by Nigel Doyle
Well, times are changing for the "Hard-Core" Simulation community. For better or worse, I do not know. Although my passion is Flight Simulations, I enjoy and play all kinds of PC based simulators from Armour, Navy and Space based trading games like Elite to WII War Games. I even enjoy and play the Rainbow Six series.
The thoughts and ideas in this article are centred on the Flight Simulator community, but I do think they will apply equally to all of the categories mentioned previously. We have at last, got the necessary hardware both in terms of sheer CPU power and Graphics Acceleration in order to run serious simulations, something that has always caused a problem with the latest "Cutting Edge" software releases in the past.
Alas, the list of anticipated releases designed to push the envelope is dropping and companies are cancelling games left right and centre with the latest being Microprose's M1 Tank Platoon series. So what is the problem, rising development costs and not enough returns or is it easier for companies to produce more simpler games with a lower development time, that appeal to the quick fix junkies of the gaming world? Who knows?
One thing I am really puzzled about however is, why did a leading simulation company with one of the best track records in the market spend so much time, effort, and money on a game that had so much to offer, only to throw it away when the games potential was about to be realised?
I am of course talking about Hasbro's Falcon4. I cannot really understand this decision, the main structure of the game was there, all it needed was to add the packages that would have offered us different theatres and aircraft to fly in, just like its predecessor Falcon 3.
It has been argued that Falcon4 had already cost too much and that it was not beneficial to support it any further. With all the hard work that was done, the game was playable and as mentioned previously, the rewards would have kept on coming. You can see this in all the 'home brew' add on packs that have been developed the past few months, most notably by the iBeta team.
It really is a crying shame, because two years down the road, Falcon4 is still cutting edge and no fast jet simulator has been able to touch it since. This is the standard that has to be beaten, and as of yet nobody is near it. Ok, I feel much better now; my only hope is that Hasbro takes time out to reconsider their actions and will make a decision to re-continue the development of possibly the best fast jet simulator of our times.
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