The most famous flight simulation celebrates its 40th anniversary under the colors of Microsoft by offering players emblematic aircraft from aviation history and missions from previous games.
Don’t tell them the franchise has been around for a lot longer, it didn’t really kick off for Microsoft until 1982 when flight simulation first appeared on an IBM PC under the name Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0. It would then be to forget that the Apple II from 1979 had had the right to its FS1 Flight Simulator designed by Bruce Artwick, the inventor of the concept, and the subLOGIC company which distributed the creation of the first.
It doesn’t matter for the Redmond company, the franchise is celebrating its 40th anniversary this November under its banner. In 13 variations since the beginning of the game, the graphics have greatly evolved, the gameplay also to give today a Microsoft Flight Simulator available on Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC and even in cloud gaming on any possible medium (smartphone, tablet, connected TV, etc.). A title of crazy technological prowess that has constantly taken advantage of advances to offer an enriching experience to all those who wanted to take to the air.
From four-color game to ultra realism
How far away are the days of the beginnings and the rudimentary cockpit painfully displayed in four colors! In 40 years, the game has gained in precision with the transition to high resolution and 16 colors. Now, thanks to the cloud, computing power, artificial intelligence, satellite data and various in-house services (Bing Maps, Microsoft Azure), the latest version offers around thirty devices, thousands of airports, weather real-time, day and night flight, and more realistic world modeling than ever before.
To celebrate his birthday with dignity, Microsoft Flight Simulator therefore offers a major update, “the most important since the release of the game” in 2020, explains Jorg Neumann, director of the franchise at Microsoft. And the gifts for the players are numerous.
Starting with the arrival of two new types of aircraft, the helicopter and the glider, which offer new sensations for virtual pilots. But those are just appetizers of the vast meal that’s coming with the update. Because, as always, FlightSim is enriched with many devices.
Loudly demanded by the community, the Airbus A310-300, launched in 1982 as the franchise, comes to land in the 40th anniversary special edition, just like Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the first plane from New York to Paris in 1927, the Canadian Beaver De Havilland DHC-2, or the Douglas DC-3, an airliner which was the first to transport passengers from the east coast to the west coast in 1935.
But the big addition, in every sense of the word, is unmistakably the Hughes H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose. A monumental seaplane designed 95% in wood, the largest ever built, which flew only once in 1947. And 75 years later, it will be able to afford a second life in the simulation.
A birthday for the nostalgic
A birthday would be nothing without a bit of nostalgia and memories. And the teams have understood this well. If you had played the very first games, you used to take off in a Cessna from Meigs Field airport in Chicago (Illinois). Destroyed 19 years ago after 55 years of good and loyal service, it had been withdrawn from play.
But franchise aficionados demanded it, so Microsoft resurrected it. “It’s also part of our duty to digitally preserve aviation history,” Jorg Neumann told Tech&Co at a 40th anniversary event at the McMinnVille Aviation Museum. of the franchise.
Three other airports are making a comeback: Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong, which closed its runways in 1998 after 73 years of existence, and First Flight in Kill Devil Hills (North Carolina), where the Wright brothers made the very first flight in the history of aviation on December 17, 1907. The Princess Juliana of Saint-Martin, devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and which has struggled to recover since, also made its appearance.
All this goes in the direction of history, we explain at Microsoft and Asobo Studio, with a desire to preserve the heritage of aviation through the game, which has seduced novices as well as more seasoned pilots. “When a pilot in real life comes to tell me that the game is crazy and that he has found the same sensations as in reality, we are happy and even proud. It’s the best compliment we can be given. “, enthuses Sebastian Wloch, co-founder of Asobo Studio and one of the designers of the game. And the most nostalgic can test the 24 classic missions taken from previous episodes of the franchise.
The 40th anniversary update is available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X⎜S, but also in cloud gaming on Samsung smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. It’s also available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers who have access to the game.