The pitch

Task Force admiral Vol.1: American Carrier Battles is a single-player experience centered on the command of an early Pacific War US Navy carrier task force. As the overall commander, you are in charge of seeking the destruction of the enemy naval forces and preventing your opponent, the Japanese Navy, from accomplishing its objectives. To achieve your aims, you have at your disposal the most fearsome sea projection weapon known to Man in 1942: your carrier air groups and the task forces that support them.

As a carrier task force admiral in this pioneering age of air/naval warfare, assume the mantle of retribution in this innovative interpretation of a classic topic, as the first title in a new series that will further explore and develop the genre. Forget about the limitations of the past, and let the best of wargaming and simulation blend and blossom together in this new take on command at sea! Re-live the great battles of the first year of the Pacific War as if you were there yourself. In here there is no dice roll, no artificial skill-tree, no arbitrary stats, selective fog of war or supernatural crystal-clear communications. It is real-time crisis management for you, realism and historicity without concession, as little abstraction as can be, and loads of action, suspense and refreshing gameplay packed in the same single computer software.

When and where does the game take place?

The game takes place during the first year of the Pacific War, from December 1941 to January 1943 all over the Central & South Pacific theaters. It allows the player to witness and experience the rise of carrier warfare, from its early, experimental days to its central role in the pivotal struggle for Guadalcanal. Task Force Admiral Vol.1: American Carrier Battles will simulate well-known engagements and what-ifs near iconic places such as Wake Island, Midway, New Guinea or Guadalcanal. As the player, you will be instrumental in the reverse of fortune that saw the American carrier force step into the fray and rise to its glory, avenging the trauma of Pearl Harbor by bringing the fight to the Japanese Combined Fleet.

During this short period, American carriers went through an ordeal that has become nothing short of legendary. USS Enterprise, as the most decorated ship in World War Two, received nine of her twenty battle honors between December 1942 and January 1943 alone, eventually earning twenty out of the twenty-two battle stars awarded in the whole Pacific theater. In this time-frame, out of the six pre-war fleet carriers engaged in the Pacific, four were sunk in action, and the remaining two had suffered extensive damage before the end of 1942 – Enterprise having been bombed three times, and Saratoga torpedoed twice. All the while, American carriers and their air groups accounted for four fleet and two light Japanese carriers, decimating the Japanese navy carrier elite and bringing the Japanese offensive momentum in the Pacific to a halt from which it never recovered. When the new American carriers and the two pre-war ships returned to action in 1943, carrier task forces were on the verge of becoming the fearsome weapon which eventually brought the Allies on their adversary’s doorstep and the Japanese Navy to its knees, less than two years later.

At a time when the US Navy’s supremacy at sea was challenged by an experienced and competent foe, and the story of its magnificent sailors and airmen was yet to be written, it is up to the player to make history again… or to fail miserably while trying so.

An innovative “Command Simulation” at Sea

At the crossroads of its influences, Task Force Admiral wants the player to experience the thrill and burden of leadership in combat, along with its most stressful and unexpected moments. The omnipresent uncertainty regarding the enemy forces – and your own! – will be carefully simulated and crafted into an authentic and yet captivating gameplay experience. The game time unit might be real-time, but this game is not made with a human octopus or a pro-gamer as the average user in mind. This will be pausable real-time, and there will be no click-fest involved: it is a game of wits, of nerves and of bets. The player will experience the very same challenges a commander at sea had to face, with more often than not time-limited intel, unreliable data and finite resources at hand.

Physically present in your flagship’s command post, the Flag Plot, the player’s avatar will follow the action from the standpoint of the Admiral, aka the Flag Officer. You will live through all the phases of the battle, from the early scouting to the spotting and the launch of your strikes, to the enemy’s own merciless attacks against your forces. Will you be able to keep your composure in the middle of a raid, when bombs fall all around you, while your massive flagship dodges air-launched torpedoes? Will you manage to stay in control of the situation when the boilers are knocked out, the lights go dark, the radios go silent, while your returning planes look desperately for their home-plate? Will you keep cool when it will be time to decide to launch another strike with your depleted air groups – or give up the pursuit entirely to fight another day?

Undertake this journey with us, and we will make sure to keep you hooked along the way!

