It's been 10 years since would-be flying aces had anything worth playing - 1999's Red Baron 3D. Since then, fans of this genre have been disappointed repeatedly. Rise of Flight wants to fix that.
The World War I combat flight sim may be a rather specific genre, definitely suited for PC play over console. But done well it can ping any number of interests - history, technology, aviation, tactics, even a smidge of role-playing. Red Baron captivated me for hours back in the early 1990s and fired me up so much I wrote a few college papers about World War I aviation and its principal actors.
Rise of Flight, by Russian developer neoqb, will release sometime this year, first in Russia. Neoqb is in discussions with western publishers, and they've hinted at digital distribution, likely through Steam. That would chalk up another for digital distribution, delivering us a genre that would probably get blasted out of any pitch meeting faster than you could say Dicta Boelcke. A history of World War I combat sims shows the last decade has been, for the most part, patches, mods, and shovelware.
From the Rise of Flight blog, we're told the game will be played over the entire Western Front of the first World War - more than 125,000 square kilometers of playable territory. In addition to striving for super realistic physics and period aircraft, players will get career singleplayer mode, plus a networked mode. You can fly for any of the Central Powers or Triple Entente aviation services. (Germany or Austria, or France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia or the U.S.)
The aviation gameplay they've released so far looks appealing; some of the ground elements are a little stiff and rudimentary, but again, this is a flight simulator. For a type of game that had such strong appeal, and has largely been dormant for 10 years, Rise of Flight is at least noteworthy in that someone's trying to get back in and do it right.
Rise of Flight [Official site]