The Introduction to one of my most favorite games of all time, Crimson Skies! This is the PC version, which was had way more of a Sim feel to it then the Xbox. However, both are great games and I recommend them heartily.
The series is set within an alternate history of the 1930s invented by Weisman and McCoy. Within this divergent timeline, the United States has collapsed, and air travel has become the most popular mode of transportation in North America; as a result, air pirates thrive in the world of Crimson Skies. In describing the concept of Crimson Skies, Jordan Weisman stated he wanted to "take the idea of 16th century Caribbean piracy and translate into a 1930s American setting."
The Crimson Skies series takes place in an alternate 1930s in which the U.S. has broken apart into a number of independent nation-states. According to series creator Jordan Weisman:
I needed to create a geo-political situation that would result in air-pirates, so I looked at the real political situation that gave rise to the pirates of the Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries. We needed a balkanized era so that pirates could escape quickly into another countries territory, we needed things of value to be moved by air, and we needed a constantly churning political environment so that things did not settle down quickly. […] It took only three little changes in the history of the United States to get us the dynamic world of Crimson Skies.
This alternate timeline incorporates both fictional and actual historic events. According to the series' official backstory, the divergent timeline begins after World War I, when a "Regionalist movement" gains popularity in America following the Spanish influenza pandemic, rallying behind an isolationist platform. Meanwhile, President Wilson's authority was undercut when Prohibition failed as a constitutional amendment leaving the matter to be decided on the state level. The nation soon became polarized between "wet" and "dry" states and checkpoints became a common sight on state borders to stop the flow of alcohol into "dry" states. As the decade progressed, state governments seized more authority, encroaching into areas formerly the responsibility of the federal government, and formed regional power blocs.
The optimism of the Roaring Twenties was upset in 1927 when an outbreak of a deadly strain of influenza in America prompted states to close their borders, further dividing the Union. Though not as deadly as the 1918 pandemic, the epidemic had immense political fallout, bolstering regionalist "strong state" views and decreasing voter turnout in the 1928 elections. Shortly after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Texas seceded from the United States, forming the Republic of Texas on January 1, 1930. New York was the next state to secede, and persuaded Pennsylvania and New Jersey to merge with it to form the Empire State. California followed suit, creating the Nation of Hollywood, as did Utah, which had already come in conflict with the federal government after the establishment of the Smith Law in 1928 that made Mormonism the state religion. Washington, D.C., essentially powerless, was unable to stop the country from falling apart. The federal government made its last stand against the "People's Revolt" of the bread basket states. When the US Army was defeated by the People's Collective (formerly the Midwest) forces in 1931, the fate of the United States was sealed, and the rest of the country dissolved into independent nations by the end of 1932 with the last legal remnant of the US being the neutral nation of Columbia in what used to be whatever area around Washington could be seized.
Though not directly affected by the Texas Secession, Canada found itself dragged down by the collapse of the U.S., with Quebec seceding in 1930 and the rest of the provinces siding with their nascent southern neighbors: New Brunswick and parts of Quebec joined the Maritime Provinces of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont; Newfoundland joined Quebec; Manitoba joined the People's Collective as did parts of Saskatchewan, with the Lakota nation laying claim to the rest; British Columbia merged with Oregon and Washington in Pacifica; and Alaska claimed the Yukon territories. The core of the former Canadian government established the Protectorate of Ontario. While Ottawa's authority technically extends to Alberta and the Northwest Territories, these areas are mostly no-man's land, while Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island comprise a self-governing body, commonly referred to as the Northumberland Association.
In 1931, the Territorial Government of Hawaii was left defenseless in the wake of the fragmenting country and was overthrown in favor of the monarchy with Jonah Kūhiō as its king. Likewise, America's territorial holdings overseas were surrendered following the nation's formal collapse and the formation of the Federal Republic of Columbia on March 1, 1932.The resulting nation-states that formed were no longer unified—distrust between them strained diplomatic relations to the point that several small-scale wars broke out.
After the dissolution of the United States, the country's interstate railroad and highway systems fell into disrepair or were sabotaged as they crossed hostile borders. Consequently, ground-based vehicles such as the locomotive and automobile were replaced by aircraft such as the airplane and the zeppelin as the leading mode of transportation in North America. Europe soon followed this fascination with aviation to make its own strides into the new, aerially-dominated market. Gangs of air pirates formed in turn to plunder airborne commerce. Although air militias formed to counter the threat, rivalries between the nations of North America reduced their capacity to effectively address this issue, and even encouraged the countries to sponsor pirates as privateers so as to direct their illegal operations against opposing nations. In Europe, privateers and other mercenary groups have been adopted widely by nations who wish to avoid another world war, especially in the case of the Spanish Civil War.
By the end of 1937, North America is a "hotbed of conflict," with multiple pirate gangs and air militias battling for control of the skies. Europe is no better, as Germany jockeys for power while France and Britain look the other way. The Russian States continue to fight their civil war, which threatens to spill over into the Eastern European nations and Alaska. Asia, too, is on the brink, with Japan's recent invasion of China and the continuation of the bloody civil war in Australia.
Zeppelin Aircraft Carrier-Germany
Aircraft and technology
The planes of Crimson Skies are fictional designs created to fit within the Crimson Skies universe. Although some planes were modeled after actual 1930s era experimental aircraft and other "bizarre and outlandish designs" from the early years of aviation, they still take significant departures from conventional aviation design. Jordan Weisman has stated that the planes in Crimson Skies are designed to be the "hot rods of the air." According to IGN, "the planes in CS are built for style and not function with their redundant wing positions and rear propellers." For example, the Devastator aircraft features a pusher propeller and a biplane design.
Because of the history of the world of Crimson Skies, especially given that the nation-states of North America are constantly at war with one another and that air travel is the primary means of transportation, advancements in both aircraft and weaponry technology would have proceeded at a faster pace than had actually happened in the same time period. Zeppelins with hangar launch bays which can accommodate escort fighters are featured prominently in Crimson Skies; in actuality, only a few zeppelin-based airborne aircraft carriers saw service. Zeppelins in Crimson Skies are also armed with broadside cannons and are also heavily armored. Radio-controlled rockets are also available in the Crimson Skies universe, which can be controlled remotely after launch.
Other technologies are exclusive to the world of Crimson Skies. Magnetic rockets have the ability to track planes or weapon emplacements over a short distance. Aerial torpedoes are similar to sea-based torpedoes, but are specifically designed to take out airships. Beeper/seeker rockets are designed to work in tandem. The "beeper" rocket attaches to a target and emits a homing signal; the "seeker" rocket follows the homing signal, destroying the target. The Choker rocket disables the target's engine by bursting into a fireball that burns all oxygen around it. The Tesla cannon is a tesla coil-style weapon which fires a bolt of electricity at a target, disabling it. Also featured in Crimson Skies is the wind turbine, a weather control mechanism designed to generate storms.