Historical research

The team prides itself in the amount of research that was put in the creation of Task Force Admiral. We went to great lengths in order to recreate the era and the player’s environment with a maximum amount of flavor and authenticity. Dozens of books, hundreds of pages of actual archives and logs were read and digested in order to provide the player with a convincing experience like no other. Our game will feature an extensive bibliography and a companion manual that will make good use of this knowledge amassed over years of careful reading.

Thanks to this historical approach, the player will be asked to relive actual command crisis together side by side with the actual participants who took part in them. Your avatar will work with your staff and face all kinds of issues, whether they are scripted or randomly generated. As the Flag Officer, your job is to tackle any problem that will arise in the heat of the action from enemy action, a lack of intel, a lack of resources or even a lack of judgement. Eventually, it will be your responsibility to find an uneasy compromise, make an educated guess or simply decide to cut the knot, just as your historical alter-egos had to.

Whenever possible, we will always give the priority to actual sources over our own idea of a given topic – but we do not hold the truth, nor infinite wisdom, far from it. In that regard, we are thankful for any help we receive from the community every time someone is in a position to help us with additional or more accurate data. Our big thanks to all those who helped already, and thanks in advance to those who will!

Game modes

Task Force Admiral Volume 1 will be released with a single-player, US Navy-only focus. It will feature the following contents:

  • Around 30 single scenarios built around historical battles and what-ifs. These battles will cover the following areas:
    • Wake, Marcus, Midway, Gilberts & Marshall islands and the South Pacific theater (SOPAC) that includes eastern New Guinea, New Britain, New Hebrides and the Solomon islands chain ;
    • Historical engagements and what ifs will include Wake, the Early Raids, the Doolittle raid, Coral Sea, Midway, Watchtower, the Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz and other Solomon islands-based action throughout 1942 ;
  • A random quick-battle generator that will allow the player to generate a new engagement based on a few choices (map, mission, opposition, etc…) ;
  • A full-fledged scenario builder which will be the very same one we will use to make our own single scenarios ;
  • An after-action replay system that will allow you to take a step back after the battle and analyze its ins and outs, with a free camera and access to all the logs ;
  • A savegame function that will allow you to jump right back at a certain point in action to try new tactics.

Graphics & Audio

Even though our game will not shy away from its wargaming roots, we consider graphics and audio both to be core features of our project, along with features more frequently encountered in the genre. By making sure that Task Force Admiral is a pretty and immersive experience, we make certain that the final work will be a balanced act in terms of style and substance, capable of appealing to our traditional player base and possibly enlarge our audience. Our game will feature top of the line, industry-grade competitive graphics at its release – just like its predecessors of the 1980s-90s did in their own time. Still, while doing so, we vouch that it will under no condition come at the expense of historicity and hardcore gameplay features.

The game uses an engine developed in-house, named Plankton. The use of our own custom tools allow more flexibility in development, easier debugging and a much better overall development efficiency. Regularly updated in order to stay at the top of its features and answer our engineering needs, Plankton allows for a detailed re-creation of air ops and naval ops, including features such as dynamic weather and AI-powered WW2 combat. Thanks to its flexibility and potential, Plankton provide the Task Force Admiral series with one of the most advanced and promising engines in the wargaming genre, through the tailor-made and fine-tuned solutions it brings to our team.

Audio is also an important part of the player’s immersion, and it will not be forgotten. A convincing sound library will make sure that the player has the chance to feel himself involved in the action. The environment and distance-dependent sound engine will ensure that the experience feels coherent and intuitive. At the same time, game pacing will benefit a punchy soundtrack closely following the mood of the action. The tension, the friction encountered in key-episodes in the flow of the game will thus be further highlighted in order to provide a cinematic-grade experience, contributing in no small way to the sensitive and cognitive involvement of the player. We want to strive in the visual and audio departments so that the player will enjoy a complete, believable 360 degrees experience from his command quarters.

The Future: even before we get there, what’s next?

Further expansions will make the Japanese side playable with all its characteristics (including doctrine, portraits, voices & scenarios), explore multiplayer venues and add new game modes, possibly at other scales. We intend to make Vol.1 : American Carrier battles the first game in a line of products that will eventually allow the engine to handle all the aspects of World War 2 at sea, in the Pacific and elsewhere – although, naturally, it is a bit early to tell! For now, we will focus on the on-going development and try to deliver a proper, well received game first – and only then we will see what actually comes next.

For more information regarding our design choices and our future plans, please refer to our dedicated design and FAQ pages on this site. Thanks!

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