Something In the Air: Microsoft Flight Returns

Logo a go go. What? What are you writing? What are you doing?

It was a sad loss of a genuinely decades-old-franchise when Microsoft seemed to abandon Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, as part of its three-pronged PC-offensive announced at Gamescom, they’ve brought back an internally-developed PC-Exclusive Microsoft Flight. Very few more details on its sparse page. Few bits from the press release which stand out include the desire to “Welcoming everyone, including long-time fans, to experience the magic of flight” – which brings to mind Tim’s feature on the descent of the Flight Sim – and talking about a shared, social experience. The very short teaser follows…

That’s totally a plane, flying.

Those other two prongs? Well, that’s my next post.


  1. Harlander says:

    Is it significant that they’ve dropped the word “simulator” from the title?

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I suspect it’s as significant as a word with connotations for a new audience. As in, a lot of people may be turned off by the word Simulator as too techy or too geeky or too boring. I think this is even now aiming at a simulation of flight vibe though rather than an Hawx-esque arcade barrel roller.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Yes. I suspect it’s been focus-tested and found that the word “simulator” has a medical intensity to it that scares people or something.

    • TeeJay says:

      Pity they didn’t focus test the word “Microsoft” at the same time.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I bet they did and I bet they decided the brand recognition to the layman was a positive association

  2. Meat Circus says:

    You said “prongs”. Hur hur.

  3. neems says:

    Microsoft Flight Simulator X – the only game that would sneer at Crysis’ light weight system requirements.

    Maybe they should make the new one run at more than 10 fps.

  4. stahlwerk says:

    FS 3.0 was the first game my 8 year old self became hopelessly addicted to. And when FS 4 came out, it was like crack and honey. The “dynamic scenery” with its (in hindsight hopelessly primitive) AI pilots and airport maintenance cars was incredibly fascinating. I sunk hours/days/months into the “Aircraft and Scenery Designer” add on to recreate that city from Disney’s TaleSpin. :-D
    Also I learned how to correctly perform take-off and landing in a 747-400, a skill which I still firmly believe will come in handy some day.

    • Shadowcat says:

      I absolutely read that as “Falcon 3.0” and “Falcon 4”. “Aircraft and Scenery Designer” confused me, but I actually didn’t twig my mistake until “747-400” :)

      I was always a “Flight Unlimited” pilot, as far as the civilian sims went. The only MSFS version I ever had was 2004, and that’s because I won it in a screenshot contest using a screenshot from Flight Unlimited 3 :)

      I then bought a local scenery add-on for it, and that was kinda nice, I have to admit.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Huh, I totally forgot what I wanted to write: FS 5 was the last one in the series that I played. We never had a high-end PC back then (always ~one and a half years behind), so even 5 was frustratingly choppy.

      Also, it pained me to learn that Meigs Field had been closed in 2003, allegedly out of War on Terrorism scaremongering. Why didn’t Bill Gates with his many dollars save the airport that contributed to his financial success so immensely?

      (I’m j/k here, it’s better spent on his charity efforts, of course)

    • stahlwerk says:

      @Shadowcat: yeah, I implicitly meant Microsoft Flight Simulator. Falcon 3.0 was a great game, too. Although I don’t remember much of it besides the videos of that military flight instructor wiggling about with planes-on-sticks. I guess I had some kind of GOTY version, or maybe it was the ordinary CD-ROM version. I really liked that in the expansions you could fly different international variants of the F16, like the japanese FSX (oh boy, name confusion galore), or even a Mig 29.

      Never really played Falcon 4, is it playable on Win7 x64 or should I not bother?

  5. Dozer says:

    Microsoft Flight, as opposed to Microsoft Flight Simulator XI (or MMXII or 2012). The title implies it’s cut back a bit from what we’re used to…

    Meh. I went over to X-Plane a while ago.

    Also, I hit a weird key combo by accident and now Opera is showing me the source code for this page. I am amazed.

  6. Hides-His-Eyes says:

    So instead of turning flight aids OFF, you’ll turn realism mode ON; they sell more copies, and the whole game’s still there for the ‘4 controllers and a USB dial set” types.

    Everybody wins?

    • Zenicetus says:

      Everybody wins?

      Maybe, but only if they include the stuff under the hood that those fancy controllers are for, like prop control, mixture, autopilot and flight computer, etc. It gets pretty intense with the sims that do full (or nearly full) simulation. I can’t quite believe MS is going in that direction here. The biplane in the first promo video is perfectly appropriate for a “casual” flight game. It has almost nothing besides the basic flight controls. If they had shown a Lear jet or Airbus, you’d know the direction was different.

      If they were doing a hardcore civilian flight sim, they’d be competing against two existing and one future product (the legacy FS9/FSX user base, X-Plane, and the upcoming Aerosoft sim). There is no current competition for a “casual” flight sim, so it’s probably a smart move by MS. They’ll get a huge P.R. boost just because of their history with FS. If it’s obviously more of a casual flight game than a serious simulation, then they won’t get much flack from the hardcore audience.

  7. Urael says:

    “When I was a boy…I dreamed I could fly”

    And then they show you a video of a plane doing it instead. How much better to see a person skimming above the waves doing 300mph? And not a superhero either – a real person. In a dream, say.

    Nice graphics, though. I haven’t played a flight-sim since F-19 on the Atari ST. Once it became just about getting from A to B instead of blowing up our myriad enemies I kinda lost interest. Having said that, I did tool about in Just Cause’s many airborne vehicles just for the thrill of exploration. Maybe FLIGHT is something I should keep an eye on.

  8. airtekh says:

    Interesting news. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt until I see something playable. However, the appearance of a Games for Windows Live logo always ensures a pang of disappointment.

    Flight sims were one of the genres that initially attracted me to PC gaming. I haven’t touched one for years, but I’m planning on changing that when (if?) I ever clear my backlog of games.

    I remember it being so calming playing a flight-sim, pretty much the opposite of most genres today. That is until you forget which button lowers the landing gear on approach!

  9. tomwaitsfornoman says:

    Thought I wouldn’t catch that Bowie reference, didn’t you?

  10. Akaleus says:

    Flight Unlimited was an amazing series that I feel captured the thrill of flight to a level that any flight games I’ve played since then have not come up to par wit hit. I certainly hope that Microsoft Flight takes it’s inspiration from Flight Unlimited. I love the simulators, but it will be great to have a new approach to the Microsoft series.

  11. Morti says:

    the music of the trailer reminds me a lot of mirror’s edge.

    I likey.