This is great news! The PC needs a Combat Jet Game again, the genre has been stagnant for much too long.
Some options that I hope will be included either out the box or as user/server selectable options:
1) Comprehensive Viewing System with Player to Target, Player to Missile, Chase views etc.
All these views should have the ability to have the full HUD Overlay on.
These games have amazing graphics, and just as in car sims the ability to fly with your jet on the screen and still manage every part of the game just fine goes a long way toward immersion and 3D Spatial Awareness for the average joe.
2) Usability nods to the Average Joe. The reason that the Combat Flight Sim market has collapsed is the over-emphasis on 'Realism', which I've always thought impossible on a 2D monitor anyway. The visual cues of peripheral vision, and just regular inner ear balance and G-Forces (am I upside down? leaning to the right or left? which way do I have to pull to turn into the bandit now...?) all work together in a real cockpit to orient the pilot. Lacking all these non-visual cues, I have always felt games need to invent good ways to maintain the normal 3D Spatial awareness that a pilot would feel. This would normally involve numerous additional visual cues. Picture in Picture windows showing the attitude of your aircraft while you are in cockpit view, external tracking views orienting your plane in the foreground to your target in the background, external tracking views that focus on incoming missiles, etc. Most of the newer Console sims have some of these, but none of them have all of them. The IL2 series' visual cues and beginner friendly cockpit-less views did this the best in my opinion, making the series accessible to all skill levels.
3) A Decent Storyline - Don't think we have to worry about this with Tom Clancy, but allowing some replayability would help as well. A good example of a game that grabbed me and didn't let go until the end was the classic Strike Commander series. Another game that involved Mercenaries fighting for Corporations/ countries.
4) Adjustable Difficulty / included cheats - Just my general feeling on all games. Everyone that spends their 50 - 60 US should be able to finish their Single Player game. EVERYONE. Even the guy with two left thumbs. Difficulty settings work, but some people will always find some missions difficult even on Easy, and sadly a poll a few years back showed that most people complete only 20% of the games they purchase, and a lot is due to getting stuck. 'Cheating' to me is a misnomer in SINGLE PLAYER. However having typical 'God Mode' or 'Infinite Ammo'/'infinite fuel' mode always helps. Those that don't need these crutches simply don't ever use them.
Those that would complain about people racking up Single Player - Competitive Achievement points when using these, just make it impossible to ding achievement points if these cheats are on. It's really simple, and you'd be surprised how many people would care less if it means they can get through a tough part in a game without having to try a mission 20 times when their wife wants them to deal witht he baby, take out the trash or they just have an hour at lunch and want to let loose. They could always refly these tough missions at a later date without any assists, or even at a higher difficulty level.
Giving players options, and ensuring they all complete the Single Player should be a goal.
5)Ability to Modify Planes and WeaponsPC Version - The ability to adjust statistics (simple XML/LUA files have worked in the past) and to create Missions would ensure the game's sales on the platform and it's longevity. It will also make it a darling of the 'hard core' crowd who could tweak flight dynamics to the nth degree and endlessly argue about the power to weight ratio of the F16 vs the EF2000 and have loads of fun in their own little way doing it ;-)
6) Mission Creator - Again addressing the title's longevity, allowing the PC version (may be too much to ask for the Console) to allow user created missions with objectives, custom voice overs/text etc. would also be great. This shouldn't impact sales of future versions, or expansion packs as it is rare for customers not to purchase an Official Expansion or version 2 due to mods. Mods can only help sales and keeping your game current for minimal to no ongoing resource investment on the part of the Developer/Publisher aside from the initial time to create the necessary systems.
See the business model of titles such as Neverwinter Nights for this approach. This game is still on the shelves and being purchased with ongoing user created content over 5 years later! Sales of the company's own Premium Modules didn't suffer as a result of user available mods either.
7) Co-Op Mission Creator - again, allowing user created goals, mission objectives etc. in missions that can be flown Co-Op.
This will allow the formation of Online Squadrons who could create ongoing Battles and online Campaigns against each other.
Having Canned Co-Op missions get old after a while and limits the creation of intense and integrated Team/Squadron based Multiplayer Interactions on the Internet.
Again, this shouldn't terribly impact sales of Co-Op missions, and such a concern would certainly would be a non factor in a PC version, or even a PS3 version.
Xbox Live appears to be the only place that developers seem to push these 10US$ Co-Op maps anyways.
<LI>Accessibility (views, Situation Awareness helpers etc.),
<LI>Casual Friendly through difficulty levels
<LI>Mod Friendly (ensure PC/PS3 sales) [/list]
are some goals that I am hoping the development team are able to meet with this title.
All the above can be used/not used as the individual player/group requires, but every feature further broadens the player base and thus the income earning potential of the release, both immediate and longterm.