Today Microsoft hosted a livestream to detail its plans for the upcoming update for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
We hear from the head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann, Asobo chief executive officer Sebastian Wlock, and executive producer Martial Bossard. Incidentally, Neumann announced that players enjoyed over 20 million flights on the new aircraft introduced with the 40th Anniversary Edition. The most popular so far is the Airbus A310.
Moving on to upcoming content, we hear about World Update 12, which will focus on New Zealand and will come on February 23. The content of the update has been beefed up considerably since the announcement in November. The whole country is now covered by a new DEM (Digital Elevation Model) with a lot of it in 1-meter resolution.
There will be a whopping 9 airports made by Orbx and NZA Simulations, Gisborne Airport (NZGS), Milford Sound Airport (NZMF), Martin's Bay (NZMJ), George River Airport (NZQE), Rotorua Airport (NZRO), Tekapo Airport (NZTL), Whangarei Airport (NZWR), Westport Airport (NZWS), and Quinton Lodge (T004).
On top of those, we'll get 62 points of interest and 7 photogrammetry cities, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Nelson, Queenstown, Tauranga, Wellington, and... Hobbiton! 10 activities will also be included.
Below you can take a look at a few screenshots including a list of all the points of interest and one for the activities.
Next, we take a look at the teaser trailer for the local legend de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou which will release as a payware aircraft alongside the World Update. You can watch it below alongside a presentation from the Development Lead, Ben McClintock from Orbx. The aircraft will have 7 liveries.
Speaking of previous world updates, we learn that the team is working on improving the cities from the World Update that focused on Canada. Calgary has already been completed and will be released soon. More are in the works. We also hear that the developers are working on a new London since the original one wasn't top-notch. Microsoft isn't ready to reveal when it'll be released just yet. Interestingly, Neumann added that an update focused on Poland will also come at some point.
Speaking about scenery, an application called "World Hub" is in the works. We have heard about this before, but now we get more details. It allows players to make changes to the world and especially airport data, including taxiways, PAPI lights, and more. It's currently being tested and it'll be released to the public after the developers determine that everything works as intended.
Sim Update 12 is targeted for March 14 but the team isn't sure that it'll be on time. The update will focus on stability and it will include the much anticipated WASM support, two additional languages, Korean and Turkish, on top of fixes for the 40th Anniversary Edition and previous World Updates, improvements to helicopters and gliders, an increase of the maximum number of engines for aircraft to 16, fixes to the legacy flight model, and improvements for thermals and turbulence.
Below you can see a visualization of the improvements to thermals and turbulence with an explanation of the improvements by Sebastian Wloch. Interestingly, we'll get an option to control the amount of turbulence between realistic, medium, and low.
We then get the reveal of the Famous Flyer 5 aircraft. At long last, we're getting the Antonov An-2 by AT Simulations, which was announced a while ago. The licensing contract with Antonov has finally been finalized. You can see a teaser and a few screenshots below, and the aircraft will be released on March 14 alongside Sim Update 12.
Yet, this wasn't the only surprise from Antonov (nor the largest). Famous Flyer 4 will be the Antonov An-225 Mriya developed by iniBuilds. Below you can see a teaser trailer, a presentation by a legendary pilot and An-225 captain Dmytro Antonov, and one by iniBuilds' Cameron MacMillan providing a great look at the aircraft itself.
It'll be a payware aircraft, priced at 19.99. The intent is to send all the proceeds to Antonov so that they can be used for the rebuilding of the real Mriya. Microsoft is planning to launch it for PC on the anniversary of the real aircraft's destruction during the invasion of Ukraine on February 27. It'll be released a bit later on Xbox on March 14, as it requires the implementation of WASM coming with Sim Update 12.
As a consequence of the release of these aircraft, the ATR 42/72 which was originally slated for March, has been delayed to April.
Lastly, we received a pledge from Neumann that the team is working to improve the timing of the release of third-party add-ons in the official Marketplace, which has been very slow. Going forward, Microsoft won't wait for the localization of the add-ons before releasing them and is currently hiring to add more manpower to the dedicated team. Improvements will also be made to discoverability and the ability for customers to better rate the products on sale.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is currently available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, including Game Pass. If you'd like to learn more, you should stay tuned on TechRaptor as we host daily Microsoft Flight Simulator news to keep you updated on the many add-ons coming and released for the sim.