Goose Greenlight: Jet Thunder Gets Publisher

By Tim Stone on October 17th, 2010 at 10:47 am.

Six of the war-torn wonders I tipped at the start of the year are now available, and a recent announcement on the Aerosoft forum suggests that total will soon be seven. Or 6.333333333 if you want to be pedantic. The German publisher that back in July 09 declared an interest in developing a successor to Microsoft Flight Simulator, has just signed-up Falklands/Malvinas War flight sim Jet Thunder, and plans to release a good third of it before the year is out. Splendid news!/Geniales noticias!

For those that can’t be arsed to peruse Mr Kok’s pronouncement, the first of three interlocking instalments will focus on the helicopter-aping Harriers of the British task force. A mere 20€/110ARS will buy you a bunk on HMS Hermes and the right to participate in a selection of historically-hewn sorties ranging from duels with Argie jets, to low-level mud-moving missions in support of the Paras and Royal Marines.

If ThunderWorks’ attitude to scenarios is similar to its apparent attitude to avionics (“the systems are as they are in the real aircraft”) then these jaunts – especially the ground attack ones – should be pretty hairy affairs. No fewer than five Harriers were lost whilest flying CAS missions over the islands. The slew of surface threats included radar-guided 35mm AAA, Roland SAMs, and – rather ironically – British-made Blowpipe MANPADS.

From the air, what danger there was was primarily Dagger and Skyhawk shaped  (planes we should have a chance to fly sometime in 2011 courtesy of the second instalment). As both these types were operating at the limits of their fuel capacity, and usually tasked with sinking ships, dogfights should be pretty rare. Will Jet Thunder reflect this? It’s one of those classic Fun vs. Realism design dilemmas. If FAA jets linger after delivering their deadly payloads, the illusion for some is damaged, but the pleasure for many(?) is increased.

Whatever behaviour ThunderWorks settle on, this is a sim I’m raring to fly. It’s not just that I can’t remember the last time I climbed aboard a plausibly modelled VTOL aircraft, it’s the conflict itself. Maggie’s South Atlantic gamble is the first war I can remember actively following. Of course, being a snotty-nosed infant at the time (1982), ‘actively following’ meant listening to news reports on the telly and radio, then crossing off sunk ships in my copy of the disturbingly prescient* ‘Spot The Warships’.

I might have been young and totally oblivious to the real meaning of the red biro marks I was scrawling, but I can still vividly recall hearing the news of the sinking of HMS Sheffield and detecting in the adults around me a strange mixture of sadness and unease. In that moment somewhere in my young skull I realised that a British victory wasn’t inevitable. The writers of my cherished Victor and Commando comics had lied.

ThunderWorks’ Anglo-Argentinian staff, appetite for authenticity, and campaign approach (dynamic), should mean Jet Thunder is free of juvenile jingoism and stark certainties. With the issue of Falklands sovereignty still sore, I hope the developers use a load screen, cutscene, or manual page or two, to remind their audience of the reality of the conflict.

*The naval equivalent of a trainspotting pocketbook, this 1977 publication listed the names and numbers of all serving Royal Navy vessels, and sported a cover image that seemed utterly unremarkable until May 4, 1982.

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45 Comments »

  1. Kevin says:

    It’s been too long since we last heard from you Mr. Stone. With a man of your writing caliber and interest in a woefully declining genre, I’m sure RPS has room for a 5th regular writer.

    Looking forward to whatever first impressions you have with fiddling with the Hog’s GAU-8 Avenger cannon and improved avionic suite in the DCS beta.

  2. Premium User Badge Shakermaker says:

    Argies, really? And here I thought RPS was an international PC gaming blog. As it turns out I was wrong. RPS is simply some chauvinistic Brit website with contributors that most likely chuckle every time they see this front page from The Sun:
    http://imgur.com/dTWi2.jpg
    If the producers of this game have the decency to call their game ‘Jet Thunder: Falklands/Malvinas’, thus acknowledging the two sides of the conflict, RPS could do the same and simply call these people Argentinians.

