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The Tech News Blog

January 4, 2012

Microsoft Replaces ‘Flight Simulator’ with Free, Fun ‘Flight’

Microsoft Flight

Microsoft's Flight Simulator is dead. In its place is Microsoft Flight, which drops the "Simulator" label for what its developer unabashedly dubs a game - and a free one at that.

In a bid to make the "Flight" franchise accessible to everyone, Microsoft has made the game free-to-play, allowing novice pilots to explore the Big Island of Hawaii. Scattered across it will be "gold rush" games, "aerocaches," and game missions, complete with rankings and experience points. The game is due to be released this spring.

The goal of the game is to coat a stringent simulation with a fun, candy-coated shell. "If I can take anybody and make them feel like a pilot, we've succeeded," said Joshua Howard, the game's executive producer.

For years, games like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 and Flight Simulator X basically defined the flight simulator category, with the majority of rivals choosing instead to turn to combat flight simulators, which Microsoft also did. In 2009, Microsoft shut down ACES Studios, before announcing the rebirth of the franchise a year later.