Maybe it’s the fact that the very first game I ever played was a flight sim, but I will never cease to be amazed just by the absurd level of detail that’s packed into Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Microsoft and Asobo Studio — the latter being the actual developer, and the team behind A Plague Tale: Innocence, if you remember that — dropped a release date for their cloud-supported catharsis simulator just before midnight Monday Australian time. It’ll be touching down on August 18, and because it’s an exclusive for Team Green, it’ll be available through Xbox Game Pass for PC on day one as well.
I mentioned cloud-supported, because what’s making Flight Simulator so absurdly pretty is the fact that it’s pulling in global map data from satellites and Bing Maps, as well as getting a bit of help from AI where needed. (The AI builds basic model of small details, so if you can see your house on Bing Maps, for instance, then the AI will be generating a rough version of that in Flight Simulator. This is still a video game and your PC/console is still, y’know, not that good.)
The game will still support an offline mode, if you’re worried about an always-online connectivity or if your connection is a bit garbage. It’s worth noting that VR support won’t be included in MFS at launch, if you were looking forward to that.
The game’s also very much a live service thing, and it’s priced as such — which is probably the most aggravating part of it all. Depending on what version of the game you buy, you’ll get access to a different amount of airports and aircraft:
The Microsoft Flight Simulator Standard Edition ($59.99 USD) includes 20 highly detailed planes with unique flight models and 30 hand-crafted airports. The Standard Edition will be available on day one with Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta).
The Deluxe Edition ($89.99 USD) includes everything from Microsoft Flight Simulator’s standard edition plus 5 additional highly accurate planes with unique flight models and 5 additional handcrafted international airports.
The Premium Deluxe Edition ($119.99 USD) includes everything from Microsoft Flight Simulator Standard Edition plus 10 additional highly accurate planes with unique flight models and 10 additional handcrafted international airports.
The official site doesn’t mention the list of airports and planes that’ll be in each edition, but I’ll chase Microsoft for an answer today.
Alongside with this, the studio posted its most recent set of patch notes and updates in the most recent tester build. Every development update also comes with a suite of gorgeous shots from the community, and while a lot of them have got user watermarks all over it, it still shows why Microsoft Flight Simulator stans is absolutely a thing:
One user took this shot of some planes in someone’s backyard, but from inside the nearby house. I’m extremely here for this vibe:
And then there’s this long-range shot that just looks ridiculous.
Cathartic indeed. We can’t really fly anywhere safely for the rest of 2020, so we might as well do it in Microsoft Flight Simulator. This game could not come at a better time. Bring on August 18.
Update 9.44am: Microsoft’s local team have put out a presser confirming which airports will be in which versions of the game. Good news: everyone gets access to Sydney Airport, but you’ll need the most expensive edition of MFS to land at Dubai, which sucks if you were going for Australia/European routes.