Battlestations: Pacific Preview - The Battle of Santa Cruz

We take a look at the follow-up to Battlestations: Midway and how it will re-create a historically crucial World War II battle.

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2007's Battlestations: Midway was an unusual game that combined action and strategy on the Pacific front of the world's greatest war. The air-sea battles between Japanese and American forces provided an opportunity to offer hybrid gameplay that included flying a fighter plane to run raids on Japanese battleships as well as strategically deploying your own vessels out of port. Battlestations: Pacific will expand on its predecessor by picking up after the Battle of Midway. It will offer even more explosive action-strategy gameplay, along with the option to play as both US and Japanese forces, and it will offer new historical battles to fight, such as the Battle of Santa Cruz, which took place in October of 1942, four months after Midway. In this preview, we'll take a brief historic look at the battle and what it means for the game that will attempt to reproduce it.

Battlestations: Pacific will offer even more air-and-sea battles of World War II.

The Battle of the Santa Cruz islands was a pivotal conflict that resulted in severe losses for both combatants. While Midway ended with the decisive defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy at Midway Atoll, Santa Cruz resulted in a severe blow dealt to Japanese air power--at the cost of the US Navy's prized carrier, the USS Hornet. The battle seemed like a clear-cut tactical victory for the Japanese, since the loss of the carrier was a devastating blow to American military holdings in the Pacific...but the Japanese forces lost many fighter planes, and, more importantly, many veteran pilots, while US forces lost far fewer by comparison. These losses would add up to be a severe disadvantage for the Japanese later in the war.

The stage, such as it was, was set for a potentially glorious victory for Japanese forces, whose previous raid on Pearl Harbor expanded their influence, even as the nation's relatively large forces were positioned to decimate, if not eliminate, the relatively small US forces emplaced in the area. US forces came into the battle with a goal of surviving--to hold out as long as possible and destroy as much of the enemy fleet as possible.

The battle began with the odds stacked in Japan's favor, as the nation's forces moved to Guadalcanal to support its already-installed army, while the US fleet, including the USS Enterprise and the USS Hornet, was sent in to intercept Japanese forces, ending up in the vicinity of Santa Cruz Island. The battle was an air-and-sea skirmish that lasted some four hours, resulting in severe damage to two Japanese carriers and the loss of more than 100 pilots and fighter planes, while the Hornet was sunk and the Enterprise was damaged.

In the game, this massive battle will take place on a virtual battlefield roughly 20,000 square feet in size. Santa Cruz is part of the US campaign, and you'll start out playing as the US forces with the USS Enterprise and all its flight wings, from which you can launch F4F Wildcat fighters, TBF Avenger torpedo bombers, and SBD Dauntless dive-bombers. Later in the mission, you'll receive reinforcements in the form of the USS South Dakota. However, you'll begin this challenging mission overmatched, just as the US forces were historically, against Japanese forces with multiple carriers, Zero fighters, Kate torpedo bombers, and Val dive-bombers, as well as a supplemental force of four battleships that are probably best left alone.

Your objective will be to get airborne as soon as you can to repel Japanese air assaults and later mount an air offensive of your own against the two Japanese carriers. With the help of the South Dakota's heavy guns, you'll actually have a fighting chance of pulling this off. Unfortunately, the Enterprise will take a hit as it did in the historical battle, so your job will be to defend it as it makes a retreat and later scuttle the torpedoed Hornet to prevent the Japanese from commandeering the vessel.

You'll take charge of the mighty USS Enterprise and the aircraft that launch from its flight wings.

Because of the open-ended nature of the Battlestations games, despite the sequence of historical events that will be scripted to take place, you'll still have plenty of different ways to play the mission. For instance, you can attempt to aggressively focus your attention on flying fighter plane assaults on the Japanese troops, first repelling their aircraft, then later zeroing in on their carrier vessels--though this approach will leave your bombers without air cover. Or, when the South Dakota arrives, you can instead use air patrols to protect the vessel and use the ship's heavy artillery to start blasting enemy ships out of the water. In any case, you'll be required to protect the Enterprise and sink at least one enemy carrier, though achievements are offered for defeating more enemies and completing a side mission of a naval assault using two US destroyers.

Battlestations: Pacific will offer two full single-player campaigns for both sides of the war, which will, in total, include 28 single-player historical battles. The game's multiplayer will offer five different modes of play on a number of different maps. The game is scheduled to ship early next year.

