Microsoft has announced that it has resurrected its flight simulator franchise in the guise of Microsoft Flight, a new PC game that "lets players jump into the challenge, fun and freedom of flight."
However, if you're expecting a mega worldwide flying experience - then don't. "Microsoft Flight" will be available as a free download this spring, but restricted to allowing you to fly the skies over Hawaii.
Still, while the flying arena might not be as big as you'd hoped, you shouldn't let it dampen your spirits. There will be a variety of exciting missions, the chance to test your skills in flying challenges and find hidden aero-caches on the island.
According to Microsoft:
"Players [will] view the world from above in a visually stunning and realistic representation of the earth, complete with region-specific weather patterns, foliage, terrain and landmarks. Players can choose to take the helm using highly rendered, accurate cockpits and authentic piloting procedures, or simply use their mouse and keyboard to control the plane in an exterior view."
More experienced players can tailor the flight controls to match their skill level.
While the initial experience will be free, players will be able to expand the game excessively soon afterwards. Players who sign in to their Games for Windows Live, for example, will automatically receive additional free content, including a 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 customisation options.
There also looks to be daily aerocache challenges and updates promised too.
In a further attempt to lure would-be pilots, you'll also be able to fly the new ICON A5 before real-world production starts at the end of 2012.
Designed by the aeronautical engineers behind the Voyager spaceship, X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galatic’s SpaceShipTwo, the ICON A5 is the “jet ski for the skies,” a high-wing amphibious monoplane with a carbon fibre airframe and a comfortable, automobile-inspired cockpit with space for two.
The ICON A5 will be the first aircraft available to players for free in Microsoft Flight.
The game is out in the spring. Those who can't wait that long can sign up for the closed beta here.