If you like kicking PC games old school, you probably remember Microsoft Flight Simulator. Put out by the company's Aces game studio, many feared that this long-running title had reached the end of its trip when the software giant closed the studio last year as the result of layoffs. But it looks like the game may fly again, as Microsoft Flight.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a lot of news about it. The game, which is in its alpha stage, is almost ready for internal testing. There is a very short teaser video that gives viewers an idea of the realism Microsoft can achieve, at least with water and plane movement, but that's about it.
Kevin Unangst, a senior director of Microsoft's game unit, notes that Flight is designed to attract flying enthusiasts with its realism, accuracy and fidelity. He implied that Microsoft won't leave the novices out of the loop, however, so we can expect to see various types of gameplay with this title.
Flight simulation enthusiasts have waited for years for this game. Microsoft's last release of such a title, Flight Simulator X, came in 2006. It was the latest in a line of Microsoft flight simulator games that stretched back nearly a quarter of a century. And while the original version may be old, you can expect Flight to be up to date - remember, Microsoft is also licensing some of its technology to Lockheed Martin for a military simulator.
Still...why bring back a title, even one with that long of a history, that's been dormant for four years? Unangst noted that the time seems ripe to bring back some classics. The rise of social gaming, online services, and cloud computing seem to offer an environment that could allow such games to attract new fans.
Microsoft is also planning the return of another old title: Age of Empires. This version will be playable online. It faces some stiff competition. Civilization is the first game that comes to mind here, but there are many others.
So when can we expect to buckle up for the next Flight? Sadly, "I wouldn't expect for people to see Flight in public beta this year," Unangst noted.
If you're an Age of Empires fan, though, you can look forward to scratching that itch a little sooner. Expect to see Microsoft start taking sign-ups for the public beta of that title a little later this year. There will be some changes, according to Unangst, but "It is faithful to the real-time strategy game heritage of the original." One can only hope it also keeps the same reputation for its AI to not cheat in its own favor that the original Age of Empires had as well.
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