Over the next six months, 1C Game Studios is set to deliver quite a bit of content for both IL-2: Battle of Normandy as well as Flying Circus and sprinkled in there are some Collector Planes and Vehicles too which will add to the experience. After that we don’t really know what comes next so I’m going to pull out my crystal ball and look to the future of the series. Everything from here-on in is a series of guesses, speculations, and wishful thinking so take it all with a pinch of salt as they say.
New theatre options
In broad strokes, the series has four different directions it could generally go in. With the content to date covering the Eastern Front from 1941-1943 and the Western Front from 1944 to 1945 in a good amount of depth, there are fewer choices now than when I speculated the last time.
That’s not to say that the historical aspect of this sim doesn’t have some rich choices still available but we are starting to venture into territory that is a bit more… niche. Depending on how you slice it. Here are some options.
The Late War on the Eastern Front
One of the obvious choices is tackling the late war on the Eastern Front. Russian aircraft lovers are still hoping to see aircraft like the Yak-3, La-7, and late model Yak-9 show up. Even 1CGS employees have stated that they are unlikely to offer types like the FW190A-9 or Bf109G-10 outside of a pack because they’d need them to help fill in the German aircraft line-up for that time period. And indeed its the German aircraft line that would be more difficult, though not impossible, to fill out. But we are starting to venture into an area where 1CGS is replicating aircraft that may have seen service in a very limited fashion. Focke Wulf lovers for example would still like to see a Ta152H show up and I admit to being a bit of a fan of that aircraft myself.
Although some may lament a return to the eastern front, others would be very happy to see it and I’d guess that it’d be a safe sales bet even if a few louder voices complained about it at first. This could take the form of the Battle of Berlin, and the approximately 3-4 months of lead-up, or another late war battle in the east.
The Pacific War
Another choice that many have been hoping for is a big one and that is taking the series to the Pacific. Indeed, back when Jason took over as Executive Producer his plan was to have already taken us to that conflict by now. However, practical realities over researching Japanese aircraft is a huge challenge. Some have, for some reason, not understood the issue but suffice to say that the research efforts required to produce these aircraft are substantial and that 1CGS does not want to fudge the numbers or make things up. I appreciate that.
It’s also not just a matter of producing one aircraft. Jason and others have already said that if they were just making an A6M Zero, that info exists and they’d be able to do it. But the IL-2 Great Battles Series is more than just having dogfights between two aircraft and its always done a great job of representing other key types so that we can have legitimate simulated air wars. The D3A Val and B5N Kate would be needed for a Midway or Solomons battle. Take us to the skies over New Guinea and we replace those with some other famous Japanese types like the Ki-43 “Oscar”, Ki-61 “Tony” and Ki-45 “Nick”. Or bombers like the Ki-21 “Sally” and G4M “Betty.”
It’s not clear if the research impasse has been sorted out but I for one hope that they can eventually take us to the Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal, or into the skies over New Guinea or to later war scenarios like the Marianas and Okinawa. I still hold out hope that this will one day happen. That may be next or later but I think one day we’ll reach a critical mass and it will.
Italy and Sicily
Another area where I could see the series going is the Sicily and Italy campaigns of 1943 and 1944. Although not the Pacific, it could potentially bring in some elements that virtual pilots would like to see such as carriers (the Royal Navy operated several and Seafire’s provided plenty of cover over the Sicily invasion and beyond). It’d also represent a slightly different visual experience from the temperate European scenarios that we’ve seen in the series to date.
There are a ton of interesting aircraft available here too. From the Beaufighter and Seafire to earlier versions of the P-38 to the P-51A and A-36 Apache on the Allied side to some fascinating Italian types like the MC.205, G.55, SM.79 Re.2002 and Re.2005. Would these aircraft pose research challenges as well? I don’t know.
I’m putting this one in the list because I think it has a chance, albeit a small one, given the mentions that have been made over the years. We know that the 1CGS team find the Korean War air battles interesting and fascinating and we know that they’d make for some interesting scenarios that are rarely represented in flight sims.
The F-86 and MiG-15 could be easily joined by a host of other aircraft both contemporary and WWII originating to appeal to a wide audience of sim pilots. So this has an opportunity to become a sim at some point but I suspect that its time is not yet here. We’ll see!
