It’s been a while since I engaged in any real speculation, however, a recent interview with Jason Williams and Daniel Tuseev from the 1CGS IL-2: Great Battles Team has renewed speculation that there could be a follow-up Flying Circus title. If Flying Circus Vol 2 does happen, what aircraft might we see and what scenario would it be based around? I have some ideas and some speculation on what could happen.
Back over the channel
In the heyday of Rise of Flight, one of the most notable additions to the series was the Channel map. Featuring the English Channel and parts of England, Belgium and France, the map had a little bit of everything from coastal towns to no man’s land running all the way up to the sea. I think, for its time, that it was the equivalent of the Kuban map for IL-2: Great Battles being a map with an interesting scenario and beautiful scenery at the same time.
It is this scenario that I think we could see a return to and provide the background for Flying Circus Vol 2. How would the aircraft set work out for this map? Well I have some ideas for that too.
Bloody April and channel battles
Stepping backward to 1917 brings in some more notable types of the air war of World War I and the channel war backdrop brings us some unique types too. Having done some research but lacking depth in the subject the way I do with World War II, these are my best guesses and attempts at weaving both a diverse and interesting aircraft set that can represent historical battles of 1917 and beyond. I draw inspiration from the way that the Battle of Moscow, Stalingrad and Kuban work together as well as how neatly integrated Battle of Bodenplatte is with the in development Battle of Normandy and the goal then is to feature aircraft that fought over both Arras and over the channel thereby connecting Flying Circus Vol 1 and 2 together.
In the spirit of that, it is the scenes of ‘Bloody April’ in 1917 that I then base the initial part of the aircraft set on. During this time, Entente forces faced massive losses against well trained and well equipped German squadrons fighting primarily in the Aras sector – something we already have for Flying Circus.
The aircraft then can go a bit like this. Let’s start then with the Albatross D.II and D.III which were key fighters for the German squadrons in 1917 followed up with the DFW C.V which would add a notable recon and bomber type for the Germans. Meanwhile, for the Allies things are complicated as there are a lot of likable fighters here including the Sopwith Pup, Sopwith Triplane, the Nieuport 17 and/or the SPAD VII. All of these interesting although I suspect not all of them could be included. A counterpart to the DFW could be found in the Airco D.H.4 or Sopwith 1/2 Stutter.
Then things get really interesting and ambitious as I would love to see both the Gotha G.V and the Handley Page 0-400. Both types saw service over the channel with bombing raids launched cross channel and against ships operating in the channel. Finally, such a scenario cries out for the seaplane types operating over the channel and that brings us the Felixstowe F.2a seaplane and the Bandenburg W12 seaplane.
- Albatross D.II / D.II Late
- Albatross D.III
- Gotha G.V
- DFW C.V
- Brandenburg W12
- Sopwith Pup or Sopwith Triplane
- Nieuport 17 or SPAD VII
- Sopwith 1½ Strutter or Airco D.H.4
- Handley Page 0-400
- Felixstowe F.2a
In the end, this list of aircraft provides variety and versatility. Some fun and capable scouts, reconnaissance, bombers and sea planes mix in to add a 1917 flavoured experience as well as one that can extend well beyond that with types like the Handley Page 0-400 and Gotha G.V being useful in a wide variety of scenarios.
I feel like this would be a more ambitious project than Flying Circus Vol 1. With a wider variety of aircraft and a more complex scenario to map out with the channel war. This idea for Vol 2 would be asking a bit more than before, however, it could also draw upon all of the technology and expertise that has already been developed by the team with both Rise of Flight and everything built into the newer Digital Warfare engine. U-boats and ship technology along with impressive 3D waves are back into the new engine and have been for a while now and a channel war map would draw on that work.
There’s also the subject of the map itself. The Channel Map was no small undertaking and so this would be an interesting subject to return to. That said, the old Channel Map and the new Battle of Normandy map have plenty of cross over and plenty of landmarks would not change between WWI and WWII versions of the map. Could 1CGS pursue parallel development building unique WWI structures when needed (such as no-mans land) while also building for WWII? It may be a unique opportunity for the team to pursue given parallel development opportunities that exist right now with Battle of Normandy underway.
Compare the new Normandy map…
…with the Rise of Flight Channel Map.
There’s plenty of overlap that could be useful to development.
EDIT July 7 at 6:51 pm EDT: I was using the proposed version of the Normandy map and a newer version of the map has been decided on. It has less overlap than the earlier version, however, I think the possibility still exists for collaboration between the two projects – hypothetically speaking of course!
The single player question
The final question here is then what happens with single player. Flying Circus’ multiplayer experience is very good and the single player experience has gotten better thanks to an official Scripted Campaign experience. More Scripted Campaigns are useful but then so would the IL-2 Career experience where auto generated missions, detailed unit histories, and a persistent pilot and squadron members come together in a unique combination.
Apparently the construction of these campaigns takes time so doing this for Flying Circus would be a task. Fortunately, I suspect a lot of this content could be drawn on from Rise of Flight which featured similar technology. That’s not to downplay the extensive work that would be required but it would be a launching point and would mean that they wouldn’t be starting from zero.
Would the system then be back-ported to Flying Circus Vol 1? 1CGS has done that in the past to make sure that their older titles are up to the latest standard which only serves to better the whole. It’s likely it would happen but it would increase the scope of doing this in the first place.
I’m not sure how this part would pan out but it would help to bolster the experience and would probably sell some more copies.
That’s just what I think
These are my thoughts and impressions on what a Flying Circus Vol 2 could be. There’s nothing in here that comes from any official sources (if there were, I’d quote them) and all of it assumes that Vol 1 has sold enough to generate the business case for a Vol 2. Still, recent comments have increased the chances of this happening and even when Jason and I did our Q&A a few months ago there sounded like there were some positive moves in this direction.
I could be completely off base on all of this too. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!