Il-2 Sturmovik: BoS game developer’s corruption fully revealed

By Erwin Murillo – 3rd November 2014
Il-2 Sturmovik: BoS game developer’s corruption fully revealed
The following is a preface for those unfamiliar with the Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad/Metacritic fiasco, as well as reports on the unprofessional conduct of the head of Il-2: BoS‘ co-developer, 777 Studios. New, intriguing developments have arisen in regards to the entire situation, and will be reported on after the section break.

Earlier this month, GamerHeadlines reported on the controversy surrounding World War II combat flight simulator video game, Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad, and Metacritic – in which the developers of Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad, 1C Game Studios, implied they would permanently shut down the latest entry into the series if its score on Metacritic did not increase.

In short, the Moscow-based Russian game development company wanted players of the game to boost IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad‘s Metacritic user review score in order to counteract the large number of negative user reviews. The developers said that the negative user reviews on their Il-2 Sturmovik’s Metacritic “had a direct, vivid, and purposeful intention to finish the very existence of the IL-2 brand.”

The game’s Metacritic page was taken down for a period of time after GamerHeadlines reported on it, most likely due e-mails sent to Metacritic regarding the situation.

The following is a comment by a GH reader on the original article:

“E-mailed Metacritic, and actually got a response, and action taken…the page is now down, and new votes can be added at release.”

Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad‘s Metacritic page is now back up. with an average user score of 6.7 at the time of this writing.

IL-2 Sturmovik blackmail development hell

Furthermore, following GamerHeadlines’ previous article on Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad‘s developmental roller-coaster, an anonymous individual sent GH editors a tip containing a chain of e-mails between Jason Williams, the executive producer for 777 Studios (a game development studio who worked with 1C Game Studios/Company to develop Battle of Stalingrad) and the game’s testers, revealing alarming instances of blackmail, retroactive bribery, unprofessional conduct, et cetera,

The following comes from the tipster’s e-mail:

“There are several critical moments that changed the momentum and direction of this game (Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad) from “steadily climbing” to “screaming nose-dive.”

The main one was the absurd single-player unlock system, where to use what you’ve purchased, you are forced to slog through an abysmal campaign.

The testers that took it upon themselves to create engaging missions on a multiplayer server voiced their opinions and concerns about how bad the single-player unlocks were for the game after the changes ruined the multiplayer missions as no one could select them without the pre-requisite of 40 hours of offline monotony.

Instead of being treated as valued customers, let alone dedicated testers who have great wisdom regarding the current state of the game, they were told to cease and desist – Past gifts given were held over their heads like some sort of retroactive bribery. When they refused to be silenced, not only was their funding removed, but their ability to host even a self-paid dedicated server was revoked.

This gutted the online multiplayer overnight.

See attached email chain between Jason Williams (777 Executive Producer) and the testers.

You may view a summary of the aforementioned chain of e-mails in the second article mentioned above, or a screen capture of the entire thread here.

 Il-2 Sturmovik – 1CGS’ Debauchery Revealed

Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad Controversy

Moving right along, was contacted by a first-party – known as AbortedMan – in the entire debacle pertaining to the development hell Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad (and everyone involved) had experienced.

AbortedMan directed GH towards a post by reddit user, dillon_biz (presumably a game tester who had invested a significant number of time into the game) on BoS’ subreddit, which revealed a number of interesting things regarding 1CGS (1C Game Studios – a collaboration between 1C and 777 Studios) and the development of the latest iteration of Il-2 Sturmovik.

You can view his entire post below (most links are live and lead to the “juicier” bits). Additionally, interesting, relevant passages have been boldfaced:

Let me preface this with a simple statement: The meat and potatoes of this flight sim (Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad) is, bar-none, the best experience flying a virtual plane I have ever had. Meaning, everything from starting the engine to landing (or going down in flames) is A+ stuff.

The rest, not so much. If any of you guys follow the forums, you already know the major issues. Unlocks, forced single-player, etc.