Discussion

61 comments
Darklord9193
Darklord9193

another thing chernuska is right had Hitler taken Russia he would have had his own fortress with huge amounts of resources at his finger tips

Darklord9193
Darklord9193

georgeie while the Shermans weren't as powerful as the tiger tanks they were faster then them..it was really one of the few things the shermans had to their advantage.

evratto
evratto

This game is set in the history-based constraints that affect the outcome of the game.... a bit outa my taste.

Arcana_Dei
Arcana_Dei

Man I hope that theyll have the Battle of Tarawa... My Grandpa flew in that battle, and i think it would be cool to have a glimpse of what happened... even though it wont be exact...

valeria_victrix
valeria_victrix

georgeie, I think you are pretty much completely wrong on every point. ALL of the destroyers made it across the Atlantic (it would take you 10 seconds to look that up) and only a few of them were sunk by u-boats (and none of them on the initial trip). Lend Lease was quite successful. While Shermans were less powerful than (I assume you meant) Panthers and Tigers, they were competitive in 1941/42, when they helped save North Africa. Also, citing the Sherman tank as the only evidence of Lend Lease failure shows a lack of understanding of the program. Most of the aid was supplies (food and ammunition) and transportation (trucks and transport aircraft).

Enigma_Ltd
Enigma_Ltd

Good call, Zarcon. 100% percent accurate as well. Same as with the Western and Eastern fronts in WWII. Neither could have been won without the other. Germany had the best equipped, well-trained, and best led army of the war. Without the two fronts to occupy, Germany would have easily crushed all opposition. Even if Germany had still lost at Stalingrad and been pushed back, without the Western front, Russia's offensive would have been stopped dead in it's tracks. The only reason it was so effective was because Germany had overextended itself, something that would not have happened if there had been no Western front. Likewise, Allied Forces would never have made it out of Normandy against the full force of the Third Reich if the Eastern front had not diverted enough attention.

Zarcon94
Zarcon94

Mikees, why do you think Germany surrendered then? It had enough troops, as all the ones previously on the eastern front were allowed to swing around and hit the western front. If the US didn't have any extra troops in there, the British and French most likely wouldn't have been able to put up with the new, energized offensive. No, if the US hadn't entered the war, then the germans most likely would have been able to break through with their new tactics. Those said tactics took small, highly trained squads, and used them to hit trenches, instead of en-masse assaults. And it worked a lot. If there had been no reinforcements from the US, the Germans most likely would have been able to break through, like I said. I think you need to go back and look at your history mikees. History proves that the US did help. They did not have won the war by themselves, I never said that. But without the US, the British and French would have eventually collapsed. Look up: The Ludendorff Offensive Stormtrooper Tactics (not Star Wars, german shock troops) 2nd Battle of the Marne

mikees1
mikees1

Thats rubbish and you know it ZARCON! The first world war was a stalemate when it ended so how did the U.S decide it? Nah, i think you need to go back and do your history again. The Americans entered the war,didnt listen to us(the British) when we told them the tactics they were about to use had been used and rejected as wrong in the begining of the the war. They subsequently used said tactics and realised why,while we sat and said told you so! All the U.S did was give us an extra voice to hammer out and agreement/armastice.

georgeie
georgeie

Sir Trafalgar Short note - that lend-lease thing didnt work, but it was a nice idea. The american shermans sent to Europe were weaker, slower and less heavily armed than the British churchills and Nazi panzers & tigers. Ok the planes sent to russia worked, but the destroyers sent to join the british navy never even made it across the atlantic, picked off by U-boats they couldnt even see as they rolled about in waves too short for them to ride. (short wave means not much time from the crest of one to the next, atlantic generally has a lot 'shorter' waves than the pacific the destroyers were made for) Apart frm that, nah, brits didnt have much of a naval presence in the pacific, just indonesia, with the entire East India fleet... Oh, and the thousands of troops in indonesia / asia that ended up captured by superior numbers. Japanese prisoners building bridges? theres a film about that somewhere... No hard feelings?

