The Korean war for the next gen IL-2? I have thoughts!

Since the live stream a few days ago I’ve been trying to put different pieces of this puzzle that we have together. Thanks to some of my regular readers (shoutout to Blue 5), I have really come around to the idea that the next in the series might be a jump forward to the Korean War. It’s an idea that’s been floating around for a long time and I have some thoughts on how this could work.

New technology, new time period, similar gameplay

Everything you read here right now is pure speculation. I could be guessing wrong on the clues that we have but there was just too much here for me not to feel compelled the write about it.

First, I sometimes think back to an early IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad live stream in the early days of the project circa 2013. A question was asked about an eventual Korean War combat flight sim title. The reply was unusually enthusiastic about interest on the team of eventually simulating the aircraft of that conflict. Interest by the development team is a good place to start.

From there many of us have put together some of the pieces to this puzzle based on recent comments. No large urban areas, interesting scenery, piston engine aircraft (perhaps mentioned almost as a reassurance that they’d still be present), and a conflict where tactical air power was used extensively.

Although it very much sounds like new technologies will be key to this new sim I also think that the gameplay that IL-2 has, the focus on tactical air wars, is probably the “fun” part that draws many in. Large bombers and the like still remain an interest of course but for many its the low altitude dogfights, strafing runs, dodging tracers and trees in sometimes equal amounts that still appeal. I can’t see the series diverging from that too much.

All of this makes a potential Korean air war simulation more and more likely in my head.

Some of the aircraft

I’m not going to get too hung up on the exact composition of the aircraft set, however, there are some obvious aircraft to include that make this all make even more sense.

For the UN forces, the majority of which were American, you have some very obvious types. The F-51D, F4U Corsair, A-1 Skyraider were very much the pinnacle of WWII era piston engine types and thus satisfying that requirement. The F-80 Shooting Star was a key type early on with it being increasingly used in the fighter-bomber role. The F-86 Sabre needs no introduction. F-84 proved unsuitable as a fighter but performed well as a fighter bomber. When it comes to bombers, it was the B-26 Invader (renamed A-26 from WWII) that performed the role for much of the war. And yes, the B-29 Superfortress, which I can’t see being a flyable airplane but perhaps suitable for an AI-only entrant? I hear the boos from the bomber crowd already… I’m sorry.

Commonwealth types were also involved including the RAAF’s Meteors which were used first as fighters and then later as fighter-bombers. There were carrier borne types as well but I’m going to skip them for now.

Opposing them we also have types like the Yak-9P and IL-10 that formed the core of the North Korean air force early on. The MiG-15 was then deployed leading to classic Sabre vs MiG scenario that many combat sim pilots would enjoy. The Tu-2 bomber also played a minor role and the U-2/Po-2 had its place as a night attacker too.

This, to me, would be a very fun setup and one with a good variety of opportunities for combat flying. One of the things that the IL-2 series has done reasonably well is not only offering fighters (although they are the majority) but also offering other roles. We do have a few bombers and a good number of attacker types and this set has that too.

And, because a little bit of symmetry and connection is important, this title would still have a classic Ilyushin attack airplane with the IL-10.

More fidelity, fewer planes?

Whatever business model 1CGS chooses to follow, it may no longer be possible for a 10 airplane product. If the details keep being pushed then inevitably we creep towards DCS module levels of detail and that means pricier individual modules or packages of aircraft.

Something has to give and recreating the current WWII aircraft set at a higher level of fidelity sounds like a frustrating experience to go through yet again for many long term fans. I can’t rule it out of course but if we were offered a fundamentally different scenario it would allow for a clearer delineation between the products while also offering a scenario where smaller numbers of aircraft could still provide for a compelling experience.

Beyond that, I could see more releases gradually filling out the set to include more beyond a core few. A process that could take years to complete but that would be eminently more achievable in a Korean War scenario than in the dozens of different scenarios that World War II offers up.

