As much hype as there is about Il-2: Battle of Bodenplatte’s next big patch and the release of the P-51D Mustang, P-38J Lightning and Tempest Mark V (plus the Rhineland map – probably), there’s also plenty of talk about what the series is going to do next and where they want to go. Today we got a short message from Jason Williams, IL-2’s Lead Producer, talking a little about what they want to do, what struggles they have right now, and what their plans are for what’s next. It’s a valuable read and I wanted to share it plus some further ideas for speculation from around the community.
What’s next and some very real world considerations
With so much speculation going on about what theatre and why I guess it was time for Jason to bring some of his own thoughts to the table. This isn’t a reveal of any kind but I think it’s an interesting message and there are some cool tidbits on future plans.
I love ALL aspects and theaters of WWII. I would love to do them ALL assuming it was possible. My job is to create an achievable, marketable and compelling product that most current and new users would be interested in buying. I’ve diversified our product line a bit with FC1 and TC because as we keep moving forward, tough decisions on what or what not to build will become harder to swallow if your favorite theater isn’t built. Deciding what to build is not easy. And deciding to not make something is even tougher because you know someone will be disappointed. A lot of planes are impossible to make flyable simply because we don’t have the references or data to make them accurate or even close to accurate. I think the general public underestimates how hard it is to make a plane to our standards, and our standards, well visual standards at least, are not even as extreme as some other products are. Our other standards are quite high and some of the highest ever in a sim so don’t take that the wrong way. And some maps are almost impossible to make too due to distances or just general lack of playability or lack of info.
I have a plan for our next product and if we execute it as I hope, I think it will [be] pretty awesome. The current dev. cycle stretched our ability to the max. and we have endured many unforeseen delays and issues out of our control. It’s not been easy. I hope the next round is easier. One of our team members recently was in a bad car accident, and now he has a hematoma on his brain causing us to scramble for the next update. Very scary.
Eventually we will need to build a new engine, when that actually happens is not necessarily known yet. I don’t believe in building from complete scratch these days. The biggest work would be in the area of visuals and terrain of course and graphics in general. That part may be from scratch. Everything else would be an evolution of sorts. That is the safest bet for us to stay alive for a long time.
JasonJason Williams on the IL-2 forums
I wanted to say that I am wishing all the best to the IL-2 team member that was injured in a car accident. A hematoma on his brain is no laughing matter and I wish and hope for a very speedy recovery!
As for the rest, I think there is a lot there that is similar to the kinds of messages that we’ve heard in the past. But they sometimes bear repeating. Modeling aircraft at high simulation levels as we’ve come to expect is not easy and it can mean that some aircraft are out of reach.
Jason is also interested, as we’ve known for a while, in covering as much of WWII as possible. He’s got a strong caveat there in that he needs to be able to market, sell, and build something engaging that people will enjoy. So far the team has succeeded from my perspective as the series is seemingly growing and maturing into something great.
Jason’s comments on eventually building a new engine are also interesting. There are elements of the IL-2 engine that have bugged players for a long time and they include spotting distances which seem to be getting solved and more graphical issues like cloud rendering with aircraft in front. Jason and others have said that a full engine re-write would be needed so solve some issues like that so it’ll probably be something that comes down the line.
Reading a little between the lines, a new engine will probably be more like the jump from DCS World 1.5 to 2.5 in that all of your familiar aircraft are still there but they are part of an enhanced engine experience. PBR texturing, 4K cockpit textures, more 4K aircraft textures, enhanced terrain mesh and scenery… the list goes on as to what the team might be able to do in the future.
IL-2 is no slouch in the visuals department but clearly Jason and team want to keep up as time goes on. Of course the engine can be used to enhance more than just visuals and other elements will surely improve too.
The rumours are speculation continue to run rampant. I did my own guesses om where the series can go next not that long ago and Magz from MagzTV just posted his own take on it recently. His take offered a couple of other unique takes on this that I hadn’t considered and I thought they were worth sharing.
Both Battle of France and Battle of Sicily offer some interesting options and gameplay possibilities. Sicily would offer both familiar and new aircraft variants to the mix and help fill out the Western Allied aircraft line-up while also having the potential of bringing more Italian fighters to the mix. Battle of France would do the same with some earlier German types that we don’t yet have along with unique French and British aircraft.
I add those to my Battle of Normandy suggestion that I feel would help connect with the Bodenplatte aircraft line-up.
More speculation on Collector Planes
Further comments have been appearing on Facebook and on the IL-2 forums surrounding the news of what the new IL-2 Collector Planes might be. Rumours continue to point towards the Hurricane Mark II and Yak-9 as the next two additions to the collection. Additionally, word is that both will feature multiple modifications with the Hurricane possibly sporting the IIA, B, C and D armament loadouts along with some of the Russian field modified options. The Yak-9 would come with the 9T and maybe even 9D and 9K options too.
If this is all true then we’ll get a fairly good bang for the buck on these aircraft with a wide variety of options and gameplay possibilities. I’ve heard from many people that they are very excited about the Hurricane – fewer in the west are as excited as I am about the Yak-9 but the type is very popular with fans in the east so things seem to balance out.
Again, while these are credible rumours, they are not yet confirmed and we’re waiting on something official before we know for sure. That could come as soon as this Friday (they seem to be on a two week dev diary update cycle) but they may also wait several more weeks.