Ace Patrol is the second game (after Haunted Hollow, which releases on iOS devices May 2) from Firaxis designed from the ground up to be a mobile title. Conceived, designed and programmed by Sid Meier himself, the game immerses players in strategic WWI air-combat scenarios and lets players pilot up to 30 vintage and historical WWI aircrafts through 120 different missions.
Speaking to Polygon, Firaxis' associate producer, Pete Murray said part of the reason why the WWI theme was chosen was because the developers felt there was lots of "cool gameplay associated with it."
"There was such a variety of aircraft types from the time because people were still experimenting with what worked," he told Polygon. "There were all these different planes you could choose from that affected your approach. Some planes were really fast and strong, but didn't turn very well. Some weren't nearly as fast but were extremely maneuverable. So this gives you a bunch of different planes you can choose from in terms of how you approach the maneuvers."
"You have to find some way to break somebody off from the pack. You need pilots who can support each other."
According to Murray, the turn-based strategy game will require players to "always think two moves ahead" so they can plan and strategize over the best way to maximize damage to their opponents. A player's choice of pilots, planes and upgrades can greatly determine the outcome of the game, and they will have to use the "thinking two moves ahead" strategy when deciding where to deploy their pilots.
"For example, you shouldn't let somebody fly off and take on the world by themselves because you can't take on two aircrafts with a single aircraft," Murray said. "You have to find some way to break somebody off from the pack. You need pilots who can support each other."
As players build up their teams of pilots and upgrade them with different sets of skills, the pilots will complement each other in a variety of ways, and it is up to the player to figure out what is the best way to use them.
"There will be some scenarios where you might be able to muscle your way through them without thinking strategically, but if you do that it'll be like in XCOM where you lose three members of your squad and you have a guy who's wounded for 14 days," Murray said. "It's like, yes, you finished the mission, good job, but you did something fundamentally wrong."
Murray said there's a lot of strategy in the game, and those who are fans of Firaxis' turn-based style games will be able to "get their teeth into it."
The game will have a single-player mode, two-player hot-pad mode and asynchronous multiplayer through Game Center. The initial tutorial campaign will be free to download, and players can purchase the British campaign for $0.99. The game will be free to download on the iTunes App Store May 9.