The Community Q&A series hasn’t seen in a new entry in a while but that’s all about to change and I’m kicking that off with a brand new interview with Team Fusion Simulations team member Bryn Watkins. Bryn is the creator of the new ten mission 610 Squadron campaign coming to IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover and Desert Wings owners.
I ask Bryn about the campaign, the unique history of 610 squadron and Team Fusion has sent me some new screenshots too. So, let’s get started!
On to the Q&A!
Let’s start with an easy first question: Introduce yourself and tell us how long you’ve been into flight sims?
My name is Bryn Watkins, and I’m a 22 year old university student from Australia, studying history and international relations. I’ve been into flight sims for maybe about a decade and a half at this point, and WWII aviation for even longer after a visit to the Australian War Memorial and seeing the Battle of Britain film when I was a toddler. Thanks to having Asperger’s syndrome, I managed to learn a decent amount about WWII aircraft and how to play flight sims considering how young I was back then. I still remember flying endless quick missions in 1946, being mindblown when I found out what a ‘pilot career’ meant, my first time going online in CloD, and starting up the very first alpha version of GBS released to the public. Eventually I started making my own CloD missions, and that ultimately led to TFS hiring me.
Let’s talk about the new campaign. Recently, Team Fusion Simulation’s announced that there was a new single player campaign set during the Battle of Britain and featuring 610 squadron. How does this campaign differ from past Battle of Britain featured campaigns?
The sole official RAF Battle of Britain campaign already available to players, Cliffs of Dover, tells a dramatic story about love and betrayal. Our new campaign, on the other hand, will be a more historically-based one. The focus is on depicting the stressful and exhausting nature of the Battle of Britain through gameplay, as the player is repeatedly sent up to fight wave after wave of German aircraft. Most missions are also based on actual engagements with some liberties taken for the sake of gameplay; for example, 610 didn’t take part in every single one of the depicted engagements.
Ten missions have been announced for the campaign. What kind of experiences can we expect while flying these missions and what types of missions will we fly?
Eight of the missions will be scrambles against Luftwaffe bombers, which is what the real 610 faced for the most part during the Battle of Britain. There will be some variety, though; if local Chain Home stations were damaged at the time of the Luftwaffe attack, and you’re at Hawkinge, you’ll be scrambling just before the bombers open their bomb doors. You might be assigned to tackle the escorts while Hurricanes deal with the bombers, or you might have to deal with both by yourself. The size of the enemy bomber formations will also vary, from 9 to 42 bombers (with the accompanying fighters increasing in size as well). There was also at least one occasion when 610 scrambled against an enemy formation that turned out to be nothing but Bf-109s, and this has also been recreated. Additionally, there’s an anti-recon mission on one of the quieter days depicted in the campaign, where you’ll have to scramble to intercept a bandit at around 30,000ft (12,000m).
Is there anything unique about the history of the No 610 squadron that prompted doing a campaign for this squadron? How does this unit’s history factor into the mission concepts or design?
No. 610 SQN was one of the squadrons that faced the brunt of the German offensive. The airfields they operated from, Biggin Hill and Hawkinge, were attacked frequently. To make matters worse, Hawkinge was very close to Bf-109 bases in occupied France, depriving the RAF of much of the fuel advantage they had over the Isle of Wight and London. August was a brutal month for 610, and they were ordered away from the fighting by the end of the month due to the casualties they’d sustained.
This history was perfect for depicting how intense and non-stop the Battle of Britain was at its height, and provided a good amount of actual engagements to base missions on. The area the squadron fought in, around Kent, also has memorable locations for the player to fight over, like the white cliffs of Dover and the outskirts of London. As well as all those factors, I was already more familiar with 610 than other RAF squadrons thanks to my interest in them being sparked while making a model kit of one of their Spitfires.
How challenging are the missions?
For the vast majority of missions, players will have to constantly check their six and never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area if they want to land with an intact aircraft. And even that might not be enough in missions where there are two Bf-109s for every friendly fighter in the sky.
Can you tell us when the campaign is slated to come out?
The core gameplay of each mission is already done, bar any tweaking that needs to be done after additional testing. What’s left now is completing the briefings, as well as taking screenshots to turn into the poster and slides. The fact that I’ve just started a new semester of uni will definitely slow things down, as will some volunteer firefighting work, but I feel confident that everything will be ready to go sometime in September.
Do you have any plans to create a follow-up campaign, a sequel, or something new in the future?
There are plans to cover the same time period with a companion Bf-109 campaign in the future, this time focusing on the fighting near the Isle of Wight. As for a direct sequel, there are no plans currently. However, 610 did see combat over occupied France while flying Mk.I, Mk.II, and Mk.V Spitfires from January 1941 to August, so I’d definitely like to make a sequel once more important singleplayer content is completed.
Thank you Bryn!
I want to thank Bryn and the rest of Team Fusion Simulations for connecting with me on this campaign. From the interview, it sounds like it will offer the series a very exciting and historically driven Battle of Britain campaign for Spitfire enthusiasts and that is right up my alley. I can’t wait to try it out.