This week, the Flight Simulator license will make its debut on our consoles after nearly four decades spent exclusively on PC. But from this Tuesday, July 27, 2021, Xbox Series X | S players will be able to soar the skies flying the most beautiful planes.

In order to prepare us for the big leap, Jorg Neumann, the boss of the Flight Simulator brand at Microsoft, gave us a last interview to come back to the specifics of this console version.

First of all, Jorg Neumann made it clear that the Asobo Studio teams have worked to make Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox a version equivalent to the one released on PC last year. On Xbox Series X, the game runs in native 4K with a minimum of 30 fps and the possibility of reaching a higher framerate on certain screens compatible with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) technology. As for the Xbox Series S, it will have to be content with an upscaled 4K definition, all at 30 fps.

From what we were able to see briefly on a preview version provided by Microsoft, the game is rather fluid and extremely beautiful on Xbox Series X. Some more or less significant slowdowns are still to be noted above very detailed cities such as New York for example. It also happens that textures appear at the last moment but overall, the overall rendering is really impressive.

“We also added new elements because we realized that on Xbox, gamers have probably never tried a Flight Simulator game before as they never have on consoles […]. So we said to ourselves that there would be newcomers who might be interested in the experience but without really knowing what to do ”.

Following this observation, Jorg Neumann and his teams added different modes and optimizations to promote more immediate handling. In this, the 22 tutorials (against eight on PC) are shorter and reward the player with a note. A series of exercises focus on basic controls, then others instill very specific manipulations such as landing and take-off. We were also able to test several of these activities and it must be recognized that the instructions are clear. It will clearly be a necessary step to start on a good basis.

On the other hand, the Discovery Flight section invites the budding pilot to fly over emblematic places of our planet (the pyramids of Giza, New York, Everest, Rio…) without worrying too much about the controls. It’s a great way to start off gently and take in the most beautiful scenery the Earth has to offer. As for the flight assistant, it is used to go to a specific location without constraints and the Land Anywhere feature allows, as its name suggests, to land anywhere (water, snow, etc.) without having to maneuver on the runway of an airport. Finally, icons appear directly on the decor to promote visual piloting by identifying monuments and cities on the horizon.

“All of these elements make the game less intimidating. Some people see airplanes and think it’s too hard to fly, like a spaceship, but now it’s more like a car. It is something that everyone can control ”.

If Jorg Neumann did not fail to underline the power of the new Xboxes which he goes so far as to describe as “high-end PC”, this is logically not enough to run a game requiring 2.5 petabytes of storage in order to store all its data. And that’s when the Cloud takes over as is currently the case on PC.

“The product wouldn’t be in the same condition (without the Cloud) as it is today and this same streaming technology is used on Xbox. The whole world is streamed. So, we don’t have to ask ourselves whether to simplify the world, use less polygons … None of this is topical thanks to streaming. And the same goes for the weather in real time thanks to very intelligent algorithms. It is not a sacrificed portage. We just optimized some elements because there is always the possibility of better optimizing things. But our goal has always been to make it look like the PC version and we have done that ”.

This is also why there is not an abysmal difference between Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox Series X and S. Only the definition of the image is changed, but using the Cloud, the rendering changes little. As for a better optimization of the space occupied by the game (at least 100 GB will be necessary to launch), it is not on the program since much of the work in this area has already been done. Neumann believes, however, that more data could be managed via the cloud to take the strain off the console’s SSD a bit. But with the many World Updates already available and those that will arrive in the near future, the gigas are unfortunately likely to accumulate.

Finally, to close this chapter dedicated to the Cloud, Microsoft has not yet announced a date for the arrival of Flight Simulator on our smartphones and tablets via Xbox Cloud Gaming. However, Jorg Neumann has confirmed that such a version is in development and that he is currently playing it on his mobile. Unfortunately, there are some difficulties associated with the store integrated into the game. Indeed, if a user has purchased add-ons on this space from another medium (PC or console), the Cloud version must also incorporate them on its servers … which is not easy. As for an release on Xbox One, it has already been confirmed and Asobo will use the Cloud exclusively since the console is obviously not powerful enough to run Flight Simulator.

In terms of good news, note that the game on Xbox will receive its DLC, but also its updates at the same time as the PC version.

“There are not two projects (Flight Simulator) but only one. All the updates we make, since the game is compatible with cross-play and cross-save, will be available on all media. It cannot deviate in more than one direction. So when we create something, like the next World Update for Germany, Austria and Switzerland in August, it will be released on the same day on every version. “

Like PC gamers, Xbox gamers will also have a role to play in providing feedback to the development team. The requests and other corrections massively requested by the console community will also appear in the Feedback Snapshot table which compiles these complaints on a weekly basis while giving an exit period for each item requested. This is for example the case for the helicopters that will be deployed in the game in 2022.

“The interesting thing about helicopters is that they are very different […]. Neither Asobo nor Microsoft have the necessary expertise. So, we are going to partner with another team. Several partners have come forward to help us and we have made this choice in order to make the game an incredible simulation of piloting a helicopter. And we believe that we can achieve this goal before the end of 2022 ”.

Finally, a quick word on the Top Gun: Maverick expansion announced at E3 2021. We haven’t been able to learn much about its content since communication will be intrinsically linked to that of the film that will be released in November.

“It’s a dream come true. Everyone on the team grew up with Top Gun and it was already amazing to hear that there would be a new movie. But the fact that we are working alongside this feature film is really a dream come true […]. We are obviously not allowed to talk about it as production has its own communication schedule, but the good news is that we are already at the end of July. So we are getting closer to the exit and you will hear more and more about it. What I can say is it’s super cool and perfectly in the spirit of what Top Gun is ”.

While waiting for this free DLC and future World Updates (including Italy from next year), Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming to Xbox Series X | S on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. The game is included in Xbox Game Pass.

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