Sir_Trafalgar
Sir_Trafalgar

Okay I dunno why the Soviet Union was even mentioned for winning the war when it comes to a game in the pacific. First the Soviet Union didn't declare war on Japan till 1945 and before then a few American bomber crews were captured by the Soviets and held while the Soviets reverse engineered the B-29 the crew was flying. When Russia did finally declare war in 1945 they captured North Korea. Id also like to point out that the Soviets or the British would never have lasted had it not been for the American Lend Lease policy. The Soviets would probably have been forced to retreat further back leaving their industrial centers behind probably forming a line at the Ural Mountains with out Lend Lease. If you really wanna know how the Allies won the war it was a group effort, Russian manpower (numbers), American manufacturing ability, and British Intelligence. As far as the Pacific goes it was Americans, Aussies, British, Chinese. With most of the heavy lifting going to the American Navy. Had this game been named the Battle of Jutland I doubt the Yanks would cry foul that they aren't being represented, they know they were not there hell most don't even know about it but still not the point this game is about the battle of Santa Cruz.

raven28690
raven28690

i liked the first game so im looking forward to this one. the graphics from the screenshots of pacific look very promising so far.

Enginerd000
Enginerd000

1 mile = 5280 ft 1 square mile = (5280 ft)^2 1 square mile = 27878400 square ft 20,000 square ft is less than 27,878,400 square ft

Chrypt22
Chrypt22

""20,000 square feet in size" ?! I think the author got that wrong. That's not even a mile by a mile square." Youre right its more like 14 square miles... there are 5,280 ft in a mile, and congrats... you now have become my new signature.

El_Trombe
El_Trombe

oflow has right,,, if it weren't the russians...there to attract axis... usa & uk would have a very hard time...

Cyberdactyl137
Cyberdactyl137

"20,000 square feet in size" ?! I think the author got that wrong. That's not even a mile by a mile square.

Zarcon94
Zarcon94

The Germans would have won in the Eastern front, but two things happened: The Russian winter arrived and the Russians brought up a ****load of troops. Then, after losing an entire army in Stalingrad, much in the same way Russia lost two armies in WWI in Tannenberg (I think I spelled that right), the Germans were pushed back. And back. And back. Also, While the other allies didn't have ground troops, they did support resistance movements, and were doing hundreds of aerial sorties in the Mediterranean and Fortress Europe. And to the beginning of this argument, the US was isolationist before WWI and WWII. Only events which suddenly affected the US gave the government an excuse to go to war, as the public then supported it. With the First one, it was all the unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmerman Telegram. In the Second one, it was Pearl Harbor. But even though the US joined so late in the Wars, we did actually provide that last bit of 'oomph' to push germany over. If not, Germany would have won WWI because they would have been able to push through British and French lines. If they hadn't helped in WWII, the Japanese would have been able to take most of the pacific and then support Germany, and there wouldn't have been enough troops for D-Day (US had Omaha AND Utah, remember, not to mention the 101st and 82nd airborne landing in Normandy.) So yes, Britain is important for pulling together the war in the beginning, the North African theater, for example. But the US is responsible for bringing in that last punch for the KO. And, the Americans did participate in a lot of battles, so that means more material. And the British have a nation in Navy Field, a campaign in CoD 1, 2, and 3, and they had missions in Sudden Strike, and they had a faction in Rush for Berlin, and Blitzkrieg 1. Not to mention Codename: Panzers. Is that enough games for you?

oflow
oflow

lol the Russians had the German army in pretty much full retreat and back-peddling after Stalingrad (bloodiest battle in history) and Kursk (largest tank battle in history) all of which happened a long time before D-Day. Hitler tried focusing on the eastern front and lost basically because the Russians had more men and eventually better tanks than Germany. T-34s were being massed produced and though great, every German Tiger and Panther that got destroyed couldnt be replaced. It was more like the Germans were retreating to surrender to the west to avoid Soviet revenge. The Soviets pretty much pushed all German aggression back to Berlin, not by Hitler's choice. By the time D-Day happened, the writing was already on the wall for Germany. Had they fought solely in the eastern theater, yes, the battles would have been incredibly bloodier but the Germans were outmanned and still would have lost even if D-Day had never happened. Also, if anything, the Western Front almost folded at the Battle of the Bulge and probably would have if it werent for Patton.

marentes
marentes

looks good, but lacks something

bscott216
bscott216

Chernuska, you are 100% correct. Good job.

