Microsoft Flight Sim boss confirms more crossover content like Halo’s Pelican and Top Gun Maverick

One of the most surprising announcements in the world of gaming this year was the revelation in June that the Pelican, the iconic personnel carrier from the Halo series, was being added to Microsoft Flight Simulator. The reason for the surprise is in the name – it’s a simulator, and the Pelican doesn’t really exist.

40 years is a long time in the years of video games.

In a wide-ranging discussion with the boss of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann, VG247 decided to check how, six months later, the unprecedented decision to add the Dropship 77 Troop Carrier aka the D77-TC aka the “Pelican” was received by the fan base. The answer is perhaps equally surprising – it was not only well-received, but so well-received that the Flight Sim team will deliver similar content in the future.

The Halo nexus, of course, wasn’t this remake of Flight Simulator’s first crossover – with the hugely successful Game Pass, which first included an add-on pack to celebrate the release of Top Gun Maverick in theaters. In many ways, Top Gun is where this story begins.

“I felt very safe with Top Gun, because our team is quite diverse between core simmers and players… but the core simmers loved it,” Neumann said. “There’s not a person who said, ‘Top Gun, are you serious?’ Everyone was like, oh, this is awesome.

Part of the reason, Neumann notes, is the perfect fit between the Top Gun and Flight Simulator brands. The Flight Sim team “fighter pilot”, it was noted, joined the Navy because he watched Top Gun. Shared DNA is important. For Halo, the equation is not so simple.

“Top Gun wasn’t even a consideration. The Pelican was risky in a way,” admits Neumann.

It almost never happened.

So, months later, and with Flight Simulator enjoying high-profile celebrations for its 40th anniversary, how did it go? “It was very positive,” says Neumann.

“The Halo guys loved it. So the Halo audience, look – they ate it. And the flight simmers weren’t as annoyed as I thought they were,” laughs Neumann. “And especially because we didn’t turn the plane around.

“Actually, well, we asked the Halo team – ‘how does it work?’ And they’re like… ‘uh just find stuff – like aviation stuff’. So we came up with a bunch of stuff – but it all makes sense. So we actually pushed this through the hardcore simmers everywhere saying – okay, here’s the avionics package, here’s the radar, here’s how it will work – and they all liked it. So it’s a really believable plane now.

This differs significantly from the content of Top Gun, where, because the film used real planes, the military-run aerospace company Lockheed Martin sent employees, including simulation fans, to help the developers. With Halo, the Flight Simulator team had relatively free reign in deciding how this unique and iconic ship would realistically fly – that’s kind of where the magic happened that allowed it to be an add-on. interesting for both fans who just want to zip the Pelican around the world, and simulation fanatics who are excited to learn a new plane – even if it’s not real.

Are you a Pelican, or a Pelican not?

The Pelican’s success also inspired some decisions about future content and Microsoft Flight Simulator tweaks – as Neumann explains.

“I think the only time I got a little nervous was right at launch when the whole of New York was – literally, if you were in the simulation, look at New York and there were thousands and thousands of pelicans — and the Simmers reaction was like… ‘hmmm… that’s a bit much,’” laughs Neumann.

“So they weren’t angry, but it’s like, I think we’ve tested their resolve a bit, they’re on the brink.

“At that time, I said, you know, there honestly has to be a mode he can click on. If you want to have a real reality mode that’s only about planes flying today, you have to be able to click on it, and then some of that other stuff shouldn’t be allowed. It’s not a private lobby, is it? But it’s a shared world that has a logic. So if you want to allow everything, allow everything.

A system like this is part of the grand plan for the future of Flight Simulator, which stretches many years into the future thanks to the resounding success of this Game Pass-powered reboot. Another part of this roadmap, Neumann confirms, is more content in the vein of Top Gun and Halo updates.

” Yes; there will be more of that,” Neumann clarifies — though it’s still part of a bigger whole. Updates that feature real-world aircraft will always be a key priority, and the development team is constantly digitally scanning and evaluating aircraft for future inclusion. At the same time, however, after the success of Top Gun, Hollywood comes knocking at the door.

“I mean, the thing that probably doesn’t get talked about a lot is the Paramount relationship — which was awesome,” Neumann reveals, referring to the movie studio behind the Top Gun franchise.

“So Paramount put us in touch with Lockheed, we worked with Lockheed. We immediately clicked with the guys at Lockheed because they’re actually simmers, so they really care about aviation. And the guys at Paramount are running around the world saying this was the most positive game integration ever for them – and they’re running all over Hollywood saying that.

Fiction will see reality.

“At that time, I get calls from Hollywood. Like, ‘Hey Jorg! We have this thing! I’m like, this is on the fringes of what you would call aviation… I don’t know… maybe? »

So. not everything will happen. But at this 40th anniversary event, Flight Simulator is being showcased from many angles – as a simulator, as a learning tool, as a digital exploration, and as a celebration of the joy of flying in general. The latter, and the cultural significance of flight, is virtually inextricable from how flight is presented in other forms of media – including fictional airplanes.

“I think we at least have a good reputation because it’s the same care, right? says Neumann, referring to how even fictional or cinematic links get the same microscopic level of attention to detail as simulating a real-life vehicle to a standard suitable for training. “We don’t do half ass, we don’t have half stuff. »

So… Avengers Quinjet, anyone?

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