This could be the way of things for the future.

Still not conclusive

I could be wrong about all of this but I have a hunch that this may be the direction that they go. It would help that Great Battles may very well stick around for quite a while yet and recreating WWII in the new sim engine may not be something that the team would be eager to do. So, instead of doing that, going to another similar yet different scenario would create something unique and new and let the old title continue to live.

We’ll see but I had to write it down while it was rolling around in my head.

37 Comments Add yours

  1. TENGU says:

    I’ve always wanted a professionally made Korean War sim. I have hopes that DCS will eventually get around to doing one, but you know, the more I hear this being tossed around as being where IL2 is going, the more compelling it gets.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Exactly my thoughts!

      Like

  2. Group Capt Lionel Mandrake says:

    I love the way that the IL2 team developed their products vs DCS. I cannot however stand having a mission key binds instead of being able to just click a switch. I will gladly switch away from DCS if the cockpits are clickable.

    Like

  3. Ripper says:

    I love the way that the IL2 team developed their products vs DCS. I cannot however stand having a mission key binds instead of being able to just click a switch. I will gladly switch away from DCS if the cockpits are clickable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      If they are indeed making a break from Great Battles, let’s hope that clickable cockpits are part of the next step.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Novice-Flyer says:

        Jason stated a few months back that for them to even attempt to add clickable cockpits at this point would be a fools errand. If they wanted to do clickpiys then during development of BoS is when they would have been added.

        Like

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Yep, I read the post. I talked to him in person about it at FSExpo in 2019 too. The issue would be going back and updating all of the aircraft.

        If this is clean break, all bets are off.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I./JG1_Baron says:

    Personally, I think that the next scenario from the eastern front and especially Korea will be a disappointment for most virtual pilots. Most of them are focused on WW1 and WW2. The most expected scenario is from the PTO, closely followed by the MTO or the African battlefield. It must be said, however, that with the departure of Williams, the development team became practically exclusively Russian (which I do not consider a harm or a minus), and I would not be surprised if one of the other parts was e.g. Kursk, Barbarossa, Leningrad and other scenarios. By the way, the Barbarossa scenario is noticeably missing from the series (personal opinion).
    Regarding Korea: I don’t think that the aircraft plane set would be complete without the B-29, or B-50. I agree that there would be interesting types from La-11 through, IL-10, Mig-15, Meteor, etc., but I’m afraid that the community would not accept this scenario. Now.
    There is speculation about all sorts of things, Burma is probably the most frequently discussed topic on the forum. If it were Burma, the community’s expectations would be at least partially fulfilled without the need for aircraft carriers.

    It must be said that from our side these are all just assumptions based on very vague statements from the developers. We will see what they will actually present as the next part of GB.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blue 5 says:

      Well. Pacific seems to be off the table. Barbarossa is possible but a bit bland and does not really tick the hinted at boxes. CBI would be pretty dull for a flight sim and has zero (pun!) name recognition.

      For Korea an initial AI B-29 would be good (maybe an add-on) but I really cannot understand the wish to fly a heavy bomber, especially in SP. What do you do?

      As you said, the team now seems to be Russian-dominated. A scenario without Russian aircraft strikes me as unlikely. EF, yes, but lacks bite. Mig-15s kicking ass strikes me more of the current atmosphere.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Blue 5 says:

    I apologize in advance if I have led people a merry dance / raised hopes, but I do think it makes the most sense (not that life has to make sense). It could also be an opportunity to test a CV module: not core to the war but an interesting addition that could provide useful experience for a subsequent Pacific edition.

    I was wondering about a 5 vs. 5 line-up, though I agree that might prove difficult as the complexity increases. UN is easy (Sea Fury collector’s aircraft as well?) but the Red trickier. Quick check suggests that the Il-28 Beagle was operational in the war though not in great numbers and primarily for recce. Still, that would be great fun!

