Microsoft Flight Announced
Twenty-eight years after the debut of “Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0,” Microsoft Game Studios also announced the internal development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new Windows exclusive. “Microsoft Flight” will bring a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans, to experience the magic of flight.
A great writeup from Irving Grey:
This is not the flight simulator we are looking for...
Microsoft announced their new game ‘Microsoft Flight’ on August 17th . The limited information we have on this so far is pointing to a new direction for the franchise which will not satisfy hardcore simulator enthusiasts.
Lets dissect the press release:
First off they signal a departure from the franchise
“.. Microsoft also announced the development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new entry inspired by the best-selling “Microsoft Flight Simulator” franchise. “note the key words here ‘inspired by’. First clue that this is not going to be an FS 11.
Then they stress ‘social’
“..fully integrate the free* Games for Windows – LIVE online service to deliver compelling socially connected gameplay experiences.” Also consider the quote from VP Phil Spencer “..Over the years, our PC heritage captured the hearts and minds of millions of players. Reinventing these iconic franchises with social, shared experiences at their core marks the beginning of our return to PC gaming in bold new ways.”
Is this code for dumbing down? It depends on what social actually means. Social interaction is not going to be achieved by making the sim complicated. It’s not easy to encourage your friends to hook up with you for an online game that will require a steep learning curve.
“..log in with a single identity to earn Achievements and up your Gamerscore across Games for Windows – LIVE and Xbox LIVE. See your friends online, send and receive voice messages, text messages and game invites, and enjoy cross-platform communication.”
This certainly does not point to any rich VATSIM style ATC integration with all the technical training and skill that that would imply. Making the game available on the X box automatically suggests a game limited to the functions that you cram onto a controller.
Promising something for everyone
“...Microsoft Flight” will bring a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans, to experience the magic of flight.”
Welcoming everyone is a big ask. How do you satisfy young and old, experienced and novice? Something will have to give - I’m betting the emphasis is going to be on the easy to fly variety of a suedo flight sim. They can have the strong visuals of FSX and even update them to give you plenty of eyecandy - but will you be able to simulate all the detail and complexity of systems and procedures that we are used to with the franchise? Try that on an Xbox.
Key talent left with Aces
Aces studios was axed in 2009 - key personnel left and others have taken up the gauntlet to push dual core technology and aim for the next step for pure simmers.
Cascade Studios was set up by ex Aces employees ( however they are also developing a something for everyone experience which promises to be much wider than just flight sim).
That leaves Aerosoft who are creating a new flight sim from scratch and we await the next big iteration of the X-plane franchise - both efforts are likely to be untroubled by the announcement of Microsoft Flight.
The addon community has been sidelined
“You even receive automatic game updates and the ability to extend the experience with Game Add-ons only found on the Games for Windows – LIVE Marketplace.”
This points to a limited scope for addons, totally controlled by Microsoft and not opened up to the community. This likely means that they will provide Mission upgrades (more FSX Acceleration type) rather than sophisticated models and scenery. This will not be a platform where the likes of FTX can thrive, let alone the freeware community.
The name says it all...
The release title is significantly missing the word ‘Simulator’. Microsoft Flight is going to be a game, it could be a very good and satisfying game, it could even have enough to engage all classes of users.
You can interpret these messages to mean that the new game/sim will still have the immersive, realistic visual experience we are used to (the trailor does not look too far removed from what you can achieve by pushing FSX with REX) coupled with a easy to play platform.
This new games biggest potential is that it could draw in and introduce a new generation of simmers into the genre, where they can then progress on to the more mature sims.
However many simmers who have enjoyed all that the MS Flight Simulator series has had to offer will mourn the limit of a franchise that has gone so far in 3 decades. Such a missed opportunity... Microsoft Flight will not be the holy grail.
Carenado Enters X-Plane Market
On August 18, 2010 Carenado is pleased to announce its entry to the X-Plane aircraft add-on market.
All Carenado aircraft for X-Plane will have the same quality standards as they have in FSX and FS2004. Detailed models, realistic textures, custom instruments, realistic behavior and friendly FPS, making the flight experience very close to reality.
Our compromise with the X-Plane community is to deliver the best GA aircraft for the X-Plane users.
The company chose the Mooney M20J as it first aircraft for this platform. The aircraft should be ready for sale during September, 2010.
Carenado has plans to develop most of its current FSX fleet for X-Plane and continue developing for FSX.
Check out Carenado's work here, and check out their new Grand Caravan for FSX!
PMDG's Dirty 737 NGX
Eric: Ustream Mobile Viewer
From Ted: http://www.flyaboutmovie.com/