It’s no secret that the makers of the widely popular Microsoft Flight Simulator game series are preparing a new aviation title intended to spread PC flying to the masses. The just-revealed news is that the game, when it’s launched this spring, will be downloadable for free — at least for virtual flights around Hawaii in an amphibious light sport airplane.
The new game, called Microsoft Flight, will be a departure from the long-running Flight Simulator franchise in that it aims to provide a more interactive gaming experience for aviation enthusiasts of all skills levels, rather than a simulation tool produced predominately for experienced virtual fliers.
Microsoft says the game will be available for free download this spring and will allow users to start flying over the Big Island of Hawaii in the Icon A5, the sleek looking, aggressively marketed LSA seaplane slated to enter production by the end of this year. For additional free content, including unlocking a Boeing Stearman and additional flight regions -- players can sign into Microsoft Flight using Games for Windows - LIVE, a platform intended to boost connectivity by allowing gamers to join in with other users around the globe.
According to Microsoft Studios, the game allows users to play with or without a joystick. While those looking for a less-technical experience can simply control their airplane from an exterior view using their mouse and keyboard, users looking for a more authentic pilot experience can use the game’s highly rendered simulation features.
Gamers who like what they see can buy additional content that includes new aircraft, terrain and capabilities, beyond that available with the initial free download. For those who prefer the realism of Flight Simulator X, Lockheed Martin has bought the software from Microsoft and is rumored to be preparing a new and improved consumer version.