An update on the DCS: F-4 Phantom

Heatblur have been very quiet about the DCS: F-4 Phantom. This has been by design as Heatblur CEO Nicholas Dackard aka Cobra8472, has said a few times in public that the team wouldn’t be showing off too much until they were close to release. I would imagine that Heatblur’s excellent PR machine would kick into high gear when the time comes. With a release date originally intended for 2022, many of you may be wondering where Heatblur and the DCS: F-4 Phantom is at as we head into the last 8-weeks of 2022. Fortunately, we have a little update that you might want to read so let’s have a look!

Phantom in progress

For some DCS World fans, the F-4 Phantom has long been on the wishlist and the news that Heatblur was doing it was an instant hit for nearly everyone. Their excellent work on the AJS-37 and F-14 Tomcat have put Heatblur up at the forefront of DCS World module development. With very little news on the development to go by, any news is big news for this module and we do have some.

Responding to a question on the r/Hoggit Reddit group, Cobra 8472 had quite a bit to say about how the project has been going and some of the unexpected challenges that have impacted the team over the last several months.

Here’s what was said:

Release dates and our timelines are frequently memed here; sometimes for good reason, but we made our 2022 announcement with extreme confidence at the start of the year. This was based in having already spent a year developing the Phantom and growing our team into a full-time, professional outfit. We’re spending a lot of money developing our DCS modules, past and present currently and no-one wants to release our next flagship earlier than me, trust me on that. 🙂

No measure of good planning could have predicted a huge chunk of our art production manpower to disappear overnight due to Russia invading Ukraine, and that I would be out of action for two months due to a family tragedy. To say it’s been a tough and outright chaotic year is an understatement and a half. We’ve increased spending significantly and hired more people than planned this year to make up for lost time, but even at a full sprint and standing on the gaspedal only gets you so far. A benefit to this is of course that we’ll be better equipped to tackle future challenges.

Apologies for the “non-answer” as to a specific timeline update, the situation remains dynamic enough for me to avoid offering a public committal. We’re burning the candle at both ends to revert to the intended timeline. The power grid situation in Ukraine just this week is yet another factor that just popped up, uncertainty is ever-present currently.

To offer some detail on the Phantom itself- it’s that we are working to make DCS: F-4E a step up in every way. We’re going deeper and more detailed than we have ever done before, across both core and base systems (hyd, electrical, etc.) all the way to the frontend (Radar, JESTER v2, etc.). For our next slew of aircraft we’ve developed our “NextGen” core- which completely revamped every single part of our codebase and we’re developing to a diligence and detail that is quite novel. We want to go beyond the F-14 and further ourselves and our products as much as economically feasible.

Overall, and most importantly, thank you for the interest and being excited though.

No matter how tough this year has been- getting a legendary module of a legendary aircraft in your hands is all the motivation we need to power through.

Cobra8472

At the moment, if you go on the Heatblur Public Roadmap Trello page, DCS: F-4E is still listed under 2022 so its a possibility but with just eight weeks to go, it does feel like a stretch to me. That may be overly pessimistic but after years of watching DCS module releases and paying close attention to groups like Heatblur, this is a project that probably won’t see a release until it’s feeling good. DCS: F-14 saw lots of post release development but it was already feeling really good even on day one which was impressive to say the least.

My read of the situation is that Heatblur are working very hard to hit their goal of a 2022 release but a lot of unexpected issues are making that a challenge. Although Cobra doesn’t want to offer a date, I would say that it’s probably a safe bet to say that DCS: F-4 Phantom might not make a 2022 release but it could see an early 2023 release – and that’s ok.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. CanadaOne says:

    I might be one of the few who’s not all hot and sweaty for the F-4, but for sure Heatblur will do a good job of it. I’ll wait for a free trial and a sale, like I did with the Tomcat.

    I want the F-15E! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bluedoppler says:

      I’m not a fan of the flying brick that is the F-4. Heatblur does such an amazing job with their modules though. I know it’ll be fantasticly detailed and have follow-on support for years to come. It’ll be tempting to pick up once it’s finally released.

      Like

    2. bluedoppler says:

      I’m not a fan of the flying brick that is the F-4. Heatblur does such an amazing job with their modules though. I know it’ll be fantasticly detailed and have follow-on support for years to come. It’ll be tempting to pick up once it’s finally released simply because of the company making it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        That’s for sure! Heatblur does great work!

        Like

  2. Robert Haynes says:

    I don’t like reading comments about them burning the candle at both ends. Don’t crush your people, the world is hard enough, and my cash will be waiting when it comes out!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. schurem says:

    This stupid war 😦 Things were so good in the 2010s with the Russians and the west. Why all the hate and fear? I wish we could have peace and make nice things together again..

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It definitely sucks. Hopefully there will be better times ahead!

      Like

  4. Urgent Siesta says:

    The tough thing for HeatBlur is that given their excellent track record, they practically have to release a “perfect” module. Especially one representing the F-4!

    I’m not jazzed for the F-4, but I AM super-jazzed that it’s coming from HB – AND True Grit’s Gero.

    And it’s news to me, but the fact they’re using it to develop a next-gen coding *platform* makes it even more enticing!

    Those last two items are the primary reasons I’ll be getting it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      They do have some big shoes to fill each time they release something. We’ll see how the F-4 turns out but I know it will be great in the fullness of time!

      Like

  5. BalticDude says:

    It will NOT be an early 2023 release, we all can be 110% sure of that LMAO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Am I being too optimistic again? ☺️

      Like

  6. Gretsch_Man says:

    The Phantom will be a day-one purchase for me, especially since HB is in charge of making it.

    I also believe that an early 2023 release is way too optimistic. I guess a summer/autumn 2023 release is more likely/realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Blue 5 says:

    I will buy it because:
    a) It is awesome
    b) HB have done a great job so far
    c) The open and transparent comms. give me great confidence that it will work / see rapid updates.

    All my BoX money is now invested on DCS.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. boxcarleader says:

    I cant wait for a fleshed out Cold War/ Vietnam era multiplayer experience. For me its that happy place were a lot of the world powers aircraft were close in performance and tech but different enough in design methodology that they are quaintly equine. Any words on the A-1 sky raider sham … work for USPS so hard to keep up on news with the hours

    Like

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