Where the series is not going
I’ve heard plenty of speculations and suggestions on other options and there are a few that I don’t think are in the cards. The Battle of Britain comes up time and again as does North Africa. Both of those are well covered by the other IL-2 series and while we don’t know exactly what Team Fusion are planning to do in the future for the Cliffs of Dover series, I don’t see 1CGS stepping into the same theatre as Team Fusion currently occupies. Jumping to Sicily is a bit of a stretch in this regard but I think its different enough for it to potentially not be an issue.
Battle of France comes up perennially and while it has some interesting aircraft it also doesn’t have the kind of wide appeal that other battles offer. The war in the Finnish Gulf holds some appeal and we may yet see that at some point but I don’t know if a full battle would be devote to it or if it’d be represented in some other way.
At the moment I also don’t think the Great Battles series is about to jettison everything and start over yet. Although I think that day may yet later on down the line I also don’t think that moment is here yet either.
Multiple products in development?
IL-2 series Executive Producer Jason Williams did, in his new year message, allude to multiple products in development at the same time. Indeed, the series is still continuing to build out its content in multiple areas at one time and that’s just with announced content.
Flying Circus Vol 2 will hopefully and even likely lead to a Vol 3 that backfills even more of the Rise of Flight aircraft catalogue. Meanwhile, the Siemens-Schuckert D.IV and Sopwith Snipe are adding the first new unique aircraft to the series that were not previously part of Rise of Flight.
The C-47, Li-2, IAR-80/81, StuG III and Churchill Mark IV are all adding to content across the series that should have far reaching implications that add variety beyond just one title. We know that Jason has also done some research and gotten hands on with a B-25 late last year so that aircraft may yet appear in Collector Plane form or as part of a major series development. Some of these new products are being done by third parties which may help open the door to more collaboration over time.
A recent thread on the IL-2 forums also had me speculating that one additional Collector Plane may eventually make the list. That in the form of the Meteor jet fighter. Although not heavily used, it was the Allies first operational jet fighter and one that saw combat service from early 1944 – mostly chasing V-1 bombs over England (a map that we’re soon to have) but also seeing some limited service on the continent. It’s about as “what if” as I’d like the series to venture into but I do think it’d be a fun addition.
I think a Tank Crew follow-up is likely and it may yet be that the 1CGS team decides to tackle all of these concepts in a new and unique way. What that looks like is anyone’s guess but I can see them carefully juggling the expansion of new theatres and while adding to older battles as they have already been doing.
These are my guesses, conjectures, and idle thoughts taken in the form of a blog post. 1C Game Studios might yet surprise us all with some other direction or by expanding the series in a way that I haven’t anticipated yet. I don’t expect we’ll know for several months yet and it may be closer to the end of this year before we know where the series is headed but when we do you can bet that I’ll be excitedly posting the latest news here.
Whatever the series does next, I’m going to be excited to see it while also appreciating the wide variety of content that we currently enjoy. At the end of the day its important not to look to far ahead and instead enjoy what we have. That’s worthwhile too.
In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye on my IL-2 series roadmap for 2022. I’ll be updating it with new information when it arrives.
35 Comments Add yours
Pacific War is a must.
Korean War is a dream.
I think Korea would be a good setting, a good mix of late-WW2 prop planes and early jets without guided missiles.
I could even see them working on helicopters
LikeLiked by 1 person
Having had some fun with DCS: F-86 and MiG-15 I can say that these are aircraft that are much more rooted in those WWII types, just with a new propulsion system, than later jet fighters so Korea seems like a possibility.
LikeLiked by 1 person
If it ends up being a B-17 Strategic Bombing Campaign, I am going to laugh so hard. And buy it, but laugh too.
That’d be an interesting direction 🙂
It’s not likely to happen. Game engine doesn’t allow 4-engine planes, and nothing can be done with it, only to rewrite the engine completely from scratch…
That’s the first I’ve heard there was an engine count limitation. Do you have a source?
What I’d heard previously was that the AI has major problems when you have to many crew running at the same time, and that was what currently blocked strategic bombers from being doable.
Basically it wasn’t a “we’ve built a game engine that prohibits it” but rather a “currently something goes psycho when we try it” problem.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Alex. This is not accurate information although it has been repeated so many times as to be taken as so.
