another entrant in IL-2’s Career mode which has garnered plenty of praise above the older Campaign mode that was part of the series first two releases. For over a year the IL-2 team has been researching and occasionally crowd-sourcing data on airbases, squadrons, unit information and more. Creating the appropriate histories for historical squadrons and letting the player play a role within them has been a lot of fun and Bodenplatte looks set to continue that.
The Marshal-mode something we’ve heard about for a long time now and its one of Jason Williams and team’s ideas for boosting the capabilities of what is possible in IL-2’s multiplayer. Though we still don’t have a complete picture on what this will be like, we know that the team is busy coding and building the interface for it.
The series has already begun to add 4K textures to their aircraft and thanks to a combined effort from the team and from some third party artists in the community, we’re now going to see Bodenplatte ship with 4K textures across the board. At twice the detail, these new textures add extra details to Bodenplatte’s aircraft – especially close up.
Another feature that might come to Bodenplatte before final launch is the addition of new graphical effects. We don’t know what all of these might be but we’ve got a new feature that lets smoke and fire fill the cabin of tanks in Tank Crew and the team has already stated that these visuals will eventually come to their aircraft as well.
Another feature that I’ve heard the team is looking into (and this has come from a few places now) is an update to the way that the series handles engine timers. Right now the system is very strictly adhering to the aircraft manual on what is permissible on an engine – after that there’s a high chance that it will break. That has caused some issues that have been endlessly discussed in the community. What the team has planned for the future here specifically is unknown but I’m optimistic that they will find some options that will hopefully make players happy with the result.
There may also be some other surprises along the way. A couple more Bodenplatte themed Collector Planes to fill in the gaps of the aircraft line-up? Hopefully! Continued development of the series core features like AI and visual effects? Almost certainly.
There’s no final release date for IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte. If development on aircraft for the title speeds up slightly, I think we’ll see all of the available flyable types out before the end of 2019 and likely the map and the career mode which will essentially mean that Battle of Bodenplatte is done and release.
That could all happen before Christmas 2019 but we’ll have to see how development on this, on Flying Circus Vol 1 and on Tank Crew continue alongside. Almost certainly we’ll be learning more about this from the dev team over the coming couple of months.
I’m excited folks!