At a recent digital preview sessions for the game, we put the question to the Microsoft Flight Simulator team: for those that aren’t familiar with sims and simply want to fly around – would that be possible? Their answer was surprisingly non-simulation heavy, and quite a breath of fresh air.
Recently we were lucky enough to attend a special preview event for Microsoft Flight Simulator (check out our in-depth write-up here), and even though we have some sim experience we were a little worried that the latest Flight Simulator might be a little too hardcore. That worry was mostly born from not being able to experience some of the stunning detail seen in the most recent launch trailer due to a high degree of complexity.
And that’s coming from someone who has no problem spending hours trying to improve traffic flow in Cities: Skylines. A flight simulator is a vastly different thing.
Turns out it was a feeling that several members of the development team at Asobo Studio – including Jorg Neumann, the head of the Microsoft Flight Simulator team had once development began. “When we started this project, I thought back to the time before I started flying,” Neumann recalls. “With planes there are so many buttons and things. It is complex. For us it was asking ‘how was that going to work?’, but also asking how people would be able to fly... easily?”
“Back when I had my very first flight lesson with an instructor though, I was surprised at how easy it was.” Jorg continues. “And that was because the instructor took that deeper control away during the first lesson. All the complex stuff, the rudder, the checklist -- all I did was move the yoke around, and it felt like it felt like flying in a videogame. The feeling was, like, ‘this is easy. I can do this’. And with every lesson, the instructor added one more thing, another little thing to learn, and it built up from there.”
And it was this realisation that drove the approach to the latest, and most impressive, version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Where the learning curve is modelled after real-world flying lessons, easing even the most awe-struck into the world of flying planes. The magic here being those first few moments feel like a videogame – with later lessons feeling more like flying in the real-world.
“That is how our training lessons are built, we train you how to use the software,” Jorg explains. “But at any time, you can turn on the co-pilot and they will handle the checklist for you. Assistance options go so far as to take away rudder control too. But rather than automate all the complex stuff, you delegate to the co-pilot. Above all we did not want to dumb down the plane. It was always going to be a realistic simulation.
“There’s never a moment when it’s a ‘fake’ aeroplane,” Jorg concludes. “By delegating, it makes the experience approachable to anyone, just like a real-world flying lesson.”
Click here for our in-depth hands-on with Microsoft Flight Simulator (complete with our own video capture).
Great write up. The footage of this is genuinely amazing. My first memories of gaming EVER are of playing ancient versions of Flight Simulator on the Apple 2 with my dad, so this series has always been special to me. Looking forward to giving it a try but thinking I might need to upgrade to get the most out of it.
Thanks man... In preview form it's a PC killer in that it'll put any rig to the test on the higher settings... even at 1080p
Proper pumped for this. Played the f*** out of Prepar3d but always got tired of having to manage and install third party add-ons to make the game complete.
yer, i loved the way old flight sim, plotting my course to fly into new york and buzz the super low quality statue of libery!
or playing the ww2 shoot em up and doing fly throughs on the hanger.
I've played plenty of flight sims over 35 years. Choosing a flight sim you tend to choose along a range from "arcade" and to "true simulator".
If you want to fly around and look at recognisable terrain etc.. yah go for MS Flight Sim.. Skylines has a very good reputation but not my cup of tea.