IL-2 Update 2.003 is live and marks the official launch of IL-2: Battle of Moscow on the Steam Store. This update is also symbolic of the end of a development cycle that has been underway for over the last year and a half.
The developers update by Jason Williams, Producer for IL-2, indicates with some certainty that there will be a future to the IL-2 series and that we’ll be hearing more in the coming weeks and months.
For the full list of changes, you can read them here, but I wanted to focus on a couple of key changes.
Battle of Moscow is a DLC on the Steam Store
Battle of Moscow counts as a DLC on the Steam Store. You can purchase it alongside Battle of Stalingrad which is a more limited experience than that offered through the official website – but this may be a limitation of how the Steam Store operates or it may just be a way to convince players to buy through the main store and skip Steam (the middleman) altogether.
‘Premium’ is now ‘Collector’
There’s been a nomenclature change that may give us an idea of things that are to come. The aircraft formerly marketed as Premium aircraft are now called Collector Planes. Collector Planes are now available to be purchased independently of the product that they were developed for. You can buy the FW190A-3 and own Battle of Moscow or own Battle of Stalingrad and buy the P-40E-1 without owning the other portion.
Skins and equipment unlocks
When you choose to unlock all of your aircraft modifications through the IL-2 website, the unlock feature will now count towards both the modifications and the skins that belong to the aircraft. This is a huge change for those who only play multiplayer and accepted the single player portion as a grind only to unlock the skins and equipment that they would then take into multiplayer.
For players only owning Battle of Stalingrad or Battle of Moscow, options for multiplayer were limited to the maps and aircraft that you own. One of those restrictions has been loosened.
If you join a multiplayer server with either Battle of X installed, you can now stay in that server even if a map changes to the battle that you don’t own. Moscow players can fly over Stalingrad and vice versa. This goes a long way to making multiplayer more accessible to players who haven’t purchased one of the two products (for a multitude of reasons).
Server owners will still need to make sure that Moscow or Stalingrad aircraft are available in the match to maintain their players through scenario transitions. Given the theaters and the crossovers between each, this shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish.
Hopefully this will ease the access to multiplayer and boost player numbers. It can only mean good things.
Campaign aircraft availability
Across products you can now find aircraft available if they also belong in that theater area. You can fly an I-16, MC.202 or P-40 in the Stalingrad single player and the Bf109F-4 and He111H-6 in the Moscow single player. Variety, versatility, and player choice are great things to have here and I’m happy to see even more cross pollination between Moscow and Stalingrad campaigns.
There are a huge list of small changes from bug fixes in the Ju87 and P-40s engine management and fixed force feedback effects to revised sounds for the various guns carried on-board each aircraft.
The sounds made the biggest impression on me when I entered into a mission. There are not just different sounds but many more of them starting from when you pull the trigger and then when you release and even moments after.
They are significant and subtle changes alike but they make a difference.
There have been subtle interface changes too which make it easier to discern which plane is a Collector aircraft and what product each plane belongs to. Easy in the current climate but maybe more difficult as time goes along.
What comes next?
Let’s start with a quote from the developer update.
And as you know, we are also considering our future steps with the IL-2 Sturmovik franchise. Much discussion within the team is taking place this week, the result of which we think will be welcomed by all of you. More information will be released in the coming weeks along with the opening of pre-orders for the flyable Ju-52 and Yak-1b. Two very cool planes that will further expand our plane-set on the Eastern Front.
Based on what we know from previous updates, the future of IL-2 will be determined very shortly. A new entry into the series is a near certainty at this point and development appears to be rolling along.
The change from Premium to Collectors aircraft suggests that in addition to new battles to fight, we may also see a stream of aircraft added to the mix that are released individually as extra types – Collectors aircraft for the fan that needs to have them all. The Yak-1B doesn’t add significantly from what we already have available in Battle of Stalingrad but for those that have to have it in their hangar… well, now you can. The Ju52 is a niche type so it will be interesting to see how many choose to specifically add it to their hangars.
As always, I can’t wait to see what comes next!