Last week, Microsoft unveiled its collaboration with blackshark.ai on its upcoming Flight Simulator title and provided an update on the SDK. The latest Feedback Snapshot iteration was also released, though as has been the case in recent weeks, it only made its way to Insiders.
With the final development update before Microsoft Flight Simulator's official PC release now having been posted, a bunch of new information has arrived through a developer Q&A session, along with more focused news on other deliverables.
For starters, the previously teased partnership with the International Online Flying Network VATSIM has now been fully detailed through a five-minute video. Connecting to the VATSIM experience will simply require opening the vPilot settings, and then providing the credentials, callsign, and aircraft type. Microsoft stated that, "[...] with day one support, Microsoft Flight Simulator users will be able to experience the same immersive experience as VATSIM has offered the flight sim community for 20 years."
Moving on, a developer Q&A session that was livestreamed on Twitch earlier today addressed top community concerns, including information on possible career mode options, pre-downloads, the Xbox release, and more. With regards to the former, Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator, noted how gamers in the simulation genre were often already aware of how they meant to approach the provided sandbox, which is why the development team had specifically decided to opt out of making a career mode, keeping the game "a lot more open" and avoiding "arcadey missions".
As far as a pre-download is concerned, Martial Bossard, Lead Software Engineer for Asobo Studio, stated that although the core components will be available to download on day one, further modules will be downloadable only through a unified platform in the form of Azure PlayFab. Through this distinction, the developer is aiming to place much more emphasis on user control, allowing users to personally decide upon and choose the content they feel is necessary to download.
An Xbox release date is still nowhere in sight for now, though the community has been assured that similar Q&A sessions to address its concerns will be held every month. Information on further features that were touched upon, including planned availability for helicopters, licensed liveries, and more can be viewed in the full video above.
Finally, wrapping up this week's development update, a welcome surprise has arrived in the form of a Feedback Snapshot finally being showcased to the general public. Version 8.01 takes note of the fact that all of the top community questions have been answered - aside from a campaign mode query, which has now been addressed through the Q&A as well. Almost all of the Alpha issues are currently being addressed, while some of the top wishlisted capabilities including AI traffic, virtual reality, and seasons, are being worked upon as well
Microsoft Flight Simulator is set to be released on PC on August 18; it can be pre-ordered from Steam here, and the Microsoft Store here. The closed beta is going to end on August 17, 10 a.m. PST/ 1 p.m. EDT.