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Burnt Skies Aftermath Front Cover

Burnt Skies Aftermath front cover

Burnt Skies is a combat vehicle simulator developed by Freefall Interactive. The game was released on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii-U, PS Vita And Nintendo 3DS in turn 14. A Mac version was released in Turn 19. The estimated development cost for Burnt Skies was $4,590,000, excluding development costs for both expansion packs, Aftermath and In The Deep.

GameplayEdit

Burnt Skies is inspired by games such as Ace Combat and War Thunder. Many of Burnt Skies' features, such as its naval and ground vehicle battles, have been aspired from War Thunder's concept.

Game ModesEdit

Burnt Skies has a singleplayer, multiplayer and Co-op game mode. By progressing through these game modes, the player unlocks various vehicles, emblems, weapons etc.

In singleplayer, the player can unlock 14 vehicles, 8 weapons and 5 emblems. All of which can be used in co-op or multiplayer game modes.

In Co-op, the player can unlock 7 vehicles, 5 weapons and 2 emblems. Again, all of which can be used in co-op or multiplayer game modes.

Multiplayer is a key game mode in Burnt Skies. As additional vehicles, weapons, emblems and even missions can be unlocked by progressing through multiplayer. Once the player reaches the top level once, they can advance onto what is called 'Veteran Mode', which enables the player to continue progressing until the 20th Veteran level. Each Veteran Level requires the player to advance to the next Veteran Level by levelling up. This system is very similar to that of Activisions Call of Duty franchise. Once the player has reached the 20th Veteran Level, a teaser trailer for a sequel to Burnt Skies is revealed, as well as the player also gaining a 'Legend' emblem for use in multiplayer and a unique Boeing X-53 jet plane available for use in all game modes.

Free Flight is also unlocked.

VehiclesEdit

Burnt Skies has over 200+ fully licenced vehicles. A vast majority of these being aircraft. A summary of all vehicles is roughly around 150+ aircraft, 30+ ground vehicles and 20+ naval vehicles.

The expansion pack to Burnt Skies, Burnt Skies Aftermath, adds an additional 100+ vehicles to the game.

Breaking the Sound BarrierEdit

When flying aircraft, if the player passes speeds beyond 761.2 mph, he/she can cause a sonic boom. The audio system will also simulate the sound of the engines lagging behind the aircraft; this will fluctuate depending on the speed + 761.2 mph.

PlatformsEdit

Burnt Skies has been developed on many platforms, including PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii-U, PS-Vita and Nintendo 3DS.

PS3 DevelopmentEdit

It is known well that the PS3 has many anti-aliasing faults on 3rd party games. With the 'PS3 Exclusive' campaign, Freefall have created a system that enables anti-aliasing on PS3. Previous EA games have achieved anti-aliasing techniques on PS3, such as 'The Saboteur' by Pandemic Studios.

PC DevelopmentEdit

Originally, Burnt Skies was to be released exclusively for PC. But EA considered the limited market share that the PC had, so development was to be on consoles also to boost product sales. Burnt Skies for the PC includes enhanced graphics, and exclusive built-in extra content that is unavailable on other platforms.

Mac DevelopmentEdit

Burnt Skies for the Mac was not developed by Fl, instead it was developed by Feral Interactive. The company's previous game ports for Mac include 'The Movies' (2008), 'Enemy Engaged 2' (2007) and many other works. Feral's work on 'Enemy Engaged 2' gave them the oppurtunity to work on Burnt Skies for Mac. Development for the port began in Turn 13, and cease in Turn 18, leaving a turn for debugging operations.

DemoEdit

A demo was released in turn 9. 
Burnt Skies Pre-Alpha Screenshot

Burnt Skies pre-alpha 'The War' map screenshot. Lowest graphical settings. On older Counter 1.0.

The Demo provides 3 campaign missions prior to the war, and 1 multiplayer map, 'The War', which spans 100x100km square of combat area. The vehicles that will be available in multiplayer are:

5 Planes: F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Chengdu J-7 and B-2 Spirit

7 Ground Vehicles: M1 Abrams, Type 90, LAV, Type 10, HIMARS, Triumf, Black Eagle

4 Naval Vehicles: Type 23, Astute-class, Type 092, Type 052B Luyang I
Burnt Skies Pre-Alpha Screenshot 2

Burnt Skies 'Mojave' map screenshot. On updated Counter 1.5. Medium graphical settings.

All units, missions and maps featured in the demo will be available in the full retail version of Burnt Skies.

ReceptionEdit

Reception for the demo has been overwhelmingly positive, with common highlights including the way the battles are done, the multiplayer functionality, and the sheer amount of vehicles available for a demo. The gameplay was unanimously praised, with very, very few criticisms. 

Alpha 0.1.1Edit

An alpha version of Burnt Skies was released shortly after the demo. The launch of the alpha version brought in 2 new maps, 15 more vehicles and an update of the game engine.

