Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 is a whole new game that lets you douse wildfires and rescue lost hikers

In one of the bigger surprises of this year's Xbox Games Showcase, Asobo Studio is working on a whole new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Titled 'Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024', the sequel aims to lend a more human face to soaring through the sky in a large metal box.

This is represented by the game's headline new feature, although calling it a "feature" is an understatement. Basically, Flight Sim 2024 lets players embark on a vast range of flight-related careers. For example, the game lets you take up aerial firefighting, dousing wildfires with high-speed, overhead water drops. Alternatively, you could get into crop dusting as an agricultural aviator, or help build electricity pylons in the airborne construction biz.

What's particularly interesting is that many of these careers seem to involve interfacing with human NPCs. For example, doing jobs like search and rescue will involve airlifting human NPCs from remote locations, while being a skydiving pilot will see you flying planes packed with parachute-sporting thrillseekers. The trailer puts substantial emphasis on the human element of air travel in a more general sense too, with paramedics rushing patients on stretches to an air ambulance, and ground crew directing air traffic at an Antarctic research station.

It's a neat way to bring something new to Flight Simulator, although I suppose once you've got the entire globe in your game, the only thing left to do is to flesh out the experience with more human details. Indeed, it's surprising that Asobo is making a sequel at all. 2020's Flight Sim had the distinct air of being a platform that would be incrementally updated, basically Fortnite for dads. If that was the plan, then for whatever reason Microsoft has clearly had a change of heart.

You can view the full list of careers in Flight Sim 2024 below. It isn't clear how structured these careers will be, whether you'll be able to fully embrace a particular vocation, or whether each will include a handful of individual scenarios. I can't see players getting hundreds of hours of entertainment out of Hot Air Balloon trips, for example, although I am possibly underestimating Flight Simulator players in that regard.

  • Aerial firefighting
  • Search and rescue
  • Helicopter cargo transport
  • Air ambulance
  • Agricultural aviation,
  • Mountain rescue
  • Skydive aviation,
  • Aerial construction
  • Industrial cargo transport
  • Vip charter service
  • Air racing
  • Glider pilot
  • Scientific research
  • Experimental flight
  • Low altitude training
  • Exectutive transport service
  • Airship tour
  • Hot air balloon trips