David Heath, Director of Operations at Matrix Games, said, “War in the Pacific is a masterpiece of computer wargaming and we undertook this project with the utmost respect for the original design. Since it was originally released in 2004, War in the Pacific has provided countless hours of enjoyment and an unmatched immersive wargaming experience. At the same time, all that play has revealed some rough edges that needed smoothing and also given us many ideas in terms of how to build on the existing design to fulfill some of the wish lists players have posted. War in the Pacific: Admiral’s Edition is the achievement of that goal and should give fans of War in the Pacific many more years of unparalleled gameplay.”
Joe Wilkerson, Project Lead for Admiral’s Edition, commented, “A team of over two dozen programmers, artists and researchers has worked on virtually every aspect of War in the Pacific for over a year now and reaching the point where our work is ready to be announced is very gratifying. This has been a massive undertaking of which we are extremely proud and I am thankful to all who have given and continue to give their time to this project. We look forward to introducing ourselves to the community over the coming weeks and months and sharing with you our vision for the Admiral’s Edition. To the War in the Pacific community, who are familiar with some of our work on the 1.8x series of updates I can only say – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Although the individual improvements are far too numerous to mention in this initial announcement, the highlights alone should grab the attention of any War in the Pacific fan. Many more details will be released as War in the Pacific: Admiral’s Edition draws closer to release.
The Entire War in the Pacific on One Map! – If you thought the original map was something to behold, wait until you see the new one! Completely redone to a 40 mile per hex scale (instead of the original 60 mile per hex scale) and with the original distance distortions and inaccuracies corrected, this is the most accurate and most stunning map of the theater ever created. In addition, the smaller scale has allowed us to add a number of important bases that would not fit in the larger scale, but which played a key role in the strategy of various operations. On top of that, Admiral’s Edition now has off-map movement through map edge boxes representing major bases across the world, allowing more realistic movement of assets and arrival of reinforcements and resources.
The War At Sea – A waypoint system has now been added for Task Force movement, with up to three waypoints possible. These can also be used to define a patrol zone with loiter times. Waypoints can also be used for automated convoys along with a “return same route” option, making setting up your supply routes easier than ever. Task Force Movement is now handled on a hex by hex basis, with mid-ocean intercepts now possible! Many additional ship classes have been added and the entire naval order of battle has been overhauled with new ships, new subs (including midget subs for the Japanese) and new devices.
The entire upgrade system is now much more capable, allowing conversion of ships between classes as well as multiple upgrade levels (for example, a US Navy four stack destroyer can now convert to APD, AVD, DM or DMS, as the player wishes). Ports have also been reworked to allow for realistic limits for ability to handle ships, cargo and repairs, with much more control given to the player on how repairs are managed (especially at shipyards).
Shore bombardment, landing craft, major and minor ship damage, Engine vs. System damage, brand new ship art and improved task force and ship displays are just some of the many additional improvements!
The War in the Air – The air combat, pilot replacement and training systems of the original War in the Pacific have all been revisited and improved for the Admiral’s Edition. CAP is now partly in the air and partly scrambled, based on your CAP percentage, radar, climb rate, HQs and other factors. Fighters now have new more realistic air combat ratings, with maneuver adjusted based on altitude bands and top speed factored into relative maneuver calculations, to allow both styles of air combat to have their due. The end result is a better simulation of the historical matchups and less of the “uber CAP” that could happen in the original release.
On top of that, plane damage is now tracked across turns and each plane type is assigned a service rating which affects the difficulty of keeping that plane repaired, maintained and in the air. In addition to ops losses, perpetually damaged planes can now become “write offs” with their parts scavenged to make other planes operational. Operational losses overall are now at a higher, more realistic level for the Pacific theater. Fog of war also now applies to the indicator for enemy planes at a base as well and air balance and bomber/escort assignment depends on what you actually know of the enemy’s air power.
Pilots are now rated in a dozen different skill levels and can no longer gain the equivalent of combat experience by flying non-combat missions. Combined with a much more realistic multi-pool pilot training and reserve system, this eliminates certain balance loopholes that could cause unrealistic training rates.
Barrage balloons, blimps, over 500 airplane types, new aircraft art, more realistic coordination limits, configurable resize for squadrons and tracking of air attack vectors for ship flak are some of the many additional improvements!
The War on Land – From the original War in the Pacific’s eight terrain types, the Admiral’s Edition now has up to sixteen and transportation is now handled based on hex-sides rather than hexes, allowing for realistic land movement rates. A new dynamic hex-side and hex zone of control system also ensures realistic control over directions of movement and retreat. Land units now have several modes, rather than just a few – Combat, Movement, Strategic Movement, Reserve, Rest and Disorganized combine to give the player more choices to make about the stance and effectiveness of his land units. A division in Reserve will be able to Pursue, while a Division in Combat will be able to fight much more effectively and a division in Strategic Movement will be able to use rail movement, for example.
Tactical movement also now allows plotting and executing moves from any one hex to any adjacent hex – supply routes no longer need to be followed. Improved fog of war, limitations on fort construction, forced withdrawals and disbands and overstacking rules for atolls and small islands are some of the additional improvements that bring the land combat aspect of the Admiral’s Edition to a new level!
The War at Home – Economy and Industry have also been improved to more accurately simulate the wartime economies, with the addition of Light Industry and Oil Refinery centers and the removal of fuel and supply production from Resource and Oil centers. These changes allow for more realistic economies while keeping the game balance at a historical level. Moving the arrival of some off-map resources to off-map bases, requiring them to be transported on map also removes some issues, such as with Karachi. The end result is an economy that is not significantly more complex, but works more historically.
The Grand Campaign – All of these improvements will come wrapped up with a new full campaign scenario as well as five other scenarios, ranging in size from smaller to larger, many never before done for the War in the Pacific engine! The new campaign and scenarios are based on new, thorough and painstaking research to place every starting historical land, naval and air unit where it was historically and to do the same for reinforcements and withdrawals, to maintain a historical balance of forces. The new orders of battle, planes, ships and devices represent a leap forward in realism and historicity from War in the Pacific, which set the benchmark when it was first released.
The Editor – Finally, scenario and mod-makers will rejoice at the entirely new editor, built from the ground up for the Admiral’s Edition. This editor significantly increases the number of slots available for both devices and locations, has text search, auto-refresh of units from changes TO&Es, display of art work for ships and planes, enables editor-defined LCU breakdowns and task force contents. It also allows viewing of the contents of a given hex for the entire scenario being worked on (including reinforcements). The editor also allows you to upgrade the complete TO&E of a unit at a specified date, which is used to good effect in the new scenarios and campaign to allow 2-5 TO&Es for a division, for example, rather than having to abstract those into one for the entire war.
All of these great new features and improvements are on the way, along with a host of minor fixes, while maintaining the same great gameplay and game balance that gamers have enjoyed for years in War in the Pacific. Stay tuned for more information, screenshots and AARs as we move into 2008 and War in the Pacific: Admiral’s Edition gets closer to release.
Clear your schedules now and come Summer 2008, join us for an exciting and feature-filled trip back to the Pacific!