Exhibit - F-16 Aggressor
Behind the scenes with Bob Roberts on F-16 Aggressor (1999)
Bob "De Janitor" Roberts was involved in the development of this sim and offers here some insight into the corporate machinations which can put a product on the shelves before reaching it's full potential...
" The project was started by the swell guys at General Simulations Incorporated Ltd.
At the time, ( 1998 ) Falcon 4.0 had not made it's scheduled debut and we were banking on the fact that it would continue to be delayed. Turns out that we were right.
Anyway, the primary focus of the producer and designers then was to have a top-notched Flight Model with a massive array of weaponry (There were all kinds of AGMs and such included - ALQs were to be put in with a bunch of other stuff BUT... more on that later) and at E3 1998, we had shown it off to the world.
Seems like it had caught the eye of someone in the military branch (specifics I don't know) but shortly after (May - June) , we had been told that there were issues with it's modelling and we had to remove them.
Remember the ad "Modeling so realistic that the military had asked us to remove them? " ... or words to that effect? : )
Well, since all the time was really focused into making a great sim starting with the Flight Model, one can imagine where this is going - and yes, another Sabre Acewas born. To make matters worse, Electronic Artshad then acquired Westwood and the rest of VIE's products (Oct) and lineups.
For those who didn't remember, the parent company Viacom had put Virgin Interactiveup for sale over the last 22 months. WSJ had reported that Eidos had bought Virgin Interactiveat E3 in 1998 but then, from speculation, there was a fallout over a few (million) dollars.
They dumped F-16 Aggressor:
"... because we have Janes Combat Simulations" and acquired further rights for the scheduled "Recoil" from Zipper Interactive. ( If you remember, Recoil was already in the OEM market via Diamond's MonsterSound MX300 package FIRST and EA didn't release it till a couple of months later...)
Going back to F-16 Aggressor, we had been sold out, and word came from the top ...
"Sorry - but we've got to finish this tomorrow."
Understand that there wasn't much of a choice as the company had some internal financial struggles (not directly VIE but the parent company Viacom if I remember right) while General Simulations Incorporated Ltd.had other titles like Wings Of Destiny in the works.
Without further funding and with the urgency or a massive worldwide re-organization of the company (hundreds of folks were given pink slips so to say) so that there could be a MBO (Management Buy-Out), the project ceased and not too long after, General Simulations Incorporated Ltd.had disbanded.
Wings Of Destinywas signed on by Psygnosis- and you know how that went! Someone had just "finished" what basically was unfinished code...
What I remember off the top of my head was that in F-16 Aggressorthere was supposed to be an A2A radar and A2G mode, ECM additions and a working padlock view.
F-16 Aggressorversion 2.0 was supposed to feature the much touted "Dynamic Campaign".
... needless to say that didn't happen.
The only 3 folks that I know of that got an alpha build of the title were Rod White for PCME then, Avault and heheh - PC-Arena.com.
Next time you're in the store and see that box, read the comments on the cover.
: ) .
The bottom line : VIE wasn't really to be blamed for this botched title. Call them a victim of circumstance.
It's been about 2 years now... and I had remembered those days fondly... somewhat. *Sigh!* Even with it's problems, I'm still proud to have my name in the credits. "
Bob "De Janitor" Roberts