At Gamescom in Cologne, TechRaptor had a conversation with Jorg Neumann, head of Microsoft Flight Simulator, to quiz him on the plans for 2024 and what we can still expect from the current version of the simulator.
You can watch the full interview below. Unfortunately, due to an issue with the recording equipment, the audio was severely damaged.
We did what we could to recover and make it at least understandable but be warned that you may have to strain your ears. We included a recap of the main points made by Neumann below the video,
The "10 Year Plan" Has Been Extended
Neumann mentions that the initial condition for restarting Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) was to work on it for at least 10 years. Not only has the game continued releasing consistent updates keeping in line with this plan but its overall success has led to an expansion of the original scope. With this success, Microsoft can make a sequel and create something even better.
At the Flight Simulation Expo in June, one of Microsoft's competitors mentioned that he predicted Microsoft would abandon the genre again. Neumann's response is that everyone at Microsoft is proud of MSFS, especially now that the franchise is seeing unprecedented success.
Neumann encourages users who might be doubting Microsoft's commitment to the franchise to "just watch what Microsoft will do". There have been roughly 40 updates since Microsoft Flight Simulator's release in 2020 and Neumann and his team intend to continue.
Today's Xbox is different from the company they were when they abandoned the franchise in 2009. It's very consumer and community-focused, and the flight simulation community is one of the most vibrant in gaming. Neumann expressed his support for the "over 2,000 companies and individuals creating add-ons". Neumann believes the future of flight simming is "super fun."
The Next Microsoft Flight Simulator Local Legend is Japanese
I asked Neumann about aircraft, past and future. We were able to exclusively learn that the Local Legend that will be released on September 21 is a Japanese aircraft to celebrate Tokyo Game Show. More info will be shared at Microsoft's presentation which is also taking place on September 21st.
Earlier this year Microsoft partnered with Antonov after the destruction of the Antonov An-225 "Mriya", a plane destroyed near the beginning of the war in Ukraine. This partnership led to the release of the plane in MSFS to raise funds for it to be recreated. Neumann was able to confirm that sales of the Antonov An-225 have reached $1.3 million. Antonov is very satisfied with that result.
As part of this relationship, Microsoft and Antonov have discussed making further Antonov aircraft available in MSFS so we shouldn't be surprised if more are announced.
Neumann also released further information about the Dornier Do X that was released in late August. He explained that this plane was created thanks to documentation and blueprints gathered by a group that is rebuilding a replica of the Dornier Do X for the 100th anniversary of its first flight.
The Expert Series is a line of planes that has the goal of creating high-definition aircraft with the full collaboration of their manufacturer including being tested by the manufacturer. We've already seen the first in this line with the ATR 42/72 but Neumann reassured us that there will "absolutely" be more.
Fans looking forward to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will get to look forward to a version of the A-10 included in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 with a visible sensor (which does exist in real life). Unlike the more commonly seen A-10 with a GAU-8 cannon attached this unfortunately wouldn't be allowed in accordance with Microsoft's rules on visible weapons.
That being said, if someone creates a mod with the weapon, there's nothing Microsoft can or will do about it.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 Enables Continued Growth
Small parts of the community have alleged that MSFS 2024 is being developed because 2020 is a failure. When asking Neumann about these claims, he mentioned that MSFS 2020 is the most successful entry in the genre ever, "by a factor of 3 or 4."
It's so successful that thousands of people are making add-ons and Microsoft keeps adding content as well. Unfortunately, this means that the simulator is very demanding regarding disk storage.
2024 will include a radical change in architecture that will download from the cloud only what is seen at any given time and will be much more efficient in terms of storage demands.
This architectural change was required to continue to increase the scale of the simulator. and to continue to innovate. On top of that, it allows for the implementation of the new activities such as firefighting and medical transport, which were requested by the community.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 Is The Most Ambitious Simulator Ever Made
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 is "by far the biggest and most ambitious product" made in the world of simulation. It has an overwhelming amount of features, with over 500 people working on it, including experts in every field. Microsoft has merely scratched the surface in terms of communicating its features.
That being said moving on to 2024 won't mean leaving what you loved about 2020 behind. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will include everything from the 2020 version. The activities added in MSFS 2024 are in addition to the ability to freely fly all over the world with any aircraft.
Firefighting activities in 2024 will include real-time fires, but Microsoft is working on a system that offsets it so that people who live on the other side of the world can still do it during the daytime.
Microsoft is looking into improving the weather since there are places like New Zealand that have fewer data points to work with. and supplement the predictive model.
Many have requested historical weather, but the data libraries that exist are different and are never worldwide. The developers are looking into it because they at least want to recreate specific events related to the Local Legends.
I mentioned to Neumann that many would at least like to be able to offset dynamic weather by twelve hours to be able to fly specifically during the day or night regardless of their location and the current time of the day. He responded that it's good feedback and he'll bring it to the development team.
If you'd like to learn more about the flourishing add-on market mentioned by Neumann, you should stay turned on our daily Microsoft Flight Simulator news, which will help you keep track.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 is coming next year for the same platforms. A specific release date has not been announced just yet.