    • Bill says:

      Are you joking? Stone writes an article that while unsurprising giving his doubtless metropolitan trendy left wing sensibilities, couldn’t be more even handed (undeservedly so given the Argentinians invaded sovereign British territory), and yet someone still manages to take offence. Argentina started the war, we finished it, of course it’s hard to blame the Argentinian conscripts, but certainly the Argentinian people were dancing in the streets until they realised their vicious little military junta was about to get precisely what it deserved.

      In any case, why is it ok to use dimunitives in a negative sense about evil imperialist dogs like the us and uk (e.g. yanks, brits, limeys etc) but not about others e.g. krauts, argies, pakis etc? Another one of those convenient little double standards eh?

    • Premium User Badge Shakermaker says:

      @Bill I bet you vote UKIP.

    • Rii says:

      So I’m unfamiliar with cultural waters here, but ‘Argies’ doesn’t sound derogatory to me.

      Bloody Brits.

    • choconutjoe says:

      *Sees Shakermaker’s post*

      *Sees Bill’s post*

      *Breaks down in tears*

      “Will the madness never end!?!”

    • leeder_krenon says:

      are there are hoards of EDL members wandering the streets looking to do some “argy bashing”?

    • Bill says:

      No, I vote conservative, much like previous generations of my family, along with most of the other other army officers who have fought for this country and its commonwealth in this war and all the ones before that did, defending the right of nameless cowards to spew bile. Every time you equivocate about who was in the wrong in the Falklands, you diminish the sacrifice of those who died recovering it.

    • Unaco says:

      @Shakermaker…

      Wow. Such righteous indignation over use of the word “Argie”? Really? On a Sunday morning as well? Were you specifically looking for something to rail against this morning? Or are you the sort of person who can spot an opening and form an attack on the flimsiest of pretences, and never misses an opportunity?

      “Argie” is hardly a derogatory term… in fact, it’s used by Argentinians, as the title of movies, in the title of songs, and as a nickname in their relationships with foreigners. It can be derogatory… but then, so can the terms “Irish”, or “Scot”… it depends on how they’re used. It’s hardly being used as a derogatory term here, and to claim it is is disingenuous.

    • Simon says:

      @Shakermaker Manufactured offense over the smallest possible opportunity for offense to be taken, equivocating over who was in the wrong over Britain’s past defense of it’s territory, using the term UKIP-voter as an insult…

      Yep. I bet you vote Labour.

    • Nick says:

      That is one of the most idiotic things I have ever read, well done.

    • MWoody says:

      Euro-trolling is confusing. I feel like I need to take another social studies class.

  3. Rii says:

    What’s sad is seeing the UK clinging to America’s skirts as it desperately tries to relive the glory days when it Ran This Shit. Only it can’t even manage that, what with the RN/RAF falling apart whilst the dollars burn in Bumfuckistan.

    Oh well, at least this sim should allow those so inclined to relive those past glorious without trashing the economy in the process. ^ ^

  4. Tim Stone says:

    @Shakermaker. I think it’s pretty clear from the other 490-odd words in the post that I have no interest in insulting or belittling either of the sides involved in the Falklands Conflict. I use the term ‘Argies’ here, in much the same playful period-colour-injecting way as I’d use Jerries, Ruskies, Reds, Rebs, Brits, Rosbifs or Tommies while talking about other war-themed games.

    @Kevin. I’m hoping to spend some time with the A-10C beta in the next week or two.

    • Premium User Badge Shakermaker says:

      @Tim Stone
      Sorry for having misunderstood you then.

      @Unaco
      Yeah, you’re totally right. I should have my morning coffee before commenting.

  5. Gepetto says:

    of course, it’s very fashionable to be offended on behalf of other people(s).

  6. Premium User Badge jaheira says:

    Tim, thanks for that Tumbledown youtube link, it was excellent.

    • konrad_ha says:

      Compare this video the what MoH and CoD make of war. When a military shooter captures even a glimpse of what these soldiers were talking about I’ll take the genre serious again.

  7. Wipa says:

    Apparently Sunday brings out the RPS trolls.