Jason Williams, the Executive Producer, has said a few times that the only thing that is a real challenge for them with four engine heavy bombers is the dev time needed to make them.
I hope the devs can continue with Berlin and give us a Lancaster or B-17, or perhaps go back to the Eastern front and give us some more Soviet bombers — either 1941 or 1943-44 installment.
With Malta (though not mentioned) I did a research project on it recently and I feel the devs would have to determine a starting point, 1940, 1941, or early 1942, and an end point, late 1942 or? If they start at 1940 then there’s a hurdle because they don’t have a 1940 planeset, so starting in February 1941 would be better.
But then comes the number of ships and planes that need to be represented. When I researched Operation Pedestal and saw how many ships were in that convoy, the number of Allied planes covering it and the number of Italian ships and Axis planes attacking it, I don’t think the game engine (currently) can handle that many ships and planes at once.
With mainly the last thing in mind I feel that Malta’s off the table for now, but since it was also used as a base for Operation Husky then Malta (they could include Tunisia as well in the map) would be included in the map and the Malta convoys and the Siege of Malta could be represented in some way in IL-2 GBs.
In regards to the Pacific, do you think that the devs could start perhaps in Malaysia/Singapore — just a place with Japanese planes but no carriers where the pilot models, Japanese voices, and planes could be made and get out of the way, and then the devs expand to Guadalcanal, then to Midway and beyond?
IMHO I don’t think a Singapore campaign solves the fundamental problem. Japanese aircraft research is a challenge. In such a campaign would they have the Ki-43, Ki-44, Ki-21, and other types used researched at a level that would be appropriate for the sim? Unclear at this time.
I don’t think the carriers or fleet are a real sticking point. They could develop the tech for that.
They have to calculate:
– What is possible
– What is popular
– What is not being done (specifically by TF as DCS is ‘doing’ many things, albeit in an uncoordinated fashion)
– Hence: what is profitable
‘Possible’ probably removes Pacific for now, unless there is a background engine investment about which we are unaware, not to mention solving the poor sources on Japanese aircraft. Same engine issue likely goes for an 8th AF campaign.
This risk calculation would probably push EF ‘45, with Ugra Media rolling out a Seelow Heights map and a relatively uncomplicated and collaborative aircraft pack with the core team. But would that be terrible popular? Maybe, but not terribly exciting plus a Ta-152 would be on the cusp of what Jason appears to accept as achievable within their standards.
Italy would be a good compromise between achievable, buildable (using existing assets) and exploratory (dipping toes into a light carrier). Relatively popular if maybe not everyone’s first favourite. I would buy it, but it would likely drop much of the Russian audience.
Korean would be interesting and fulfil a lot of the initial calculations, though probably require some good publicity to convince those less aware of the conflict. The map scale strikes me as the biggest headache, possibly leading to a DMZ focus and abandoning ‘MiG Alley’. Chance also for a light carrier, possibly s a collector pack item.
France 1940 simply too esoteric as a business path
Ignoring collector aircraft (Meteor Mk. III FTW!), FC Vol. 3 (Be2C FTW!) and TC Vol. 2 (BoBp map, Bagration?) or a map-release policy (which I would like but is probably unprofitable), my suggested forecast for the next major BoX post-1918 would be in order of likelihood:
– New EF theatre
Might not be what would be ideal, but is probably most achievable while keeping numbers in the black.
in my opinion they should focus on the four-engine B-17, B-24 and Avro Lancaster soon after completing Normandy. this will enable a large kind of missions, such as attacking and escorting the bombers formations. The 4-engine bombers will be only avaiable in IA initially.
You mean AI?
It’s possible that we’ll see some AI only heavy bombers at some point. Perhaps some of them would become flyable. I’m not sure if its a good business model though.
Burma would make a good stepping stone to the Pacific theatre. A fresh fleet of Japanese aircraft would be needed, but no new allied aircraft would be needed (nor carriers). It would also offer some interesting skins.
Terrain would be nicely lumpy, but perhaps too sparse for short missions. On the other hand you could have a big map that would be relatively quick to develop.
Main problem might be lack of new allied aircraft to attract buyers.