    So my forecast (really pushing it now)/

    – F-51 vs. Yak-9
    – A-1 vs. Il-10
    – B-26 vs. Tu-2
    – P-80 vs. Il-28
    – F-86 vs. Mig-15

    That gives a nice spread and lots of data on the aircraft for the purposes of modeling. Maybe a premium edition gets the Meteor but a Po-2 might not be a great seller. Or would be, not sure.

    I think tha the team is making a mistake in failing to offer more info on this.

    Now I’ll shut up 🤫

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ian says:

    Yeah I think Korean war is very likely. The “there will be piston engined aircraft” statement implies jet aircraft also for sure. Korean war is unique (ish?) in having lots of both. This reminded me of “Mig Alley” which came out I think in the late 90s. Googled some screenshots and was surprised at how primitive it looked compared to how I remembered original IL2 a couple of years later, surprised, that is, until I googled screenshots of the later – wow graphics have come a long way in the last 20 years! Also, lets not forget the mighty Hawker Sea Fury as a likely flyable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Blue 5 says:

      I remember MiG Alley! Was one of my first sims. It had trainer aircraft with an instructor in the back seat, and if you turned around to look at him he said something like: ‘Eyes front, comrade’

      Liked by 2 people

  7. BlueHeron says:

    Project Galba reincarnate would be very exciting. (Let’s see who remembers that one 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s an obscure reference but yes I do vaguely recall that coming up.

      Like

  8. Urgent Siesta says:

    One can only pray that you’re right!

    Personally, I DON’T want them to increase the complexity of the aircraft. The current setup is one of the main things I enjoy about the series: being able to operate any given aircraft with the same muscle memory.
    And yeah, I like Flaming Cliffs 3, too 😉

    Anyhow, I’ve said many times that for me, the ETO is done to death, and I’d be completely unmotivated to buy another edition based there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I too hope that they can find a good middle ground on this. As it is, having flown the DCS: F-86, it’s actually not that much more complex than an IL-2 warbird. Except for the startup which could still optionally be automatic. That’s what I do in DCS already.

      It’s all possible!

      Like

  9. Firdimigdi says:

    IMO the one major thing against the next module being the Korean War is the current political climate. It’s not a safe project subject to take on for a studio operating out of Moscow.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s an interesting point. I’m not sure how it would be seen, that’s true, but I think these sorts of things hang on a bit of a pointed edge.

      Plus it may be years before release. At which point we may have a different situation at play. That’s well beyond the range of my crystal ball.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Firdimigdi says:

        Yeah, just proposing what seems like a plausible counterargument. No one knows how things will be when it’s released but for sure it will attract attention way before that. Of course I might simply be projecting my own perception of how volatile a subject it would be currently.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Hey, perfectly valid and logical argument to make. None of us can see the future on this.

        Like

    2. Blue 5 says:

      I totally get your point, but I was thinking maybe the opposite. It is so long ago and the world was so different that – WW2 aside – for this we can chill somewhat about the politics. Yes, bit awkward with Russia, China and N. Korea but the market in the first 2 countries is big and everyone can agree it was a draw and not get too nationalistic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Firdimigdi says:

        It was what led to a rift between China and the USSR at the time plus there was never formal acknowledgment of Soviet involvement in the conflict. Both are thin ice to tread on with the current Russian govt which not only doesn’t consider it that long ago but also pines for much older times of glory and resents what it considers to be Soviet mistakes. Also how it’s presented heavily influences the possibility of selling the product in China, Korea and Japan. All of which, particularly China, are markets one cannot exclude a game from.

        Anyhow, we’ll find out in due time. I for one will remain interested either way.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Simfan says:

    I already have the F-86 and F-15 from DCS. What we are missing in DCS is of course the map (and other planes of course). Korean War scenario would be great but I personally have my doubts this is where they will go.

    Like

  11. Simfan says:

    Sorry, I meant Mig-15, not F-15.

