Phil Spencer found it hard to believe that Flight Simulator worked in real time | Xbox One

The return of Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2020 was a real slap in the face to the public, but not only. The mythical aviation simulator, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last week, offers a formula that is more accomplished than ever, thanks in particular to Asobo’s work on the project, and Microsoft Flight Simulator is today an incredible achievement in the video game industry, so much so that Phil Spencer had a hard time believing certain features of the game.

Xbox Boss overwhelmed by Flight Simulator’s real-time and realism

It was the head of Microsoft Flight Simulator, Jorg Neumann, who recently spoke to our colleagues at VGC, who returned to the presentation of the project to Phil Spencer.

“When I was pitching the project, the very first demo I showed Phil was Seattle in 3D. I was flying over the Microsoft campus—literally, the building we were sitting in and talking in—and he said, ‘Why are you showing me a video of Seattle?’ ‘ I knew then that I had it.

Then I said ‘it’s real time’ and he said ‘no way’ [rires], and we knew we had something. None of the guys in that room smouldered, and they all felt something.”

It’s not hard to imagine the reaction of Spencer and his comrades to the presentation, as many people, attracted to video games or not, were blown away by the realism, real-time control and scale. 1:1 present in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

For Jorg Neumann, it is this realistic representation of Earth that has attracted many players, and not the “flight simulator” side of the title, when that is its very essence.

“When we launched the game, we found people who liked or had some respect for airplanes, but they really liked the planet. That’s the app that kills. That’s what brought new people in.

If this had been an exceptionally well done physics simulator with atmosphere and airlines, I don’t think it would have gone this far.”

The Microsoft Flight Simulator adventure has been one of the Xbox ecosystem’s biggest hits over the past two years, and it’s far from over. In fact, the 40th anniversary update of Microsoft Flight Simulator, released on Friday, finally integrates helicopters, gliders and historic aircraft such as the Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St Lewis or the Hughes H-4 Hercules ‘Spruce Goose’. A number of classic missions, airports and planes from Microsoft Flight Simulator X 2006 and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight have also been added to the game.

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