In a teaser trailer titled “Legends Never Die,” Heatblur has set the DCS World community on fire with the long requested, awaited, and anticipated F-4 Phantom for DCS World. We don’t have much information yet but here’s what we know!
This article has been updated on January 25th at 5:22 pm EST
You’ll absolutely want to watch the teaser trailer first. So, go and watch it!
What we know
Now that you’ve seen the trailer, let’s break down what we know.
Heatblur have been working on an untitled and unannounced project for some time. We learned about it from their semi-regular status updates but we didn’t know what they were doing (beyond the A-6 and the joint Eurofighter Typhoon project). Many of you guessed that the gunsight pipper from the end of the DCS World 2022 and beyond trailer was from an F-4. Some of you also guessed it might have been from Heatblur. Turns out that this was the correct guess!
The trailer and its description say some interesting things too. First, the “2022” on the trailer seems more certain than I would have expected from a DCS teaser trailer. It makes me wonder how advanced this project is and if its been silently developing for a long time now. I never rule out release date slippages in software development but I think we can surmise that Heatblur and Eagle Dynamics do currently plan to release this jet sometime over the next 11-months.
The description of the video also backs this statement up with one other tidbit.
The legendary Phantom family is coming to DCS, starting with the DCS: F-4E in 2022
I hover over the words ‘starting with’ which makes me think that Heatblur is intending to offer something in a similar vein to what we’ve seen from the F-14 where we eventually saw an A and B variant. Will we see more variants beyond the E model? It seems likely.
Of course, an F-4 Phantom from legendary developer Heatblur is going to be music to most people’s ears. Their treatment of the F-14 remains of the best flight sim modules ever to be produced and their team clearly already have the technology to handle a complex two seater fighter jet from that era so the F-4 is in many ways an extension of work that has already been done.
I’m expecting more information and details will be forthcoming soon!
Information updates (Jan 25th at 5:22 pm EST)
As expected, IronMike and Cobra8472 from Heatblur have been active with posts on community forums and with a significant Q&A update that further sheds light on this project.
First, one post from Cobra8472 on r/hoggit gives me the strong sense that this has indeed been a project that has long been in development and that the announcement today is part of the home stretch for development.
That was followed-up with an excellent Q&A that you can read fully here. In short, Heatblur is planning to offer the DCS: F-4E first with a couple of versions. One version will be an earlier variant while the other will represent a later version with the DMAS (Digital Modular Avionics System) update.
There will be, according to Heatblur, a Navy variant that will be coming as part of a separate development. It appears that Heatblur intend to release a family of aircraft and that starts with the F-4E but then represents further developments.
I have seen some questioning the version and I do think that the E model of the F-4 represents a smart move. The two versions bridge a gap between the 1960’s and the 1980’s and later which mean that this Phantom can fit in with both a Cold War crowd as well as be placed next to more modern offerings. Seeing service in abut dozen different countries, different modifications of the F-4E are still in service in Greece, Iran, South Korea, and Turkey.
More on all of this as it develops!