Some staggering news from Redmond via Gamasutra. Microsoft have just euthanised the most successful sim studio of all time. ACES, the team behind the Flight Simulator and Combat Flight Simulator franchises, are effectively no more. A skeleton staff of six will be kept on to service existing ESP contracts but it’s curtains for everyone else. Blimey.
Read on for ill-informed speculation.
What this means for the phenomenon that is Flight Simulator is, frankly, anybody’s guess. Phil Taylor suggests a rump of staff may keep the franchise ticking over. FS11 is obviously not going to happen now, but perhaps, with luck, the sim will inch forward through official Acceleration-like expansion packs. With hardware just starting to catch-up with the beautiful-but-needy FSX, and the independent add-on sector as productive as ever, it’s hard to imagine this much-loved series fading from view any time soon.
The only casualty of the closure may turn out to be ACES’ ambitious Train Simulator sequel (the first train game to feature a seamless global scenery a la FS). The last time an incomplete MSTS sequel hit the buffers, the project eventually made it onto shelves as Rail Simulator. The immature TS2 might not be so lucky.