Improvements/UpdatesEdit

The arrival of Alpha v0.1.1 brings in the following improvements/updates:

  • 2 new maps: 'Mojave' and 'Highlands'
  • Engine update: The Counter Engine 1.0 (Burnt Skies Demo engine) has been updated to the Counter Engine 1.5. This brings in HDR, 4x MSAA Anti-Aliasing and Counter 1.6 satellite recognition technology to enhance view distance and terrain detail.
  • 15 new vehicles: 10 new ground vehicles and 5 new aircraft.

Alpha 0.1.2Edit

An update to the previous Alpha 0.1.1. Alpha 0.1.2 fixes minor bugs that Alpha 0.1.1 produced due to the engine conversion from Counter Engine 1.0 to Counter Engine 1.5. the baseplate 'The War' map from the demo has been converted to Counter Engine 1.5 in Alpha 0.1.2 where it wasn't converted in Alpha 0.1.1.

A new multiplayer feature was added, named 'World War' mode. When the World War game mode is selected in Multiplayer, the player is directed to a visualized 3D earth (heavily implemented from X-COM: Enemy Unknown) with continents/countries highlighted in green, yellow and red, depending on the continent/country distress level. All continents in-game have individual maps distinguishing the continents by being named after them, respectively. These maps can either be areas of the continent or based on the average terrain. The maps that are specific to the continents have been categorized as 'Continental Maps'. Many countries are unavailable in Alpha 0.1.2 and are currently in the works. Country warfare in 'World War' mode plans to be fully playable in Alpha v0.1.3, which replaced the complex map system in Turn 13.

Improvements/UpdatesEdit

The update of Alpha v0.1.2 brought in the following improvements/updates:

  • New 'World War' mode: Global warfare is implemented into Burnt Skies.
  • Engine conversion of 'The War' map: The map 'The War' from the demo has been converted from Counter Engine 1.0 to Counter Engine 1.5.
  • 7 continental maps: 7 maps each specific to the 7 continents have been added.

Expansion Packs Edit

So far, Burnt Skies has had 2 major expansion packs:

Aftermath Edit

Aftermath (presented on box as Burnt Skies: Aftermath) was the first major expansion pack for Burnt Skies. Aftermath adds in a wide range of new vehicles, maps and weapons, as well as more campaign missions.

In The Deep Edit

In the Deep is the second major expansion pack for Burnt Skies. In The Deep adds in a wide range of new vehicles, maps and weapons from the World War II Pacific war between Imperial Japan and the United States.

In The Deep is also the first DLC expansion pack released by Freefall Interactive.

Reception Edit

In The Deep has received strong critical praise, with critics citing that it "injects new life into the ever-popular vehicle sim" with its WWII-focus and new vehicles, weapons, and multiplayer levels. Critics point out that the new additions bring enough life to the game to warrant the $19.99 price tag. In The Deep received a Metascore of 85 on Metacritic. In The Deep currently holds a User Score of 8.4.

Counter Technologies BuyoutEdit

Shortly after Freefall Interactive was founded on 30th March 2013, Counter Technologies was bought out by Freefall Interactive. This provided FI with a powerful and large-scale game engine, the Counter Engine, which was later used in their flagship title.

The ContractEdit

After a game publishing conference, EA started to search for unorthodox publishing projects such as vehicle simulators and a new action franchise. This landed them the opportunity to publish what is now known as the largest debuting sleeper hit, Burnt Skies, which automatically made Freefall Interactive suitable for the job, since they owned the rights to the engine that EA wanted to use.

Ad CampaignEdit

Burnt Skies had a very large advertisement campaign. Distribution and publication was placed in the hands of EA, who believed that the game would do well compared to other combat vehicle simulators.

Game EngineEdit

The Counter Engine is considered to be one of the most powerful game engines on the market. EA DICE formerly elaborated on the engines features using technologies used in their own in-house Frostbite engine, before development was taken over by EA Tiburon, and eventually Freefall Interactive. Graphical features such as HBAO ambient occlusion, volumetric fog and satellite recognition technology were incorporated into the Counter Engine for use in Burnt Skies.

TechnologyEdit

The technology used in the Counter Engine is very similar to that of the Frostbite engine. Counter has a much larger rendering scale than the Frostbite engine, and EA have thought about abandoning the Frostbite engine altogether, but the Counter engine is not built for games such as the Battlefield series or other FPS games, due to it's aviation based technology.

FutureEdit

EA initally had thoughts of the next Need for Speed game to run on the Counter Engine, and it also to be developed by Freefall Interactive. However, this product was later given to Enchanted Gaming, with their unrelated product, Need For Speed: DNA.

System RequirementsEdit

Minimum:Edit

  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 (32 or 64 bit versions, optimized for 64 bit and multicore processors )
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8Ghz or AMD Athlon X2 2.4 Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8800GT and higher ; ATI radeon HD 3850 and higher
  • DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 16 GB HD space
  • Sound: Direct Sound Compatible
  • Other Requirements: Broadband Internet connection and software installation of and log-in to Games For Windows - LIVE

Recommended:Edit

  • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 (32 or 64 bit versions, optimized for 64 bit and multicore processors )
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-2600 or better, AMD FX 8350 or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 and higher ; ATI Radeon HD 4870 and higher
  • DirectX®: 10.1 and above
  • Hard Drive: 35GB
  • Sound: Direct Sound Compatible
  • Other Requirements: Broadband Internet connection and software installation of and log-in to Games For Windows - LIVE

ReviewsEdit

Burnt Skies has received universal praise, with all critics noting the depth of the game, the large scope, and very buffed out features. Very few complaints were issued, and all critics agree that Burnt Skies is one of the most expansive vehicle combat simulators they've ever seen.

