IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle for Stalingrad preview

For flight sim enthusiasts, the IL-2 Sturmovik series has become a very familiar name. The first few games in the series were met with excellent reviews, and after the disappointing “Cliff Of Dover” the developers are looking to return to form with Battle of Stalingrad. We saw the game in action in Cologne and came back impressed. Here’s why…

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad aims to recreate the famous battle in every detail possible. To do this, they are taking full advantage of the processing power of present day PCs, not cutting any corners for a multiplatform approach but instead using all the memory and GPU power available to them. Because of this, they are able to fully recreate all the external plane models as well as the cockpits, with every individual component modeled in 3D instead of just being displayed on a flat surface.

This translates into a physics-based damage model, which means planes can go down in a virtually unlimited amount of ways. Instead of just bursting into a big ball of flames, you might hit the ground too hard and break off your landing gear, causing you to go down and do a nose slide while losing control of your plane and hoping for the best. The game’s sense of realism is further enhanced by its sound engine, which doesn’t play back engine recordings but chooses to model the sound using effects such as doppler as planes rush by overhead. It all adds amounts of realism that’s hard to ignore.

il2_sturmovik cockpit view

The 70th anniversary of the actual battle of Stalingrad meant that previously classified war documents were declassified and extensively used by the development team to portral the battles, buildings and flight patterns as accurately as possible. They also sought the help the of (now 91 year old) war veteran Stepan Mikoyan, who participated in the battle and was able to provide first hand accounts that didn’t just help but also inspire the team working on the latest IL-2 Sturmovik game.

The game will play out as a single player online game, where you play solo but compare your stats with players worldwide. Each mission will have unique elements generated which means virtually unlimited replay value, and the team is actively seeking community support during their development. The game set to be released in the next few months and will support the Oculus Rift, which we’ll look at in a seperate preview.

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