Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, once a staple for PC gamers across the world, will return with huge enhancements to the user experience. The series began in 1982 with Flight Simulator 1.0, predating even Windows as Microsoft’s longest running software. However, the most recent game was Flight Simulator X, launched in 2006.

The upcoming thirteenth instalment, simply known as “Microsoft Flight Simulator”, 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 for its 2014 porting 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. Details regarding pre-orders are not currently available.

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. Details of a public beta will also be made available to members of the program further down the line.

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 gamers. An initial Xbox One release will likely make its way to Project Scarlett when it arrives in 2020.

Unsurprisingly, it will also be available on PC, the platform where it made its name, but only those running Windows 10. macOS devices will again not be supported.

Latest Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer

Here is the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer, which premiered during Xbox’s press conference at E3 2019:

What will the gameplay be like?

Few details have been provided so far, but we can expect the gameplay to 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.

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 latest game.

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