I suspect that the argument for any Pacific-oriented BoX would be ‘do properly or go home’. Neither Singapore nor Burma has the cache, the interest or the potential revenue but both incur the Japanese aircraft issue.
Pacific, I reckon, would be Solomons as the risk-mitigating start, but Okinawa is possible. Both have their problems. Midway struck me as having all of the problems and less interest / flexibility.
Lacking something spectacular – like CV operations – a half-baked minor campaign with the issues of Japanese sources but lacking the excitement of F4Us would be a non-starter.
As such – but barring something major behind the curtain – Pacific seems a stretch.
I said it here before, but – as a hungarian – my dream is “Battle of Budapest”. It is perfect for late war Eastern front. The terrian is diverse with big landmarks (like lake Balaton). There were huge tank battles on the ground, and in the air both soviets and americans were active. Also as this was the path of the retreating southern army group route, it is the continuation of the Stlaingrad, Kuban career line…
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pacific would be my child dream but korea would be very interesting but im still looking for an completed flying circus serie
I hope they do a full flying circus serie with even mayve 4 volume with early ww1 for ww2 i would like pacific war for sure it a child dream for me but korea is a very interesting idea future of flight sim is Bright
Good analysis, as usual.
And as usual, I disagree that Pacific theatre is “impossible” or would be unprofitable.
A. with modern simulation tech, many gaps in performance of Japanese aircraft can be credibly interpolated when combined with the substantial body of information that IS available.
And let’s not forget that (for very good gameplay reasons), MUCH of IL2’s aircraft performance/tech are simplified/standardized (which is blatantly obvious on takeoff, landing & taxiing).
So, these are not “study level” re-creations a la A2A Sims, etc.
B. Since we know without a doubt that an Allied plane set is “easily” attainable, 1CGS could take the step of making the Japanese plane set either more AI, or simply stating that they’re modeled as accurately as can be. I have complete faith that their “inaccurate” Japanese aircraft would be more than good enough, under the circumstances.
I would happily buy such a product, whereas I’m honestly weary of the prospect of yet another ETO edition. Since the environment and missions are largely identical, and most of the planes are just iterations of what we’ve already got, it’s coming down to how much I want the 2 – 3 truly different planes in the lineup. Which makes the $80 value proposition much weaker…
Would a Ta-152 be nice? Sure. But not nearly as nice as Wildcat, Hellcat, or Corsair flown off aircraft carriers over tropical maps.
So if there’s enough info for a Zero, include it! And then adjust the specific game offering enough to match the reality of the what’s possible.
p.s.: In the same vein, Korea would be an insta-buy.
To be clear, I don’t think the Pacific scenario is either impossible or unprofitable. But I do think we should acknowledge the challenges.
I don’t know if the issues that 1CGS are having would be solved by say running some computer driven analysis (something this is expensive from what I hear) but that could offer a way out in some areas.
Pacific Fighters was IL-2’s most popular sales vehicle so as far as profitability goes… the Pacific is definitely a top contender.
If they could pull off the Pacific, heavy bombers, and more aircraft present in the missions then they (and we) would be set for life. It feels like they’re running out of low-hanging fruit and will need to come up with something major before too much longer.
I’d love it if Flying Circus eventually had the aircraft range and career mode equal to the original Red Baron.
If they wanted to do something totally off the wall then Greece/Albania 1940/41 fits the bill perfectly, and there are enough unique aircraft to make three complete sets plus collectors, some of which fit other scenarios too.
Greece: Gladiator I/II, PZL. P.24, Fairey Battle, Blenheim IV.
Italy: Fiat CR.42, Fiat G.50bis, Ju87B/R, Savoia S.79.
RAF: Hurricane I, Fairey Swordfish, Blenheim I/IF, Wellington.
Collectors, choose from: Bloch MB151, Henschel Hs126, Macchi MC.200, Fiat Ro37bis, Fiat BR.20, Dornier Do17Z, Cant Z.1007bis.
And floatplanes, oh please lets have torpedoes and floatplanes, no point in any sea map without them.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’d personally love it but I know from experience that a lot of folks do find challenge with some of these lesser known battles. It has to strike just the right chord.
But I’d love that kind of unique setup myself!
