Introducing Staffel


We're currently developing a VR flying game set during World War II: Staffel. It will feature a single-player campaign where you assume the role of a young Luftwaffe pilot in Jagdgeschwader 26

The story is mostly settled, and will span from 1942 through the terminal phase of the war in 1945. You'll experience the attrition and insurmountable odds faced by the German fighter pilots throughout this time, and the pressures they faced to continue fighting even as the tides of war had clearly turned.

FW-190A-1

Inspiration

From the outset we wanted to tell a story that was different from typical perspectives of World War II air combat. The stories of the Luftwaffe are generally well-covered in historical study, but popular imagination tends to focus on the super-aces who accumulated aerial victories many times their Allied counterparts. We wanted to focus on a less-appreciated but a more realistic theme: the thousands of novice German pilots that were used as cannon fodder against the Allies, who for the latter half of the war had superior training, equipment, and numbers.

There is also a fine line to walk in developing a fictional story about the German armed forces during World War II. I believe it's why most games that feature Wehrmacht equipment tend to stay very technical to avoid controversy. If you try to remove politics, it's not very historically authentic because war and politics are one and the same, and the Luftwaffe was very closely tied to the National Socialist party. But as a game you don't want to go too far in that direction to allow someone to play out a Nazi fantasy.

On the other hand, if you try too hard to clean your story of controversy, you fall into a different fantasy where the regular German armed forces were just simple, professional soldiers who were wronged by a corrupt regime. Related to that is the common trope of the "Good German" who does their best to be honorable in a crazy situation. 

Ultimately these various perspectives are valid to degrees, but are far too generalized. Real answers on a topic of this scale are far too nuanced for simple conclusions, and we hope some of that comes out in this game.

Staffel Gameplay

Gameplay

Of course the most interesting story means nothing if the game isn't interesting to play. Staffel is going to be what we're calling a Pilot Simulator, in that it's going to focus on the experience of the human pilot. We're not going for the level of fidelity of a flight simulator - flying should feel immersive but not challenging, and a little more dynamic than a typical arcade flight game. I love playing IL2 Sturmovik, but it offers a different kind of experience than we're trying to go for here.

That said, we plan to keep actual equipment, adversaries, missions, and dates as historically authentic as is practical. As is also the case, we want to allow different ways to play the game just as pilots had different ways to fly. You can be aggressive and shoot down as many aircraft as possible, or you might choose to be a good wingman or flight leader, always sticking with your formations. The game shouldn't punish you for not shooting down many aircraft.

To handle that there will be a reputation level that will be maintained throughout the campaign, and this will be the basis for promotions and early access to new equipment. Reputation will be positively influenced by real factors such as kills and completed missions, while things like losing too many wingmen, exiting missions early, or shooting an adversary in their parachute might lower your reputation.

Stay in Touch

We're open to hearing feedback, thoughts, and concerns. Leave a comment, follow @housewolf_dev on Twitter and keep up with us here on Itch and our website!

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