In two days, 1C Game Studios will be hosting a live stream featuring Albert Zhiltsov (Loft) and Daniil Tuseev (Han). We don’t know much about the stream except that they will be doing back to back streams in both English and Russian. Presumably the future of the series will be discussed and we may even have some product announcements at that time. Here are some thoughts about the upcoming stream and where things might be going in the future for the Great Battles series.
What we know
Over the years I’ve written my share of speculative articles about the future of the IL-2 series. Reading between the lines of developer comments I’ve had an ok-ish track record of guessing roughly where things would be going next. That said, I’ve been surprised in a good number of instances too so my credibility as some sort of oracle is probably low. That doesn’t mean that I can’t look what we know and hope for things on my own wish list.
First, lets start off with summarizing what we’ve learned by statements made both as recent as a few days ago and some from several weeks back. From that, we know the following things:
- There will be piston engine (i.e. propeller) airplanes.
- The map will not have a massive urban area on it.
- It will be something new.
- It will not be the Pacific.
- The team is expanding by 1.5 times its current size.
We also know that there has been something of a shakeup within the organization around this sim with Executive Producer, Jason Williams, having announced that he has left the team and Andrey Solomykin (An.Petrovich) having announced a departure a short while before that.
Taking stock of change
I have to admit that I’m more apprehensive about what’s happening with the series than I have been in quite some time. Judging by the comments section recently, I suspect that so are many of you.
Two high profile departures and a shakeup definitely mean that things are changing for 1C Game Studios. World events aren’t making it easy to feel reassured either.
Over the last three main product cycles we have seen the series mature and come into its own. It’s consigned to ancient history (in software terms) but if we think back to a few years ago we would remember that this series didn’t start with VR, or with the ability to display terrain out to the horizon, or show 4K textures, or even have DX11 support. Nor did the series launch with Scripted Campaigns, a proper Career mode, much less any of the other advances that we’ve seen both big and small.
I’m mostly happy with where the series has ended up and that means that I do hope that it will continue to improve. A change of leadership can mean a change in direction and so I and many of you are articulating that concern in different ways.
Do I think we’ll see some sort of regression? I hope not and I don’t necessarily think that it will. But the fear? Yeah the fear is there. And so I do hope that we hear from 1CGS about where things stand now and what we can expect into the future not just in terms of product but in terms of philosophy for the series.
What I hope is next?
My hopes for a return to the Western Front have, over the last few years, been nearly fully realized minus inserting a few more bombers. There’s really little else I could ask for in that area having been a long time fan of that late 1943 through 1945 time period from an aviation history perspective. But now that it has been realized, I am ready for something different but also something that still feels like it belongs in the current mix.
I already know this isn’t the answer but I really wish that the series was doing the Pacific in some capacity as its next thing. It won’t be (Han confirmed that) but that’s what I’d love to see next. I didn’t necessarily even need aircraft carriers as I’ve long studied the jungle battles of New Guinea and the island hopping up the Solomons. Alas, those are not what’s next.
So, what I hope then to see is the series to continuing to build on its strengths but also attempting to push beyond them just a bit. I’d love to see the Mediterranean theatre with a mix of fighters, fighter-bombers, and a side product that included a significant heavy bomber. Tank Crew but in the air so to speak. That’d really be an interesting place to go.
Speaking of Tank Crew, I’d love to see a follow-up sequel. Set on the Western Front and mixing in a variety of tanks from that part of the war and a specialized map, perhaps set around the Battle of the Bulge (an area of the Bodenplatte map that isn’t well realized), and featuring enough space for some fighter-bomber operations. That’d be terrific!
Another hope? I really hope that the team continues the vision for Flying Circus and offers up a Vol 3 with the inclusion of ten more Rise of Flight aircraft with a focus on some earlier airplanes. The 1917-1918 time period is now well done so a 1916-17 focused volume would be great.
I’m not sure if we’ll see some or any of these but absent any other information I’m going with my hopes. Might we see a return to the Eastern Front? I think its possible and maybe even likely and while it wouldn’t be my first choice, if it was presented in the same compelling way that we’ve seen Bodenplatte and Normandy, then I think it could be a fun expansion too.
The exact times are still to be confirmed but keep an eye on the 1CGS announcement section of the forums for the details as they come out closer to the stream. The English stream is tentatively scheduled for 10-11 am Central Time (North America).
I will be listening in and reporting on the stream as soon as I’m able to. It unfortunately comes on a very busy day for me and so you may see a delay in my reporting on it. I will have news and possibly a reaction piece coming up as soon as I have time to so stay tuned for that too!