If you’ve been around flight simulation or computer gaming in general, the name MicroProse probably means something to you. The publisher and developer of a huge number of classic titles from Civilization to X-COM to flight simulation classics such as F-15 Strike Eagle, B-17 Flying Fortress, Fleet Defender, and even the F-16 Falcon series all have some connection back to MicroProse. For a few months now we’ve seen a few posts from a Twitter account that has all but announced that MicroProse is back and that they are working on some new projects. Let’s have a quick look at what we know so far. Back from the dead?
Back from the dead?
The Wikipedia article on the long and winding history of MicroProse suggests that the name has one new owner (David Lagetti) as well as an original co-founder (Bill Stealey) at the helm of the revitalized gaming company. The article also suggests that they have a Warbirds 2020 title under development although the content that we’ve seen so far released by them suggests a wider variety of vehicles could take staring roles in future titles under development.
Warbirds 2020 or perhaps some sort of revitalization of the old B-17 series seems to be one of the titles under development right now with the cockpit of a Bf109 being shown off last year and a new update just a few days ago showing off the work in progress effort on the interior of a B-17 Flying Fortress.
There are also more modern vehicles showing up in other images that we’ve seen with the UH-60 Blackhawk, AH-64 Apache, and the M1 Abrams tank all appearing in work in progress development images.
Warbirds, modern aircraft, and more seem to all be on the menu for future titles from this developer.
Reading between the lines
The next thing I want to briefly look at is some of the updates that we’ve had from them starting with the most recent. On January 25th they made their first update of 2020 with information that they have multiple games in development and that at least one of them would be releasing in 2020! Interesting!
Going back to September of 2019 they mention again that there are multiple games in development right now.
What kind of games are these going to be?
The real question of course right now is what kind of games are these going to be. Super hardcore simulation like DCS World or something more casual like War Thunder? Any number of combinations in between are possible.
Although MicroProse is an old and well regarded name, this is also largely a new company starting more or less from scratch and so their efforts to break into the market will be helped by the old reputation but may also be made difficult by the current configuration of well established industry members.
That said, it is interesting if we pull back and look at the whole overview of the simulation world right now. We have DCS World and IL-2 that I mostly focus on seemingly doing well and pushing forward to content. Gaijin’s War Thunder is insanely popular from what I can tell and its more casual approach as allowed it to generate more aircraft, tanks and ships to drive around than pretty much any title in history, and then we have titles like Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous on the space sim side that seem to have attracted lots of attention and huge crowd funding numbers ($265,666,552 as of this writing). And then we have continued development of the civilian aviation side of things with X-Plane 11, P3D, and of course Flight Simulator 2020.
All of this seems to suggest that there may once again be a growing market for these types of titles. Combine that with an all new Top Gun movie in the works and the seeming success of console based titles like Ace Combat and I think there may be room enough for all of these and more – MicroProse’ return may be heralding the arrival (and not even the dawn) of a new golden age of simulation.
Let’s see where this year takes them!