-Chernuska-
-Chernuska-

bevo82 Posted Jan 1, 2009 9:52 pm GMT "The war was won on the Eastern Front" 1. Ever heard of Omaha Beach? Normandy? D-Day? Without that invasion in the west, Hitler could have focused on the eastern front and the Russians might not have been successful. Things were far more challenging for the Russians before June 6, 1944. 2. The war was not over when Germany surrendered. Japan was still fighting. What did Russia do in the Pacific? 3. The US fought a war not on two fronts, but in two complete theaters of war which were a world apart. 4. Only E. Germany and part of Berlin ended up in communism after the war. The US helped both Japan and W. Germany rebuild as free nations. Hi, Well Germany was defeated in Russia before the war in the West(D-day) was going on. Germany lost war in 1942 with the lost of a whole army (6) in Stalingrad, and afther that the biggest tank battle of WW2 in Kursk. I dont even mention the road to Moskow and the batlle for the oilfields in the east that was also lost.The Russians had millons of troops and endless t-34 tanks that was easy to build(best WW2 tank).See some real documention for Stalingrad and you will see. That was the most ugly battle in WW2. And i think when the Western troops didn,t come to help i think Russia would clame all the western parts. Look at operation market garden. It was a failure. Also dont forget that Stalin asked the US/UK etc for help(second front) in 1941 but he didn,t got any help. Only when the US/Uk saw that Russia run over the Germans in 1944 they launched D-Day. Dont get me wrong the Western counter parts did a very good job. For me they prevent that we in EU fell under a communist system. Greetz

lageste
lageste

1.Lets be clear i am not denegrating the sacrifice on the western front whatsoever, and the contribution it made towards speeding the defeat of Germany, the fact of the matter is however that we westerners for a large part claim we defeated Hitler which is a gross overstatement. The german Military might was cripled by the east, it was that very fact that allowed the western front to be opened as the coup de grace. The units stationed in the west were low quality, or refitting for the east, of course the western front meant that the Germans had to redeploy forces from the east to the west, nonetheless the east was where the war was fought and won. 2.i agree with your point, but remember China and Russia and many other countries were involved in fighting Japan, but the war in the Pacific was most definately won by the US Navy. 3. Agreed. 4. I think you need to look again at what constitutes Eastern Europe, lol, because you are totally innacurate. Poland, Hungary,Slovakia, Yugoslavia and on and on and on were occupied by communist forces and effectively annexed. Thus leading to the cold war, as a direct consequence of Russia defeating Germany.

bevo82
bevo82

"The war was won on the Eastern Front" 1. Ever heard of Omaha Beach? Normandy? D-Day? Without that invasion in the west, Hitler could have focused on the eastern front and the Russians might not have been successful. Things were far more challenging for the Russians before June 6, 1944. 2. The war was not over when Germany surrendered. Japan was still fighting. What did Russia do in the Pacific? 3. The US fought a war not on two fronts, but in two complete theaters of war which were a world apart. 4. Only E. Germany and part of Berlin ended up in communism after the war. The US helped both Japan and W. Germany rebuild as free nations.

lageste
lageste

i always get a giggle out of Brits crying about the Yanks not accurately depicting the war, Which i actually agree with, but remember that everything is bias, and what the brits (and i'm a brit) fail to see out of their little box, is that the war wasn't won on the western front by either the Yanks or the Brits, The war was won on the eastern front, something that is convienently forgotten by most westerners, the western front when it was finally opened was a side show, and the coup de grace, not the pivot both Brits and Yanks blow their bugles about. Take a look at troop deployment for the German forces then tell me where the war was fought and by who. And Most people with Intellect will assert that in the End "we" lost the war, we liberated half of Europe from Fascist occupation, and put the rest into communist occupation, lol. GREAT victory!....... now come the rants...... ;)

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

An avid fan of the first Battlestations game I am looking forward to this sequel. The graphics look much sharper and improved over Midway and I hope that there is a story to this one.

MATTH3Wzapa
MATTH3Wzapa

looks ok... i like that you can control an entire aircraft carrier

blackhawk8924
blackhawk8924

yeah, its way down near the bottom, but, to tidyspidey, they did say that the british captured an enigma first. at the very beginning of the end credits, they gave a time line of who caught enigmas.... british were on the list before the capture of the u-571. but, later on in the war, the americans were the ones who captured the u-505 by Adm. Gallery

sextus1
sextus1

The truth is that after WW1, the US nation became isolationist and anything to do with Europe was not of their concern. Roosevelt campaigned to keep US out but he quickly realized that this would be impossible. H helped Britain directly in Lend-Lease to protect the Atlantic convoys. Pearl Harbour was his flash point to get the nation to change it's mind and got to war.

