The free-to-play Microsoft Flight is now open to the public.
Microsoft Flight, the free-to-play rebirth of the storied Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise, is finally live and ready to take to the skies for the first time in half a decade. The base game allows players to fly around the Big Island of Hawaii with customizable flight controls designed to accommodate all levels of piloting skills, with co-op gameplay, achievements and other features are supported through Games for Windows Live.
Unlike previous iterations of Flight Simulator, which were designed to provide the most realistic piloting experience possible, the new Flight is meant to be widely accessible, evidenced by the fact that you can fly with a mouse. "I think a lot of people look up into the sky and say planes could be cool - flying could be cool," Executive Producer Joshua Howard told MCV. "But then they immediately say, well that's too hard for me. And we thought we could use software to deliver an experience that says no, actually. It's a different approach than what has really been taken with Flight, it's exciting, that's what was cool about it for us."
The free-to-play model is also meant to appeal to a more casual audience, although dedicated fans will be able to pony up for extra content. The Hawaiian Adventure Pack, which includes the rest of the Hawaiian islands, additional missions and challenges and a new plane, sells for 1600 Microsoft points [$19.99], a "basic" P-51 goes for 640 Microsoft points [$7.99] and the "advanced" MAW is 1200 Microsoft points [$14.99].
Flight Simulator is one of the oldest videogame franchises in existence and despite the changing videogame market, Howard thinks it will be around for a long time to come. "Grandparents and grandchildren will sit together and play these, and grow up with them over time. It's part of what appeals to me about it," he said. "I believe in this particular incarnation of Flight as a very strong product. But to me it's not just about this version of Flight, it's about how this version of Flight allows us to engage with users in whole new ways. And how that will inevitably lead to the next version or the next outgrowth of the franchise."
The new Microsoft Flight is available now at Microsoft.com.