Packed into the latest DCS World 2022 and Beyond trailer are a whole bunch of teases and suggestions at future content mixed in with all that we know a love already. So let’s get into it and break down this newest trailer.
2022 and beyond!
Every year for the last several years, Eagle Dynamics, by way of trailer maker Glowing Amraam, release a full featured trailer showcasing all that DCS World is and hopes to be in the coming years. Last year we saw teases of the new clouds, the AH-64, Mi-24 and Mosquito. Most of those have arrived this year and the Apache is due early next year (in just a few weeks likely) so these trailers tend to portent what’s coming through the year and, as the title suggests, slightly beyond.
Before I break down the trailer, you may want to watch it for yourself so have a look!
Breaking it down
The first part of the trailer shows off mostly new content with the USS Forrestal and F-14A from Heatblur getting the first showing in this trailer together with some inspirational messaging from Eagle Dynamics co-founder Nick Grey.
Our first piece of new content is the new Ka-50 model which we get a nice low shot of with all of the beautiful details for the Black Shark 3 release. Then we switch to a few shots of the new RAZBAM F-15E Strike Eagle. It shows up quite a bit in this trailer. A close examination of the cockpit shows working avionics, gauges, and what looks like a fully and final texture pass on the jet. The exterior gets a great shot here too.
Then we see a bit of the AH-64D and the A-6 exterior model.
Next up, are a series of landscape shots. These are a mix of DCS: Syria and DCS: South Atlantic which is still a work in progress. Most or all of these shots show the updated weather model that is also a work in progress with moving clouds and weather fronts. And we get a really nice shot of some CF-18s and the new F-15E model exterior again.
Next up, more F-15E shots with a pair in formation, a look at the new afterburner effects, and a brilliant takeoff shot in low light. We watch these trailers for this sort of thing! Also on display is the C-47 which released in yesterday’s Open Beta patch. It even showcases paratroopers dropping from the aircraft. Finally, this trailer also lingers on more than a few MiG-29 scenes with a Polish Air Force MiG-29 on display here. That may be a subtle reference to the 9-12 variant that ED has confirmed is in the works or simply that Glowing Amraam likes to show off the jet.
One of the next shots is presumably from the AH-64’s FLIR camera showing off the 30mm chain guns effects on an infantry target. One of the big updates coming to DCS is better FLIR rendering and this may be showing it off in a subtle way. The A-6 Intruder model gets another showing here.
Then we have an image of a FW190A-8 painted up with a Japanese skin. I don’t love this shot. I would have preferred to see Leatherneck’s F4U Corsair or some other Pacific reference. ED has been talking about a shift in WWII content to the Pacific although the pace has been somewhat slower than I might have hoped.
From there we go back to DCS: South Atlantic with images presumably in the Patagonia area. And a beautiful detail shot of the AH-64.
The next two images surprised me. We have a panning shot of the Eiffel tower in Paris and then a jump over to London and the Big Ben clock tower. Neither of these are on any current DCS World map and so their inclusion in either a historic WWII or modern DCS map would be very interesting for a number of reasons. Not least because it suggests a much larger area likely overlapping with The Channel and Normandy maps. That causes me to ask more questions than there are answers at present. Should be interesting!
Of course there are a few more DCS: South Atlantic images.
Our final shots of the trailer are the F-15E again, a big DCS logo, a thank you. And then we get into some very interesting teasers. The first is a set of coordinates, 34°56′46″N 069°15′54″E, which the community has confirmed are pointed squarely at Bagram airfield in Afghanistan. Then we have another shot which appears to be a gunsight pipper which again the community think belong to an F-4.
Last year, the reveal of the AH-64D confirmed that modules development and appearance in DCS World. This year, Eagle Dynamics have opted for something a little more subtle showing off several potential new pieces of content in development for release in 2022 and beyond.
The Ka-50 Black Shark 3, for example, was expected to arrive sometime this year originally but clearly is still in development. These things happen of course. But its appearance in the trailer suggest that it is moving towards that point.
The A-6 Intruder is another type that shows up more than once. It has a chance of arriving as an AI plane this year, part of the original content plan for the F-14, while Heatblur ramp up development of it as a flyable type. I don’t expect it for a couple of years yet.
The F-15E Strike Eagle is shown off several times and that got a lot of attention from me. RAZBAM have been working on the F-15E for a long time and, as near as I can tell, its one of their passion projects. I’m not sure if it will be released to early access in 2022 or not but I think it has a chance of it given what appears to be a near finished model and texture set and the appearance that at least some avionics are now working. That is a good sign but not a confirmation.
More mysterious are the appearance of Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. Is Eagle Dynamics increasing the size of the Channel map? Releasing a new map? Expanding the Normandy map together with Ugra Media? Or is their world map project bearing fruit and they are going to start offering larger areas? Like I said earlier, there are more questions here than answers. A few are cause for concern over the legacy products that are currently being sold but at the same time we don’t really have any details so for now I’m cautiously excited at the potential prospects.
Then we have the gunsight. Community members are convinced that this belongs to an F-4 and it does look the part. I’ve investigated other options just to be sure but it does have me leaning towards an F-4. If so, this is big and welcome news! DCS’ Cold War aircraft complement has been growing and an F-4, especially an E model, would bridge the gap between Cold War and modern day by offering yet another module packing a ton of variety of experience from strike and SEAD to old school missile and gun fights.
An F-4 will likely also mean that ED are honing their companion AI capabilities. “Petrovich” AI for the Hind and “George” AI for the AH-64D were the first steps and this follow-up would be a next step project. Heatblur’s “Jester” AI has already shown off that complex interactions between pilot and RIO are possible in the F-14 and that seems to have paved the way. Exciting times if so, however, I couch that excitement in the reality that there are other projects on the roadmap and that an F-4 is at least a year away if not more.
Finally, Afghanistan is interesting for a number of reasons. First, Eagle Dynamics’ professional product that is on offer to defense services around the world has featured an Afganistan map for quite some time. We’ve never seen it and I suspect that it featured accurate height mapping but little other detail. Now it looks like they are bringing it to their entertainment side and that undoubtedly means visual details that we expect to see from a DCS map. It dovetails nicely with the AH-64 and other helicopter operations. Historically, there’s less for fixed wing types to do beyond CAS roles but then again that is a big part of the modern military simulator. The map likely also has potential use for the 1980’s Soviet invasion bringing the MiG-21 and Mi-24 into the mix.
DCS World going into 2022 appears to be doing so with ample new content coming down the pipeline and that is cause for celebration!