IGN

"There's so much in Burnt Skies, it's literally impossible for me to try and explain it all. But what I can say is this: Play it. Even if you're not a fan of vehicle combat sims, this game is as complex or as simple as you want to make it. It's clear that Freefall Interactive put every last ounce of themselves into this project, and what you have at the end is one of the best gaming experiences of recent memory. This is how it's done, people. From the amazing multiplayer that will hook you and drag you in, to the epic single player campaign, this is an amazing game overall." OVERALL SCORE: 9.5/10

GAMESPOT

"This one likely won't appeal to non-combat sim fans, but for those who like the genre, this is just about as good as it gets. You've got an amazing amount of versions of this game, it's on almost every platform out right now, and it's huge! There's no reason not to own this - it's out on mobile phones, for Christ's sakes! It's a hell of a lot of fun, too. The combat is challenging, yet fun at the same time. No two vehicles control alike, and everything in the game feels refined and perfected, no doubt because of the extensive beta testing. This is truly one for the ages, and it probably won't sell as well as it deserves because of the gnere's popularity, but this game is a masterpiece. Period." OVERALL SCORE: 9/10

GAMETRAILERS

"It's a game that's epic in scope, and delivers on almost every front. How do you combat that? You don't, and that's why any smart developer wouldn't release a game against this. This is an experience you need to have for yourself.  Wow, just wow. That's all I can say. Most of the bugs in multiplayer got ironed out in the beta, and the few that remain will most likely be patched soon. That's literally the only complaint I can muster for this God of a game. Play it. Now." OVERALL SCORE: 9/10

Strategy GuideEdit

A Prima Strategy Guide is made available in Burnt Skies Legendary Edition and above. The strategy guide provides information on how to unlock specific vehicles, emblems, equipment, etc.

TacticsEdit

The strategy guide also provides useful tactics for various vehicle types. Air vehicles in particular, have many tactics available in the strategy guide for use in-game.

Easter EggsEdit

There are also certain hidden secrets hidden throughout singleplayer and co-op game modes, which creates it's own backstory. The backstory is loosely linked to the singleplayer and co-op campaign stories.

Burnt Skies PricesEdit

United StatesEdit

PCEdit

Burnt Skies - $34.99

Burnt Skies Special Edition - $39.99

Burnt Skies Veteran Edition - $44.99

Burnt Skies Legendary Edition - $49.99

Burnt Skies Original Edition - $54.99

Burnt Skies Aftermath - $59.99

PS3Edit

Burnt Skies - $34.99

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - $64.99

Xbox 360Edit

Burnt Skies - $34.99

Burnt Skies Live Edition - $49.99

Wii UEdit

Burnt Skies - $24.99

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - $29.99

PS VitaEdit

Burnt Skies - $39.99

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - $44.99

Nintendo 3DSEdit

Burnt Skies - $14.99

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - $19.99

United KingdomEdit

PCEdit

Burnt Skies - £22.99

Burnt Skies Special Edition - £25.99

Burnt Skies Veteran Edition - £29.99

Burnt Skies Legendary Edition - £32.99

Burnt Skies Original Edition - £35.99

Burnt Skies Aftermath - £29.99

PS3Edit

Burnt Skies - £22.99

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - £42.99

Xbox 360Edit

Burnt Skies - £22.99

Burnt Skies Live Edition - £32.99

Wii UEdit

Burnt Skies - £16.50

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - £19.99

PS VitaEdit

Burnt Skies - £25.99

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - £29.99

Nintendo 3DSEdit

Burnt Skies - £9.99

Burnt Skies Exclusive Edition - £12.99

Burnt Skies Box ArtEdit






Burnt Skies II Teaser PosterEdit

On April 5th 2013, a teaser poster of Burnt Skies II was released on Freefall's website. EA are having thoughts of developing a second Burnt Skies, but nothings will happen until the market release
Burnt Skies II Teaser Poster V3

Burnt Skies II teaser poster. Art by Erich Reese.

of Burnt Skies I.

Freefall Interactive's CEO, Joseph Finch, suggested that Freefall would not return for Burnt Skies II:

"Really, it all depends on the success of Burnt Skies One. Because as much as we would love to make a sequel, making Burnt Skies a reality was a long shot for us, and I still think that Burnt Skies has a possibility of being slated by the critics, despite positive reviews of the demo."

Joseph Finch,

Freefall Interactive


Joseph Finch has changed his mind due to success of Burnt Skies, but he confirms nothing will take place until Freefall are out of bankruptcy.

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