Following the reveal of the new Xbox Series edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator, Asobo’s Jorg Neumann, the Head of Flight Simulator, has peeled the veil off to describe even more details about the future of the sim. PC players will soon benefit from various improvements and additions that have been made to give new console players an easier introduction to the advanced mechanics.
This includes new AI functionality called Flight Assistant that will allow the system to handle flying aircraft to specific points of interest from a single button press. Flight Assistant also includes a new autoland feature that will enable the AI to land an aircraft “anywhere”, including dirt strips and snow-capped hills. And on the topic of rough terrain, new graphical effects for such environments are also being added to the sim, such as more pronounced tire smoke when landing on an asphalt runway or dirt/snow strip, and also sea spray when landing a floatplane on water. Floats for the rugged STOL aircraft like the Piper X Cub will also be made available for free, allowing such aircraft to be taken to even more remote locations.
Another major addition coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator is that of new and improved tutorials. The number of tutorials has been greatly increased, and even existing ones have received an overhaul to make them more focused, but also shorter, thus making it even easier for newcomers to become familiarized with the various flight mechanics and different aircraft instruments and systems. Points will also be awarded for how well operations are conducted during the tutorials, thus giving student pilots more insight as to exactly how well they’re performing.
Asobo mentions that these improvements have been made after seeing the influx of not just aviation aficionados who’ve been with the series for decades, but also the newcomers who may be experiencing a flight simulator for the very first time, especially after the Xbox Series edition releases. Even so, the developers promise that the experience is not going to be “gamified” (in other words, dumbed-down) for the more hardcore enthusiasts out there. All of these additional features like the Flight Assistant are purely optional and can thus be ignored by anyone who wants a more authentic flight experience.
One more new feature that everyone is bound to enjoy however is the more detailed world map and points of interest that are also coming. This new map will feature satellite imagery from Bing’s database, including city labels. Finally, new information snippets will also appear next to points of interest on the map as well as in-sim while flying, giving virtual pilots more of a guided tour when they go sightseeing.
All of these enhancements are expected to drop into the PC version of Microsoft Flight Simulator when the upcoming Sim Update V is rolled out on July 27, the same day as the release of as the Xbox Series X|S edition of the sim. Moving forward, Asobo confirms that the experience will be the same regardless of platform, so all updates made to the sim from now on will be enjoyed by both console and PC pilots equally.
From 56:40 to 1:09 of the full Xbox Games Showcase Extended presentation, all of these new features for Microsoft Flight Simulator are shown off:
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