It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Microsoft Flight Simulator game. In fact, the last outing in the venerable series of realistic pastime entertainment ventures based on aeronautics was way back in 2014, which was actually just a re-release of Microsoft Flight Simulator X from back in 2006. So technically we haven’t received a new game in 13 years.
The newest entry for Microsoft Flight Simulator doesn’t have any subtitles attached to its name, but it is looking like it might be one of the most accomplished entries in the series based on the photogrammetric data capturing from actual satellite feeds and processed through Microsoft’s Azure AI cloud technology. In simple terms, it uses real geographical and topographical data to give gamers the most realistic flight simulator experience to date.
You can check out the announcement trailer below, highlighting some of the locations that you’ll be able to visit and some of the airplanes that will be available for you to fly.
I have to admit that they did a grand-fantastic job putting the trailer together. As much as I wanted to laugh, cringe, or roll my eyes, had I been in the audience I would have reached over to the guy sitting next to me and tipped his soy boy’s fedora Phil Spencer’s way.
They did kind of miss out on an opportunity to garner some laughs (or likely some politically correct censure) had they showcased one of the planes crashing into a building. It would have been meme material for the ages.
But as mentioned, we live in a highly politically correct society and jokes and fun are no longer allowed in the Age of the Clown.
As far as Microsoft Flight Simulator is concerned, the game looks really good.
The hangar sequence showcased some highly quality screen space reflections that accurately captures the interior reflections of the hangar and renders them almost 1:1 on the plane itself. Very impressive for a very taxing rendering technique. Usually we only see that level of fidelity from custom ENB mods for games like Grand Theft Auto V or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
There are still some giveaways that the game is still a game and not real-life. In the airport shot we see that there are still vector points across the geometry of some of the entities that create hardlines in the shadows across the mesh. For instance in the image below you’ll note that between the left side of the cockpit window to the top the fuselage you’ll note that there’s a hard bend from the shadow on the left to the sun ray on the right, without the light bleeding over naturally like it would in real life, or how the shadows have more of a granular effect on the nose of the plane in the very same image.
Anyway, it’s a completely infinitesimal nitpick that most people probably won’t care about, but figured it was worth mentioning.
The rest of the trailer highlights some of the exotic locations you’ll be visiting, from flyovers of New York and Los Angeles, to the sandy pyramids of Egypt to the beautiful sunsets captured from the isle of Dubai. The 4K imagery combined with the 60fps capture really does make Microsoft Flight Simulator look like the kind of experience that hardcore flight sim fans have been clamoring for.
Details on pricing and release dates are sketchy at the moment. We know for sure that the game is coming to Windows 10 on PC in 2020, followed by a release on the Xbox One, and more than likely as a launch title for the Xbox Scarlett. It will also be a day-one Xbox Game Pass title but I don’t think anyone cares about that.