Microsoft melted the minds of flight simmers everywhere at this very same time last year when it first revealed the new Flight Simulator. The unexpected announcement came in the form of a reveal trailer that contains in-game footage that’s still chilling to watch a year later.
Every subsequent update of the game’s development progress has been met with a similar level of amazement and the sheer graphical prowess on display. More often than not, some folks have had diffculty distinguishing in-game versus real life shots. And with good reason, the development team at Asobo Studios has really outdone themselves with the killer level of detail they’re striving for with the new Flight Simulator.
To show just how far this series has come, YouTube chanel “Flight Sim” (not an official channel) recently put out a video which shows off near scene-for-scene comparisons between the latest version of Flight Simulator and its “ancient” predecessor, FSX. As you must already anticipate, the difference is massive.
“As real as it gets”
In no time, this comparison shows the massive gulf between these two simulators. This really isn’t too surprsing considering the fact that FSX is now 14 years old. It was built in a different era on top of an engine that had already been around for quite a number of years. Now, in the new Flight Simulator, there’s a complex lighting system, simulation of wind surfaces and various weather factors in real time, and highly-detailed shaders and environments. And of course, the massive amount of detailed satellite imagery and building modeling cannot be understated.
FSX had effort put into mostly major cities, but smaller airports and surroounding were just given generic desgins. The new Flight Sim even takes into account the different terrain, like how one shot shows an island that’s supposed to be extremely rocky is merely lumpy in FSX, whereas the new sim makes sure to show a much more accurate representation.
Keep in mind that Asobo has boasted about its tech so much, that it has gone on the record saying that players will be able to fly above their own home and it will be accurate enough to identify.
The modern technology that’s powering the upcoming Flight Simulator was simply not avaliable back in 2006. While the road (runway?) to this point has been a long one, the results have clearly been worth it.
FSX has a numerous amount of add-ons under its belt. There are quite a few which seek to improve the graphical quality of the game like texture packs, scenery meshes and individual airport overhauls. This fragmented world of options has led to some simmers basically throwing everything at their copy of FSX in a hopes to make it look decent. Even with all the enhancements out there, even the best efforts still pale into comparison to how the new Flight Simulator will look out of the box.
As someone who’s been flying with the series since childhood, it’s amazing to me to see how far Asobo has been able to push the needle. It remains to be seen how the sim will look on lower-end hardware, but even so, it is reasonable to expect that the overall presentation will be well above what FSX can dish out. Also, remember that this sim also has to run on an Xbox One (somehow!).
Microsoft Flight Simulator is set to take off on PC and Xbox later this year; a formal release date has not yet been announced. However, the team continues to provide consistent updates every few weeks. Players are also currently taking part in a closed alpha, which increasings its invitee count every few weeks.