The oldest franchise of a video game, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, will have kept its fans waiting for about 14 years before returning to the trays on Tuesday, in a new version entirely made by the French studio Asobo.
Appeared on the market for the first time in 1982, the Flight Simulator was one of the first programs produced by a Microsoft that at that time had not yet released its Windows operating system.
The game, considered the most accurate flight simulation, ran on a less powerful computer than a current graphing calculator.
Expected by a community of several tens of millions of aviation fans around the world, the game allows users to experience the closest sensations to a piloting experience, taking the controls of more than twenty aircraft, from little Mudry Cap 10 to the Boeing 787, through the Airbus 320-Neo or the Pitts S2S.
To make this new edition, the American group went to Asobo Studio, known above all for “A Plague Tale: Innocence”, which was released in May 2019 and has been awarded at the Pegaso Awards, the Oscars for French video games.
The studio, located in the south-west of France, in Bordeaux, has also developed several games for Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headsets.
And it is that beyond the market for computer games or its Xbox living room consoles, Microsoft wants to propose a version adapted to virtual reality from next October, the date on which the Reverb G2 virtual reality glasses will be released, from the American firm HP.
In the meantime, it must convince both by the quality of its graphics and by the realism of its aircraft, which includes the reaction to the controls, the noise of the engines or the view from the cockpit, details that game lovers are particularly sensitive.
“Flight Simulator is a license that has made tens of millions of players play, there is a community that has waited for many years. Microsoft cannot be wrong. It will be known quickly if the game meets its quality objectives”, Laurent tells . Michaud, analyst specialized in the video game sector.
– Demanding for the player and the machine –
The first print has passed the test. Subject to the scrutiny of the specialized press before going on the market, the video game has been a resounding success. The jeuxvideo.com portal has given it an 18/20 rating that places it on the podium of the best games that exist for computer.
The depth, variety and quality of the landscapes, built with satellite images and generated in real time, literally reproduce the entire world, the changes in meteorology and their impact on the flight of the aircraft.
The precision with which the latter were recreated seems to have convinced those tasked with testing the simulator.
Those qualities were possible thanks to technological tools, artificial intelligence and the power of Microsoft’s servers, but they make Flight Simulator not available to everyone.
To play it, you must have a very high-level machine capable of supporting the demand of the software in terms of computing power and internet connection. The game is also better appreciated with adapted controllers: pedals, joysticks (hand levers) of piloting and propulsion levers.
It is a true flight simulation, the closest thing to the controls and real reactions of an airplane, but Flight Simulator is not within everyone’s reach and could be a deterrent for beginners who imagine simply flying over their house or the place of vacation of your dreams.
The game is available in three versions, priced from $ 83 to $ 142, depending on the number of aircraft models each includes.