I love the interfaces in complex military simulations. Tiny bulbs, little switches hidden behind flaps, fuzzy polygons bleeping on a low-res display. I don’t actually want to pilot real military vehicles, however, so HighFleet appeals to me a great deal. It’s got the aesthetic of a military sim, but it’s bent towards a physicsy, action-strategy game about piloting enormous flying boats above a “mysterious future Earth”. There’s a trailer and rough release date below.
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The trailer understandably focuses on the big, airborne explosions as these hulking jets do battle, but there are a bunch more screenshots over on its Steam page that show off its menus. The game isn’t just about combat, but exploring territory, carrying out acts of diplomacy with factions you meet, and gathering resources with which to build and modify your fleet. These are some of my favourite things.
I’d been following HighFleet’s development for a while via Twitter GIFs, as it’s the work of Konstantin Koshutin, a development duo previously known for Hammerfight, 2009’s similarly physicsy dogfighter. HighFleet has a whole new flavour and a seemingly all-new strategic layer.
It’s also, interestingly, being published by the revived MicroProse. MicroProse were once the kings of simulation and strategy games, publishing everything from Civilization to Railroad Tycoon to X-COM: UFO Defense to F-19 Stealth Fighter. A series of acquisitions eventually saw the name and company disappear, but it was revived a couple of years ago by a new group led by a former Bohemmia Interactive developer. Hmm!
HighFleet is due for release in “Q2 2021”, and there’s more detail and GIFs on its official site