This is what ought to be done
1 : Seelow Heights
2 : Ploesti
3 : Malta
4 : Marianas
5 : Saipan
6 : Guadalcanal
7 : Braunschweig
4: Yak 9U
5 : Yak 3
6 : King Cobra
7 : FW: 190 D14
8 : TA 152
Boeing P-26 Peashooter. …
Brewster F2A (Buffalo) …
Bristol Beaufighter. …
CAC Boomerang. …
Curtiss P-36 Hawk (Hawk 75/Mohawk)
1943 Fairey Firefly
1940 Fairey Fulmar
1936 Grumman F3F
1940 Grumman F4F Wildcat
1943 Grumman F6F Hellcat
1937 Hawker Hurricane
1943 Kawanishi N1K-J
1945 Kawasaki Ki-100
1944 Kawasaki Ki-102 (Randy)
1944 Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu
1942 Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (Nick)
1943 Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony)
1937 Mitsubishi A5M (Claude)
1940 Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen (Zero)
1942 Mitsubishi J2M Raiden
1942 Nakajima A6M2-N (Rufe)
1942 Nakajima J1N1
1937 Nakajima Ki-27 (Nate)
1942 Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Oscar)
1941 Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Tojo)
1944 Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Frank)
Did you leave anything off the list Luke? 🙂
Lots of favourites in there. We’ll see what happens.
I really think Korea era would be ideal right now. A good mix of planes with props out-turning jets and the jets going vertical and storming back down launching terrible early weapons. That or go hard on the WWII pacific war. On that point, I have a theory that designers are afraid to represent Japanese the bad guy when in reality they were 10 x more horrific to the conquered than even the terrible nazis. Be honest and let’s start firing those cannons.
This is the most American post I have ever read
Ploesti? Interesting choice.
You forgot the Battle of Barking Creek
‘The planes were to fly from airfields near Benghazi, Libya. They were to cross the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea, pass near the island of Corfu, cross over the Pindus Mountains in Albania, cross southern Yugoslavia, enter southwestern Romania, and turn east toward Ploiești. Reaching Ploiești, they were to locate pre-determined checkpoints, approach their targets from the north, and strike all targets simultaneously.’
That would be one humdinger of a map! You’d have my Greece/Albania area included as a bonus. I’d love it, but not many others would like the flight time.
Something I personally would love would be the invasion of the Benelux, it’s rarely ever covered by any game, and it does have some interesting planes, like the Fokker G.1
However, I do think they would fit better as collector planes, because we already have the Bodenplatte map.
Something with strategic bombers as someone mentioned before would also indeed be very interesting.
Norway might also be interesting, but not really much variation on Axis planes I think…
As much as I appreciate Team Fusions relentless dedication to the “other” IL-2, I can’t help but think that is a bit like flogging a dead horse. I would like to see the work of Team Fusion being integrated into the Great Battles series if that is even possible.
Sorry, but Team Fusion knows nothing about the IL-2 Great Battles code for that to happen and the devs have no time and resources right now to train ~30 people to build flyable aircraft, maps and content for IL-2 GBs. The two game engines are completely different, in fact one has its roots in a WW1 sim the other has its roots in a WW2 sim.
This is just how it’s going to be. Personally I see no problem with another team of developers covering the MTO while the devs do the late war, Eastern front and PTO.
I dunno about that. Flight models and maps is information that is independent of game engines. Sure, it would be a lot of work, but it would be far cry from starting from scratch if most of those parameter were available.
Some Pacific War and Italy would be great. Still, I’d go for a Winter War / Siege of Leningrad map that’d cover a large span of time with some maritime operation. With a lot of planes already existing, it’d also allow for the introduction of more exotic planes (I-153, Pe-3, Tu-2, etc, just to name a few Soviet ones) + the whole ecclectic Finnish OoB.
I’d also be interested in some (paid?) upgrade to the early maps (Moscow, Stalingrad) which often feel rather dull. A few church bulbs, monasteries and large collective farms would go a long way in making the Motherland worth dying for.
TC also still feels very much a beta. I wouldn’t be interested in a new iteration unless it added things like trenches, mines & obstacles… Not to mention infantry – is this still something they intend to introduce ?
I think we’re all in for a big surprise and the developers will announce they’re starting on some aspect of the Pacific Theater.