What some of you may not know is the extremely slimy behavior the producers of this game have adopted when dealing with customers and supporters of the project.

I’ll detail what I know. Please keep in mind that everything detailed below is pretty much exactly how I went about acquiring information and drawing my conclusions.

The Eagle’s Nest (TEN), arguably the highest quality multiplayer server at the time, was suddenly taken offline. There were speculations on the forums as to why which were quickly suppressed, with some forum users even getting the ban hammer. Whatever, internal stuff, nothing to be too concerned about because ultimately it is 1CGS’s call on what servers to provide funding for during the testing phase.

Not too much longer after that, there was talk going around that 1CGS pulled The Eagle’s Nest because of AbortedMan’s (the mission designer and operator of TEN) comments regarding his dislike of the controversial changes 1GCS made. This was dismissed by the powers that be as a butthurt player just trying to spin things to make it look like he was in the right. Seems logical, I didn’t really pay much attention to that because we all know how people can be.

Then came along a TEN revival thread asking for donations to help support the possibility of a new TEN server, almost immediately AbortedMan and the Sea Eagles had two month’s worth of funding and things were looking up. Unfortunately, the thread is deleted at this time and I do not have any screenshots archived. The thread got locked initially and I was a contributing factor in that so I felt obligated to send AbortedMan a PM apologizing for my actions and whatnot.

This is the conversation: Part 1, Part 2, The “preview” (the aforementioned chain of e-mails – link above), The post(s) that got AbortedMan banned (link broken)

I thought to myself, “Holy shit, this is real.”

So, a thread pops up a little later with the OP asking for opinions on the state of the game. I made a post, was called a liar, and subsequently banned for 3 days.

I log on to the forums this morning to this PM conversation. Here is the proof submitted by AbortedMan.

As of now the only thing I have to say after all this is fuck 1CGS.

TL; DR: 1CGS is making very unpopular game design choices, and instead of tackling the problem at the root – their choices – they decide to go all secret police and cause more problems that have made me and several other people completely lose faith.

Oh well, hopefully DCS pans out to not be a clusterfuck.

As stated in the TL; DR above (and made apparent in the links provided by dillon_biz), 1CGS, the developers of Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad – in addition to blackmailing customers into increasing the game’s Metacritic user review score and bribing dedicated game testers – respond to individuals’ dislike of their game design choices in a manner which coincides perfectly with their previous actions.

What are your thoughts on these particular developments regarding Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad? What did you think of the game devs’ initial blackmail? How about 777 Studios president Jason Williams’ prior statements? Were they unethical, questionable, or objectionable in any way?

Does dillon_biz’s recently revealed information call the game developer’s integrity into question, or is it just the way the games industry works? Why or why not?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below! As always, stay tuned to for the latest in video game and technology news.

Erwin Murillo

Erwin Murillo is a graduate of Union University. He has a Bachelor's of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Exercise Science and Wellness/Sports Medicine, and is currently enrolled at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Occupational Therapy Program. As buff as he is nerdy, you can find him either throwing around iron in the gym, or working on his latest video game article...sometimes both. Follow him on Twitter @DesertFoxJr or email him at [email protected].

  • JohannesBusgo

    This is unbelievable. Well-written piece.

    • It is a bit insane, haha. I’m glad you liked it.

  • MT Silver

    Wow. I hope this gets more attention. Some seriously corrupt behaviour above.

    • Yeah, the situation as a whole needs a bit of a signal boost. It’s a very interesting story.

  • CarbonRevenge

    This is just scummy game development at its finest.

    This encompasses games made by AAA and indies. It has just really become obvious as to how low devs are willing to go to manipulate consumers.

    • I’m really surprised this is happening, in all honesty.

  • James

    Communist Developers, this game should crash and burn like the featured image.

  • James

    Communist Developers, this game should crash and burn like the featured image.

  • Joao611

    This sickens me for having bought the game during the Steam Winter sales…
    Do you know if there have been any further developments on this?