  8. Robotenwerfer says:

    I find it interesting that the Falklands/Malvinas conflict tends to bring out a lot of heated emotions, even in people of my own generation (I was born some years after the war). It was a very strange war in a lot of ways… for example, according to an old professor of conflict theory I had, it was one of the few instances were the UN actually worked exactly as it was supposed to :)

  9. deABREU says:

    hey, I live in the same city as these devs, it’s been made in brazil for quite a while now, by some very talented people =)

  10. Mil says:

    That should be “¡Espléndidas noticias!” actually.

    • Rodrigo (An ARGIE) says:

      Or if you want to sound more argentinean you could say “¡Copadisimas noticias!” or “¡Geniales noticias!”

  11. Cinnamon says:

    I was expecting something like the old side scroller Jetstrike from the header image. Doesn’t look bad though.

  12. fabamatic says:

    As an argentinian I can tell you that 110 ARS or argentinian pesos is a lot of money for us (anyway if it was sold at 20 pesos it would get pirated to hell and back), but it is good to see it gets a release over here. I hope they include a more “arcadey” dogfight mode or something like that. (by the way I don-t mind being called argie, but it isn’t true that we would refer to ourselves in that way).

  13. Rodrigo (An ARGIE) says:

    Guys, I’m a proud Argentinean and there are a couple things I can say.
    1ST: The term “Argie” isn’t used over here. The rest of Latin America generally refers to us as “Argentinos” or in the case of Brazilians “Argentino filho da puta” (because we always beat them at soccer”. The term “Che” also was used in the past (there’s how Ernesto Guevara got his nick name) and now its widely used by Argentineans to refer to others, for example, “che, pasame la sal”. As an Argentian at least I don’t find it derogatory, it rather makes me giggle.
    2ND: The war was started by the junta as a mean for gaining popularity and making the population forget about all the people being tortured or in prison for political reasons (my mother was one in fact). What you guys are forgetting is that the military junta was installed and actively supported by the US government as it happened with EVERY MILITAR GOVERNMENT in Latin America. If they hadn’t had that policy with Batista rest assured that Castro would have never took over. In the end everything happened because of the cold war and the lust of some far right politicians. So please, just please, realise that when you are blaming the Junta you are blaming your governments which actively supported these dictatorships.
    3RD: There was widespread enthusiasm back at home about the progress of war JUST LIKE IN THE UK. When England won “Margie” got more popular as everybody had instantly gotten patriotic. This same thing happens with every war so I think that we, Argentineans, are hardly to be blamed for anything. A lot of people was brainwashed by propaganda but most of the country was aware of reality. All this people were being persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and even killed.

    • Rodrigo (An ARGIE) says:

      PD: Try watching “The secret of her eyes”, “Iluminados por el Fuego”, “Imagining Argentina”, “La Historia Oficial”, “El che” parts 1 and 2, or any cold war movie which is minimally objective.
      I love the page and think that what stone wrote was very respectful of both sides of the conflict. There’s people reading you all over the world, so, yeah, you are a pretty international page.
      Sorry for the repost but I din’t want to seem aggressive or full of hate, it’s just that I love cold war history and think that by now people should be a little more objective.
      If there are any grammar mistakes I would appreciate you, fellow brits, pointing them out.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      I’d like to apologize for my homeland selling guns to all three sides of the conflict. (I don’t know which side was the thirds side, but we probably sold guns to them).

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Wars can never be pinned on a people – As you say, they are the result of circumstance and the actions of individuals. They have a remarkable and disturbing way of becoming over-simplified in peoples minds, probably because most people simply don’t care about anything that doesn’t directly affect them. Good and bad are often a convenience..

  14. Alex Bakke says:

    Tim Stone, start a blog. I’ll happily purchase PC Gamer each month, and wait for sporadic posts on RPS, but it’s not enough :(

  15. andrew says:

    just wanted to say that it’s good to hear from Tim again.

  16. Saiko Kila says:

    I wonder how the Argentinians will be called. The Opposing Force maybe? The Opressing Force? Or would that be the British? Anyway, as a non-Argie, non-Brit, and having never been to these countries (unless you count airports) I’m glad and high on hope to see some true flight sim in near (I wish) future, and looking for some highly-accelerated, mostly-explosive action.

  17. Tetragrammaton says:

    Tim! Splendid! Please don’t disappear from these hallowed halls once again old bean, the place just isn’t the same without your (ir)regular musing of the most pc parts of pcgameia.

