Train Simulator developers Dovetail Games have announced Flight Sim World [official site], a new fly 'em up built upon the licensed guts of Microsoft Flight Sim. It will let us pilot simulated aeroplanes. Flight Sim World is due to take to the skies of Steam Early Access for a test flight later this month, but for now you can at least watch this collection of moving pictures and sound while waggling your flightstick to pretend you're in control:
Question: when you were waggling your flightstick, did you pretend you were controlling the talking heads too? Follow-up: which buttons opened their mouths and eyes?
This has been coming for ages. Dovetail announced in 2014 that they'd licensed bits of Microsoft's planetech to make a new game, and that December they released a new edition of MS Flight Simulator X too. As for how much they've reworked and expanded gameguts in Flight Sim World, Dovetail executive producer Stephen Hood says:
"After doing some intensive work on the game engine – such as providing a much-needed 64-bit element – we now have a flight simulation platform which will allow us and our partners to focus on creating new and exciting ways for simmers to benefit from these advances. New features and expansions to Flight Sim World will be rolled out as part of the Early Access program and beyond, reinforcing our absolute commitment to the hobby."
Flight Sim World will come with several single- and twin-propeller aircraft as well as the whole chuffing world. And yup, absolutely Dovetail plan to have other developers make and sell add-ons for it, new aircraft and scenery and missions and all that. Add-ons are the heartbeat of the simulated flight world, after all.
The game is due to hit Steam Early Access in May, and Dovetail say they're planning to add new features over the following three or four months. They want to polish and tweak too, mind, so they're not sure quite when Flight Sim World will properly launch. No word on a price yet either, but Dovetail do say it'll be cheaper in early access.
I would not be at all surprised if resident simulated man Tim Stone has something better-informed to say about all this in The Flare Path on Friday.
Microsoft's own last attempt at a plane 'em up, 2012's friendly and free-to-play Microsoft Flight, did not go too well. Tim Stone thought, with several reservations and objections, that it was a fun foundation as a free game. But Flight's life was short, as MS stopped development in July 2012 - barely four months after launch.