The sky is calling! After what feels like the longest waiting period, Microsoft Flight Simulator is finally making its Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S debut this coming Tuesday, July 27, and we're eager to get into the cockpit!
Ahead of its release, we've put together a quick guide so you know what to expect when Microsoft Flight Simulator arrives, as well as some details on what it's like, tech specs and the exact time it goes live on Xbox Game Pass.
What Is Microsoft Flight Simulator?
Microsoft Flight Simulator is the latest entry in the long-running series, with this version developed by A Plague Tale: Innocence developer Asobo Studio. The game allows you to fly a variety of planes across literally anywhere on the planet, testing your piloting skills against the challenges of night flying, real-time atmospheric simulation and live weather in a dynamic and living world, featuring over 37 thousand airports and 1.5 billion buildings.
"Microsoft Flight Simulator is the next generation of one of the most beloved simulation franchises. From light planes to wide-body jets, fly highly detailed and stunning aircraft in an incredibly realistic world. Create your flight plan and fly anywhere on the planet. Enjoy flying day or night and face realistic, challenging weather conditions."
Which Platforms Is Flight Simulator Available On?
Microsoft Flight Simulator first released for PC (and Xbox Game Pass PC) in August of 2020, and it's now coming exclusively to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S with Xbox Game Pass on July 27, 2021. There are plans to bring the game to Xbox One as well, but this will be in the form of a streamed Xbox Cloud Gaming version.
How Does The Gameplay Work In Microsoft Flight Simulator?
A common question that often gets asked about Microsoft Flight Simulator is exactly how the gameplay works. For the most part, it's a game that challenges you to make your own fun, rather than abiding to a career mode style structure.
There are side-activities you can undertake, such as training, landing challenges and bush trips, and you can also play the game in online multiplayer, but the focus is very much on doing what you want to do. Want to embark on an ultra-realistic, multi-hour flight? You can do that. Want to fly recklessly with friends in a big city? You can do that too.
Here's an extract about this from our review of the PC version last year:
"Want to encounter other live players on the map while you're in the air? Make it so. Feel like changing the weather mid-flight or even altering the position of the clouds? It's possible at the click of a button.
You don't even have to fly the plane yourself if you don't want to - your co-pilot can take over as much of the journey as you like, including handling pre-flight checklists, or you can simply skip between different sections of the flight at will. There's plenty of scope to make every journey your own."
Can I Really Find My House In Microsoft Flight Simulator?
It's a bit of a stretch to expect that you'll find an exact replica of your house in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you should at least be able to find the street or general vicinity of where you live. For the most part, Microsoft Flight Simulator uses different building models to try and imitate what your house looks like based on map data.
What's Different About Flight Simulator On Xbox Series X & Series S Compared To PC?
Asobo Studio has advised that Microsoft Flight Simulator is actually 'pretty much unchanged' on Xbox Series X and S compared to PC, although features are being added to help teach new players the ropes, including new training lessons, a Discovery Flight in which you'll be with a co-pilot, and a Flight Assistant feature in which you'll be able to let the AI take you somewhere so you can "just look around and have an interesting time".
“Imagine you fly over New York and you want to actually just look at the landscape but you know eventually you want to go to the Brooklyn Bridge. So on the Flight Assistant you can now click on ‘Go to Brooklyn Bridge’ and the AI, almost like a co-pilot next to you will fly you to the Brooklyn Bridge and you can just look around and have an interesting time.”
What Resolution / Frame Rate Is Microsoft Flight Simulator For Xbox Series X & Series S?
Ah yes, the specs! Asobo has confirmed that Microsoft Flight Simulator will run on standard displays at 4K, 30fps on Xbox Series X, and 1080p, 30fps on Xbox Series S. Both systems are said to perform very similarly in terms of frame rate, and if you've got a display that supports variable refresh rates, the fps can actually go above that 30fps limit, even reaching as high as 60 frames per-second in certain scenarios.
It might sound like a disappointment that Flight Simulator can't go beyond 30fps for standard displays, but based on our history with it, it's a very demanding game, and it's a not a title that really requires a higher frame rate.
What Controllers Are Supported With Microsoft Flight Simulator For Xbox Series X & Series S?
You've got loads of choice when it comes to controller support! The standard Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S controllers all work fine with Microsoft Flight Simulator, and the game will also include keyboard and mouse support on console. Or, you can can buy dedicated accessories to make the experience even more immersive.
When Does Microsoft Flight Simulator Come Out On Xbox Game Pass For Console?
Microsoft Flight Simulator officially releases for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S as part of Xbox Game Pass on Tuesday, July 27. According to the Flight Sim team, it will unlock at 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 4pm BST on that date.
Microsoft Flight Simulator will be opening the skies to millions of new pilots on Xbox Series X|S on July 27, 2021 and will be available with Xbox Game Pass on the same day. Xbox Game Pass members on Series X|S can pre-install the game now! Visit the Xbox Store to pre-order your copy today.
The sky is calling!
How Do I Pre-Load Microsoft Flight Simulator On Xbox Game Pass?
You can pre-load Microsoft Flight Simulator by heading to the Xbox Game Pass app on your Xbox Series X or Series S, searching for the game, and then selecting to "pre-install". It clocks in at just over 97GB, so it's a big one!
Looking forward to trying out Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox Game Pass? Let us know in the comments below.