  18. Iain says:

    I think everyone under the age of 25 needs to watch some of the news footage from the Falklands War and you’ll see just how clinical and sanitised the media’s war coverage is today – it’s like they want you to think that you can fight a war without anyone ever being hurt, which is wishful thinking at best and absolute bullshit at worst.

    I was only six when the Falklands War happened, but I vividly remember seeing footage of Marines being carried on stretchers to field hospitals with bits of limbs missing and footage of ships burning off the coast of the islands after being hit by Exocet missiles. It’s inconceivable that governments would permit that kind of thing to be shown on mainstream media these days.

    The 25th Anniversary exhibition on the Falklands War at the Imperial War Museum that was on a few years ago was absolutely captivating – whatever the rights and wrongs of that individual conflict (lots on both sides, I’m sure), it’s the stories from the individual soldiers like the ones in the Tumbledown video Tim linked to that make you realise that war isn’t sexy, glamorous or glorious (“I put my right hand down to touch my leg and my two of my fingers went in up to the knuckles” – I mean, fucking hell) – and the reality so far removed from things like Call of Duty 4 to be absolutely unbelieveable.

  19. teo says:

    Wow, I didn’t think this game would ever come out!

  20. MadTinkerer says:

    Now I’m really glad I lived in London for six years (currently living in New Jersey), or else I literally would not understand what that controversy is about. I also wouldn’t be able to appreciate how bloody stupid Shakermaker is.

  21. Dozer says:

    Why are Aerosoft building a ‘replacement for Microsoft Flight Simulator’ when X-Plane already exists? Granted, it doesn’t have combat. But nor did Microsoft Flight Simulator!

  22. Shadowcat says:

    Jet Thunder has been in development for so long, that I’d filed it away in the “this is permanently at least 2-3 years away” bucket (and if they are releasing it in “stages”, then I guess this is still the case, really).

    I hope that it turns out to be a fine product, but I also hope that people do not set their expectations so high that they will wind up disappointed. This sim has been put together by an extremely small team, who simply do not have the resources to do everything that one could wish for. There will undoubtedly be deficiencies.

    It should make up for those deficiencies by being something different, and hopefully enough people will recognise and support that. I still fervently hope that one day they might achieve their original intention of something akin to a modern-day “AV-8B Harrier Assault”, but I’m guessing that we’re still in a for a long wait before such a campaign could be implemented.

    In the mean time, proper flight sims have become an appallingly rare breed, and Harrier* sims were always thin on the ground to begin with, so the best of luck to the team, I say! It’s been a long journey, and I hope it will all come to fruition.

    * as well as the other aircraft, but it’s the Harrier that has kept me hoping that Jet Thunder would eventually see the light of day.

  23. blargh says:

    Since board games seem to be relevant on RPS these days, it might be worth noting that Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, designer of the wonderful Burning Blue and Downtown, is working on a Falklands game, too. No idea when Air Warning Red will be finished, but still neat to see.

    http://www.airbattle.co.uk/airwarningred.html

    There was also another game that seemed to be pretty popular that came out a year or two ago called Where There Is Discord that I know less about.

    http://www.fifthcolumngames.com/

  24. Novack says:

    Non-Argie, non-Brit?

    You have to be alien.

  25. Novack says:

    And of course, the excellent
    Microprose’s Dogfight

    Had an good arcadish-realism in its Malvinas/Falklands scenario.

  26. Efe says:

    @Rodrigo (An ARGIE)
    Jajaja, very funny!

    I´m glad I´m not the only “argie” here!

  27. Tim Stone says:

    @Rodrigo.
    Thanks for the cinematic and grammatical recommendations (intro altered accordingly!). The storyline of “Illuminados por el Fuego” is depressingly familiar. Here too, more soldiers took their own lives in the years after the war, than died during it..

    I’m struggling to think of a good UK-made Falklands film. Tumbledown, an account of a young officer coming to terms with disability and civilian life, is probably the best we’ve produced (though I’d recommend the book over the dramatisation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGQyMg8vGIg)

    @ andrew, Tetragrammaton, & Alex
    Thanks chaps! I’m hoping to contribute a little more regularly in the run up to Christmas.