Microsoft announces next major Flight Simulator update, multiplayer racing, and more

A Cessna aircraft flying near the Honenwerfen castle in Austria

Microsoft’s gamescom 2021 showcase is happening today where the firm is announcing new titles making it to its Xbox Game Pass subscription, showing off flashy new gameplay trailers, and more. Along with those announcements, the company also unveiled the next major World Update for Flight Simulator and a few other additions making it to the simulation title over the next few months.

Flight Simulator World Update VI brings visual improvements to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland this time around. As expected, these include high-resolution scenery, new 3D cities, over 100 points of interest, and a bunch of new airports such as Lübeck, Stuttgart, Klagenfurt, and St. Gallen. There are also new bush trips, landing challenges, and discovery flights that are aimed at showing off the visual upgrades. The update will begin rolling out to users for free on September 7.

A Junker JU-52 German aircraft from 1930

In addition to the visual upgrades, the Redmond firm is introducing a new ‘Local Legends’ series of additions that aligns with the World Updates. These are aimed at adding specific aircraft based on the regions in the World Update, highlighting airplanes that are “not as well known to a worldwide audience”. The addition for this time is the Junkers JU-52, a “famous German plane from 1930”. The firm adds that it has gone to “great lengths” to recreate the offering, even going as far as creating high-resolution scans, collaborating with the grandson of the plane’s original designer, and a pilot who last few the aircraft. The Junkers JU-52 will be a $14.99 addition and will be available on September 7.

A white Volococity helicopter with multiple blades at the top flying next to the Eifel Tower

Another addition to the simulator expected to make it in November is the Volocopter, an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) air taxi made by a German company. The firm adds that the addition of this helicopter-like vehicle is the “first step” towards introducing more helicopters, something that has been widely requested. There is no word on whether this will be a free addition.

Lastly, the company is adding STIHL National Championship Air Races to Flight Simulator this fall, thanks to its partnership with RARA (the Reno Air Racing Association). This is said to be the “world’s fastest motorsport” with planes flying as fast as 500mph at an altitude of 50 feet to 250 feet. These races bring multiplayer racing to the game, where users will be able to compete with friends around the globe. The firm did not, however, mention if these will be a part of a free update or if this “first major expansion” will be a paid add-on.

While it was not mentioned in today’s announcement, the game will also be receiving a Top Gun: Maverick expansion on November 19, aligning with the release of the Top Gun: Maverick movie. While this was announced along with the Xbox console launch announcement, not much in the way of details has been revealed yet.

You can take a look at everything that Microsoft showed off at its gamescom 2021 showcase here.

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