Announced late in 2019, IL-2: Battle of Normandy has now been in the flight sim community consciousness for about 2-years and 5-months now. It wasn’t until July 2020 when the first piece of Normandy content became available with the release of the P-47D-22 in Update 4.008. Needless to say, Battle of Normandy has been in development for a little while and I’ve seen a few more anxious posts on the forums recently about when it will release. Let’s have a look at what we have, what’s still to come, and get a sense of where this project is at.
We already have most of Battle of Normandy
When it comes to the aircraft, we already have most of the aircraft line-up become available to us. The P-47D-22 started us off and since then we’ve seen the series add the FW190A-6, Bf109G-6 Late, Spitfire Mark XIV, Typhoon Mark IB, P-51B, and Ju88C-6. All of these aircraft have found themselves worked into the Career modes for other titles in the series (typically Battle of Bodenplatte but some have added to the Stalingrad and Kuban campaigns too) and of course we’ve seen them widely available in multiplayer too.
Three more flyable aircraft remain including the Mosquito FB.VI, Ar234, and Me410. Two AI piloted aircraft are also on the roster: the B-26 and V-1. The aircraft together with a few other essential and big elements will make Battle of Normandy come together as a product: the map and the career.
While we know what the career looks like across a wide variety of scenarios, we haven’t seen much of the Normandy map for quite some time we did see some good looking shots . Maps for IL-2 (and other sims) are one of those things where it takes ages to come together before it finally shifts into place.
A map is one thing but the assets on the map are important too. Another update showed off new hangars, bunkers for the important Atlantic Wall fortifications, and Stonehenge.
Important landmarks were also part of the creation process and we got a good look at those many months ago too.
And if airplanes, landmarks, hangars, and other points of interest on a map aren’t enough we also have to consider some of the other vehicles that help to make this believable.
Most or all of these items have all been delivered and some of them have been silently hanging out in your multiplayer and single player scenarios. Observed by some and unobserved by others. And as time passes all of these fade into the vast kaleidoscope that is the IL-2 Great Battles Series until we forget exactly when they arrived. Nonetheless, all of these are part of this development cycle and have added to the overall experience.
Is it still on schedule?
While it’s great that we have a lot of content already here, the other side of the coin is that Normandy is not yet fully delivered. Is this project on schedule? For that I turn to two recent statements by IL-2 series Executive Producer Jason Williams.
First, we have a statement he made back in September of last year. Part of a bigger message, I wanted to focus in on one piece of the statement.
The fact is that we have until June 2022 to complete Battle of Normandy or our ability to make any further products will be jeopardized. The era of Covid has wrought havoc on our schedule, our team and our vision of what we can accomplish.Jason Williams
Battle of Normandy, as you may remember from the top, was announced in late 2019 as we all optimistically stepped into 2020 and a new decade I think we were all very hopeful for what a new decade would offer. I know I was. By February and March it was clear that we were in for a much rougher time and I can say from personal experience that the events of the last couple of years has disrupted my professional world significantly – its no surprise to me that Battle of Normandy faced the same challenge.
Responding to a thread earlier this week, I turn again to some interesting comments by Jason on the plan for Normandy.
Although certain models have been behind schedule, the overall plan is on schedule and if it slips, it won’t be very long. We always planned for 2.5 years for Normandy. It’s our most ambitious and potentially troublesome product we’ve ever taken on. COVID slowed us down, delays with contractors which are out of our control and now the damn war has lost us two people. We’re trying to hire more people and regroup for the next one. And we’re not just working on Normandy, we’re also working on FC2.Jason Williams
Realities of the development of this chapter of the Great Battles Series has been affected by real world events. The pandemic and now the invasion of Ukraine, have, by Jason’s statement, affected the team. I’m sure that’s no small surprise to anyone.
Staying focused on the simulation side of things, Battle of Normandy appears to have pressed on. And not only that but also Flying Circus Vol 2 which has just one aircraft remaining on its aircraft line-up as well as its all important map and career mode. We also have the C-47, IAR-80/81, StuG III, and Churchill Mark IV tanks coming.
While clouds of uncertainty hang over everything these days, it looks like Battle of Normandy is more or less on track to meet its planned timeline. As always, I’ll be following the development closely. June 2022 will be here before too long!
5 Comments Add yours
To be honest my only “worry” is performance. The game engine currently struggles a lot when multiple AI units are active and doesn’t seem to take advantage of the CPU overhead available leading to the well-known time-dilation effect. Despite the expansion being focused on the situation post-invasion it still needs to show a lot of activity in order to provide a believable experience of any sorts. If any of the newer/more detailed scripted campaigns (like Steel Birds) are a benchmark then I’m afraid the game engine at its current state won’t cut it.
So, hopefully the release of BoN also comes hand-in-hand with some much needed revamp in that department otherwise I fear it won’t allow the content to shine and that would be a pity.
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I’m very excited about what’s coming. I am very appreciative of the immersion that IL-2 has to offer. Best simulator I have ever experienced (VR flyer). -CG-
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I wish them all the best and that they catch some luck. Sometimes I hope that that they would have the map as the mid-way point as to me it enlivens the new aircraft, but I understand why it is usually last.
I have a feeling that Normandy is the last under the current engine and that they need to move onward / upwards before contemplating a new title.
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The only surprise to me is the fact that under these unfavourable conditions the Dev teams are still capable to deliver anything. Even without COVID abd other setbacks what they accomplished these last 2 years would be outstanding, but taking everything into account it is simply incredible what was done !
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