Darklord9193
Darklord9193

I really cant say i disagree but it was the government who didn't care. Some of the people were angry because we weren't in WW2.

newnhamlea1
newnhamlea1

Not trying to start a flame war, but the U.S.A couldnt have cared less about WW2 until pearl harbour. They had to be forced into war. Same with WW1. America never does anything until it directly concerns them.

WIEN1959
WIEN1959

like the first one,cant waite on this one.but demo where cool.and i hope more multie play maps after game is going gold

milkmanskid
milkmanskid

For all of the obvious europeons putting in their two cents. Simply put, we don't want to focus on the rest of the world that was engaged in battle. Although we pay omage to the rest of the world. America is the country where most of these games are developed so unfortunatley we like to see it from our POV. Instead of b*tching about us, b*tch to all of the game developers where you live to make a game from your POV. We are proud of our history and through history comes one of the greatest real stories and thats WWII. For anyone who doesn't like it then don't play the damn things and play Gay's of war.

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

.... oh, and don't even get me started on U-571 and the Enigma machine. Funny how the film didn't tell you the British captured an Enigma waaaaaay before U-571 and were already deciphering it's code, but then that wouldn't have been very "Hollywood" would it!?

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

Agreed mikees1 - why is it always so obsessively the American story focused on in World War 2? They conveniently forget the massive sacrifice of countless millions of Europeans before "the cavalry" arrived....

Shawn970
Shawn970

hey.. Does this game available for DEMO VERSION?........ Or will the stock reach Malaysia? How much does the game cost??? By the way

I-am-the-Panda
I-am-the-Panda

Looks good, we needed a preview not a history lesson though!

mikees1
mikees1

Why oh why is it always the Americans? They didnt join the war until 41 and they certainly were not the only nation fighting in the pacific theatre and to top it all most of the developers on this game are Brits so why have they left our (more proffesional) forces out? There was the odd one or two British ships in the first one so im eager to see if there are any in this i do hope so because i cant really engage myself to fight for another mans country!

theRhedd
theRhedd

"In the game, this massive battle will take place on a virtual battlefield roughly 20,000 square feet in size." Wow, really? 20 THOUSAND square feet? Heheh. Going to be one heck of a tight battleground, then, since 20,000 sq ft is about 141 feet on a side, and the Enterprise herself is 1,123 ft long. Game looks awesome, but someone needed a proofreader. ^_^

Palantas
Palantas

Neat. I agree with Brickett that Midway needed an option for custom tactical skirmishes.

u8nogard
u8nogard

Looks interesting, and hopefully promising.

BikerPunk
BikerPunk

Midway was great but got old fast. i found there to be a bit of a steep learning curve for those who didnt play these kinds of games before. Hopefully they have improved the games to make it a bit more enjoyable. i loved it at first, hated it within the month....

Brickett
Brickett

I liked the first, but it really needed a skirmish mode to add some more replayability. This sequel better have one.

Dogar230
Dogar230

Can't wait to play this. The first attempt wasn't so hot from what I saw in the demo. But hopefully lessons have been learned. I'm surprised a sequel was green lighted. It seems like a niche game if there ever was one, but I'm glad it's coming. Naval and air battles are cool :) Hopefully they can use the engine for a sci-fi style game after this is made, too. Perhaps approach Lucasarts for a Battlestations: Star Wars game?

Victor_N
Victor_N

jagcivtec: I suggest you play BS: Midway, it wasnt an awesome game but i think it was good so I would try if I were you...

jagcivtec
jagcivtec

I didnt play ''BS Midway'' even though im a military and simulator fan cause the reviews were not too positive. If reviews are better with this one Ill try it. It looks interesting.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

The graphics seem to have been improved from the original game. I loved Midway and hope that Pacific proves to be as challenging and fun. Midway was much overlooked and still is a great game to play over and over.

gijas
gijas

Ah, if you can't fight the war the way you want to then what's the point? I mean isn't about the "what if's"

majere613
majere613

Have to agree that the pre-scripting sounds bleh. If I manage to organise my CAP and fly my fighter well enough that no bombers get through to the Enterprise, suddenly being told she's been hit when I can see she hasn't been is a deal-breaker, right there.