    Like

  12. Raptorattacker says:

    Personally (and even as a sort of ‘sign-off’) I would love to see something like Karelia (The Winter War) or similar in the ‘transition’. It would certainly pave the way for a lot of eaaarlier planes/incarnations… There would be lots of opportunities for machines that we haven’t yet seen without doing yet another rolling out of too many variations on ones we already have.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Gretsch_Man says:

    Korea sounds like fun to me. I sure have quite some fond memories of Mig Alley from Rowan Software in the late 90s.

    But right now I’m more curious about the new business model. If I’m not mistaken, 1CGS said they want to enlarge their team by at least 50%. For a company that’s huge and a clear sign that they expect a substantial revenue increase in return. I wonder what they are planning to do to achieve that goal.

    Like

    1. Blue 5 says:

      That is an open question. A few more collector’s aircraft bring them some Shekels but it sounds like insufficient to fund their ambitions. Maybe they have a generous backer.

      Dunno.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        We know there were changes with 1C with the acquisition by Tencent. We were told that 1CGS was not directly affected by that deal but there must be more money flowing if the team is expanding by 1.5 times as Han was telling us.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Percy Danvers says:

    I really hope it’s not Korea, at least not at the expense of Great Battles.

    If IL-2 bows out of WWII content, those of us who enjoy that stuff will have… nothing at all to look forward to. DCS WWII exists and I am an enthusiastic supporter of it of course, but, good as they are, the warbird modules are just too few to be any real substitute for IL-2, at least for a very long time.

    Really I just want more Great Battles. I don’t care how old the graphics are. I still play 1946.

    Like

  15. scottgridley says:

    I’d love to see this happen, my dad was a Korean War veteran and the history is still fascinating to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yeah I love the intersection of aviation and history and this would be another great example of it if they go this way.

      Like

  16. Dennis Nedry says:

    I’ve convinced myself its going to be WW2 China.

    Like

  17. Jonathon Coughlin says:

    Helicopters or GTFO

    Like

  18. Any infos on who owns the company and how much the studio in Moscow is influenced by the “political climate”? I guess that has an influence on the scenario decision of the next big thing. Last time I looked 1C:GS was owned by Boris Nuraliew (sanctioned by EU), a Russian billionaire, founder and president of the 1C group. He owns 65% of the shares in the Russian company 1C Joint Stock Venture, which owns 100% of the shares in the Cypriot company 1C Ltd.

    https://www.gov.pl/web/mswia/lista-osob-i-podmiotow-objetych-sankcjami

    Like

  19. Huckle says:

    If this was the case, it would be the best flight sim news I’ve had since Heatblur announced the Tomcat. I’ll throw money at a Korean War theatre, even if it doesn’t have carriers (or helicopters, which would be amazing).

    I really liked Rowan’s MiG Alley, even though it was buggy as hell on my setup, and have been waiting for something similar since. I remember Project Galba,and was pretty disappointed that RRG never got it off the ground. The DCS Sabre/MiG-15 are nicely modelled but the AI has a UFO flight model so it’s a struggle offline. Really hoping you’re correct – who knows, if it all works out, they could push on into Vietnam…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi guys says:

    It’s a bit fuzzy clip Han did made about whether game future. But increasing the labour means that there are going to make a specific big step and I think it’s not related to a new theater of war but more a new game engine. The reason why they are a bit unclear could be that this new game engine brings a fly sim that is not compatible with BoX/FC/Tank game and we all knows how sensitive that move is when spending hundreds of Euro’s (RoF —> BoS).
    Jason did explain that it was very complex to make the pacific theater, I think that has more to do with the limits of this old game engine.

    What I did like was the open mind about mods, I know Jason was always a bit skeptical about modders and their mod quality. Who knows if a new game engine will be introduced and BoX will be abandoned, RoF & Box will be more open like IL2-1946.

    But it’s all from my crystal ball.

    Liked by 1 person

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