Coming soon from 1C Game Studios one of Russia’s premier video game studios are two new flight sims. IL-2 Sturmovik: The Battle of Stalingrad, which is a WWII flight sim and ILYA Muromets, a WWI flight sim, both dropping on the PC. Both are available on Steam via Early Access, but IL-2 is set to release this September, and ILYA Muromets later this year.
Recently I had a chance to sit down with the fine folks at 1C Game Studios and check out their two new games when they came to town. I was reticent at first about this because I am not usually one for flight sims, but I thought I would see if perhaps they could change my mind. What I got was not just mind-changing, but game-changing.
The first thing I noticed about this team and this game is the insane level of detail and, yes, love they put into these games. It’s not just the latest sequel in a blockbuster franchise that needs to be pushed out to meet the yearly deadline. For them, it is a way of life, and a deep abiding passion. Many of these guys actually went up in the aircraft modeled in this game to get a genuine feel for how the plane moves and feels. They even worked with pilots to see what could be improved and made more realistic.
Secondly, I noticed the graphics. “Gorgeous” is just about the only word I could come up with that didn’t in some way cheapen the level of details they got just right. Even things like combat damage is realistic in all its bombastic fury. The impacts with bullets are jarring, the feel of falling as your plane stalls, every little thing adds up to be so much better than the sum of its parts. One of my favorite things was just flying low and admiring the architecture of buildings on the ground and found myself doing multiple low passes over and over again.
Combat in IL-2 and ILYA is tight; they’re not games for amateurs. A more skilled pilot with a lesser plane can take out any number of pilots with a better plane who aren’t as well trained or haven’t put in the dedication and skill both of these games require. When asked what separated their games from so many of the others that flood market like World of Warplanes, they said, “While we love World of Warplanes and many of us even play it, the simple fact is it’s more of an arcade game. We are a flight sim.” The fact that you can only really play both of these with a Joystick is further testament to that fact. However they do admit they have been experimenting to a certain extent with keyboard and mouse controls, only though on ILYA Muromets. When asked what kind of joystick would be needed the reply was “Pretty much any 20 dollar joystick will do.”
With the ability to have massive in air dogfights, bombing runs and insane single player campaigns, it looks like 1C Game Studios is setting itself up to be a dominant force in the simulator market. I myself cannot wait to get my hands on a copy and start playing against fellow enthusiasts new and old. I myself am now a happy convert to this genre and will no doubt be spending many hours playing both.