Microsoft's rebirth of their hallowed Flight Simulator series, Microsoft Flight is finally coming out, over a year since we started seeing videos of it.
It looks quite nice, it's on PC and it's free... kinda sorta.
The official word is:
After downloading "Microsoft Flight" for free, players can jump into hours of exciting gameplay on the Big Island of Hawaii.
In addition, players who sign in to their Games for Windows – LIVE account automatically receive additional free content, including the legendary Boeing Stearman plane, supplementary missions, and access to Achievements and an Online Pilot Profile. Those looking to deepen their experience can purchase and download additional content that adds new aircraft, regions and customization options. The frequently released new content for "Microsoft Flight" includes daily aerocache challenges and updates that make every flight unique and fun.
That's how modern games work, and why not? Free for a taste. Paid for the full meal. The question is simply whether Microsoft will be nickeling and diming or letting folks pay a fair amount to fly through a full game.
Sign up for the beta, if you'd like.
Two questions linger about this:
UPDATE: We've got answers!
1) Microsoft says that people who play via Games for Windows LIVE will get added free content and multiplayer options. We're asking if you have to use that service.
Would that mean Live is the only wat to play multiplayer? A spokesperson for the game says: "In Microsoft Flight players can team up with friends in the LIVE community to share the skies and explore terrain together. We are currently exploring distribution channels for Microsoft Flight and are looking into a number of options."
2) The official Flight site compares the new game to Microsoft Flight Simulator as follows: "The new Microsoft Flight retains the full fidelity simulation longtime fans have come to expect while offering all players a whole new look and feel, a wide range of new game play and challenges, persistent experiences and social connectivity." We're checking about what that means in terms of controls to learn whether you can play with a controller, a flight stick or even with complex sim-style keyboard commands.
On this one, a spokesperson says that you could in fact play with just a mouse: "em>Microsoft Flight is compatible with joysticks, flight pedals, Xbox 360 controllers and additional traditional controllers used for flight simulators. Players only need a mouse to fly and can tailor flight controls to match their skill level, making Microsoft Flight easy for beginners while still challenging for the most accomplished PC pilots."
They further clarified that you can use keyboard and mouse controls. But what about Microsoft's other favorite control scheme? They have "nothing to announce on Kinect support at the moment."