Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, once a staple for PC gamers across the world, will return with with a major overhaul in 2020.
The series began in 1982 , and predates even Windows to be Microsoft’s longest running software. However, the most recent game was Flight Simulator X, launched way back in 2006.
The upcoming thirteenth instalment will simply be known as Microsoft Flight Simulator. It will provide a revamped experience, utilising technology that was unavailable for previous iterations to create a truly immersive experience.
Dovetail Studios, who are behind the upcoming release, took over development of the series after the 2014 port of FSX to Steam. ACES Studios, responsible for the original games, was shut down by Microsoft in 2009.
The reboot, powered by satellite data and Microsoft’s Azure AI, was officially revealed during Xbox’s E3 press conference, which revealed over 60 games vying to be considered among the best on the platform.
When is the Microsoft Flight Simulator release date?
Microsoft has confirmed that the game will release in 2020, but a more specific time frame is not yet known.
Will there be a Flight Simulator beta?
Fans of the series can sign up for the Xbox Insider Program, which gives people a chance of trialling an early build of the game.
A development update on May 14 revealed that the game is currently expected to enter closed beta in mid-July. There's no word on how to join the beta, or which platforms it will support, but it's worth noting that the current closed alpha is PC-only.
What platforms will it be on?
As it was officially launched during Xbox’s press conference at E3, the game will be exclusive to Microsoft for console players - that means a launch on Xbox One, and most likely the upcoming Xbox Series X too.
Unsurprisingly, it will also be available on PC, the platform where it made its name. It will also be included in Xbox Game Pass for both platforms, making it free to subscribers.
Latest Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer
Here's the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer, unveiled during X019 in November 2019:
Previously, the announcement trailer premiered during Xbox’s press conference at E3 2019:
What will the gameplay be like?
The gameplay will loosely resemble previous titles, striking a balance between nostalgic moments that have defined the series and a truly modern gaming experience. The game will offer unprecedented freedom, allowing players to create a flight plan and fly anywhere around the world.
The most recent trailer also revealed a number of different aircraft that would be available in the game. These include the classic Boeing 747, small acrobatics planes and even twin-engine jets in the form of Citation.
Landscapes will be rendered in remarkable detail, thanks to Microsoft combining satellite imagery with their own advanced artificial intelligence. The resulting effect on graphics is phenomenal, with famous sights such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Pyramids of Giza looking stunning from the air. Players can choose to fly during the day or at night, with dynamic weather patterns closely mirroring the challenges faced by 21st century pilots.
The game will offer the chance to fly a range of aircraft, from light planes to wide-body jets. FSX gave you 24 planes to choose from, and the lineup is likely to increase in the new game. We can also expect a fully-featured online multiplayer and dedicated missions, both of which are available on the Steam version of the most recent game.