1C’s Media Night on the USS Hornet (2013)

Written by Mahamari Tsukitaka

This year’s 1C press event was a departure from previous years’—instead of taking place at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, we met aboard the USS Hornet, a real aircraft carrier used in World War II, the Vietnam War, and the first moon missions. It’s now a museum, but the location was historically impressive and thematically appropriate to the games unveiled this year.

1C kept things simple and focused on three titles this year:

  • Nuclear Union, an action RPG played from the point of view of a Soviet pilot and set in a post-apocalyptic alternate universe in which the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved by worldwide nuclear war;
  • Men of War: Assault Squad 2, the next chapter in 1C’s award-winning strategy series; and
  • IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad, the continuation of 1C’s remarkably realistic combat flight simulator.

In between tasting some of the Cuban hors d’oeuvres, I was able to try out a pre-alpha version of Nuclear Union and the alpha of IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad. Nuclear Union played well for such an early version of the game and featured both real-time (for melee weapons or firearms) and turn-based combat (for better strategic use of firearms), as well as both human and mutant monster enemies. The game’s still in its beginning stages, but it sets up the desolate, gritty atmosphere of post-nuclear-war Russia nicely.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad has a steep learning curve—quite understandable for a game that realistically mimics real plane controls and response—but even the alpha on demo looked beautiful, and 1C had some experienced players on hand to show us some of the finer points of the game. The game boasts historically accurate plane models and physics based on previously classified Soviet military data, and we have it on 1C’s report that the last surviving Soviet pilot who fought in the Battle of Stalingrad play-tested the game at age 91 and gave it his stamp of approval.

We weren’t able to try out Men of War: Assault Squad 2, since that title was announced for the first time at the event, but it’ll be demoed at Germany’s GamesCom in August. The game promises eight-player co-op and versus play, as well as single-player skirmishes; five factions and battlefields across Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Pacific; and improved Steam features.

Both of the titles I tried so far are coming along, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing how they develop.