Microsoft's rebooted Flight Simulator franchise for the PC -- AKA Microsoft Flight -- will officially take to the virtual skies on February 29. Interested PC gamers worldwide will be able to download it for free and explore the Big Island of Hawaii without having to shell out a dime. Even more, players who sign in to their Games for Windows -- LIVE account automatically receive additional free content, including the Boeing Stearman plane, supplementary missions, and access to Achievements and an Online Pilot Profile.
The news of the February launch follows the conclusion of a successful beta program that reportedly reeled in more requests than Microsoft anticipated.
"There was an overwhelming demand for access to the Microsoft Flight beta and the number of requests was far more than what we initially planned for," said executive producer Joshua Howard. "We received amazing feedback from the beta participants and it’s great to see this level of excitement from fans as we move toward the release of Microsoft Flight."
Also available on Games For Windows -- LIVE at launch will be the premium Hawaiian Adventure Pack costing 1600 Microsoft Points, offering access to hundreds of miles of airspace above the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Also packed into the DLC will be 20 new missions, new challenges, and the Vans RV-6A, a two-seat, single-engine, low-wing homebuilt airplane made famous for its speed and maneuverability.
In addition to the Hawaiian Adventure Pack, fans will also have two additional planes they can purchase and fly at launch: the Maule M-7-260C for 1200 Microsoft Points and the North American P-51 Mustang for 640 Microsoft Points. The former plane will reportedly feature "a richly detailed external model and a beautifully created cockpit."
"All the aircraft have been created with detailed graphics and accurate physics: Some models allow players to take the helm using highly rendered, accurate cockpits and master authentic piloting procedures, or they can simply use their mouse and keyboard to control any plane in an exterior view," the team stated on Monday. "Players can tailor the flight controls to match their skill level, making Microsoft Flight easy for beginners while still challenging the most accomplished PC pilots."
The Microsoft Flight team adds that no special hardware or past experience is required to play. "IF you have a mouse and a PC, you can fly!" the team added.