If anyone is qualified to create a hardcore simulation, it's VSTEP Software. The developers at VSTEP have created simulation software for years for government and private industry alike, so it is only natural that they should apply their considerable expertise to entertainment sims. Ship Simulator Extreme is the developer's latest entry in the franchise, and as series fans would expect, realism is the main focus here. And if you are new to the series, consider this: Ship Simulator Extremes features 32 vessels created from actual blueprints, and they react to the waves that undulate beneath them just as a real ship would. That's the kind of authenticity on offer here, which means that sim fans will likely take to it like a fish to water.
The various vessels included in Ship Simulator Extremes run the gamut. Tug boats, oil tankers, and even coast guard cutter ships are simulated in the game, and the larger ships can even deploy smaller ones. You can control multiple ships at once across nine different expansive seafaring environments, including those near Rotterdam, Sydney, and New York. Not only will you sail those vessels, but you can leave the helm and explore the various nooks and crannies of your ship. The environments and ships are not the only completely authentic elements, however: the planets and stars you see shining above you will also be completely simulated.
The sailing will be woven through three different story campaigns and 24-player free-roam maps. (Co-op missions will be added after the game's release, according to VSTEP chief marketing officer Frank Dolmans.) We got details on two of these three single-player campaigns. In one, you sail a cruise liner to ports such as Marseilles and Bora Bora. Not only do you need to keep your passengers happy, but you must cope with finding replacement parts and putting out fires. The Greenpeace campaign sounds more intriguing, however. Here, you will sail the Antarctic seeking to put a stop to the illegal whaling occurring there. These missions are based on actual circumstances, and the game's unlockable rewards include interviews with the captains who experienced these scenarios. Less-interesting unlockables include postcards and newspaper clippings that proclaim your triumphs.
In addition to the campaigns and free-roam play, Ship Simulator Extremes will include an easy-to-use mission editor, and players will be able to upload their creations and download those that others have crafted. Does it sound like something that might float your boat? Ship Simulator Extremes is scheduled to hit store shelves at the end of August 2010. Until then, all you can do is ride the wave.