Many months of teasers and messages that MicroProse is back is set to lead way to some big official announcement which MicroProse themselves now are teasing is coming tomorrow. This is what we know right at the moment and what we might see tomorrow.
A storied past
Started in 1982, MicroProse was responsible for a long line of successful military combat simulation titles. Titles such as F-15 Strike Eagle, Fleet Defender, B-17 Flying Fortress, and even featured licensing deals for titles such as Top Gun. They were also well known for everything from Railroad Tycoon to Sid Meier’s Civilization.
There was another title they were known for – Falcon. The Falcon series is still revered today as being one of the best and most detailed flight simulations and dynamic campaign systems ever produced. To date, nobody has matched what Falcon 4.0 brought to the table and the title still lives on in the form of BMS.
Unfortunately, MicroProse’ story wasn’t always rosy and despite releasing some excellent titles both in the simulation and general gaming category, ultimately the name slowly disappeared as it was bought up by other studios until the original MicroProse disappeared.
Now, however, the name has been resurrected and it looks like they are returning to the world of simulation. And they may be doing it with more than just one title.
Teases over the months
Early images coming from the new MicroProse CEO and owner, David Lagettie, showed off some early technology demos. Titan appears to be the codename for their simulation engine and going by both the marketing here and industry trends, Titan will probably underpin whatever MicroProse hopes to introduce to the market.
Some of the technology here is reminiscent of what we’ve seen coming from Microsoft and Asobo studios with the merging of real world data into the simulation world. Is MicroProse also using AI technology to build 3D scenery?
More teases showcased various scenery and modern helicopters such as the AH-64 Apache.
Another tease showed off the cockpit of a Bf109 and a vague reference to ‘Warbirds’ and that there are multiple games that they are working on.
Another showed off an M1 Abrams tank and the interior of a B-17.
That B-17 interior took a few leaps in the next few images.
Although not yet officially announced, it’s hard not to make a guess that one of the titles that MicroProse is looking to bring back is the B-17 Flying Fortress sim. People have been asking for the ability to pilot a B-17 for years and it looks like someone may finally be making that wish come true.
Teasing the announcement
Another set of teasers has come out in the last couple of days teasing their announcement. Last week it was this image. This was apparently U.S. First Lady Pat Nixon christening the USS California on September 22, 1971 according to a very similar image on Wikipedia.
And then D minus 2 and we’ve got this image showing the christening of the USS Enterprise (CV-6).
And then finally this image from a newspaper from 1942.
What could it all be?
We’ll know soon, however, it appears that MicroProse has multiple PC gaming oriented titles with at least some of them being aviation related and others apparently naval oriented if we go by all of the ship christening images. Most of the images lean towards the historical period with the B-17 and Bf109 featuring prominently, however, other images are also more modern.
We could interpret the early concepts to just be that – early concepts. It could also be a family of simulations that are being developed under one larger banner. A lot of simulations these days are developed as part of a larger whole because long development times and customer loyalties do better for these titles for prolonged periods – i.e. the DCS World or IL-2: Great Battles Series.
Game engines are also expensive. If MicroProse has created a bespoke engine (apparently named ‘Titan’) or heavily modified an off the shelf option, it would make sense to develop in in a way that they can leverage as much entertainment value as possible for a long period of time.
Another unknown is what level these titles are oriented at. Are they meant to be detailed simulations that take months and years to master like DCS World and, to a slightly lesser extent, the IL-2 series? Or are they meant to be a little more casual.
Is there room for more competing simulators on the market?
One nagging question I have is if there is room in the market for another simulation brand to come storming in. That’s not a question we can answer right now because we don’t know where MicroProse is aiming for. A lot of people have assumed one thing or another, however, until we get some announcements and clarify what it is that they are building we just don’t know what the potentials are.
In the combat simulation market, Gaijin dominates the casual aircraft, tank, and ship space with War Thunder and they do that alongside Wargaming.net’s World of Warplanes/Warships/Tanks. Meanwhile, 1CGS and Eagle Dynamics occupy the more serious simulation space and even there we have a kind of detente as the two series are somewhat complimentary with their different approaches to simulation and complexity.
Where does MicroProse fit into all of this? Will it upset the balance and challenge the established players or will it fail to make a dent? Will it cause renewed competition or cause other titles to wither? Most of these scenarios are likely too extreme and the actual reality will be somewhere in between and will probably play out over the course of many years.
Tomorrow we’ll have a better sense of where MicroProse is headed and what kind of splash they may be making on the market.
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