Microsoft Flight Simulator is getting DirectX 12 support and its first official military jet

Microsoft Flight Simulator is pretty great. "A seismic moment for PC gaming," we said in our 89% review, that's both "a simulator for people interested in flight, and a magical virtual tourism portal for people interested in peering into the Mir Mine in a prop they're controlling with a pad." That's an important point: "Serious" flight sims are great if that's your thing, but they're often about as accessible as The Iliad—not a great thing when all you really want to do is bash around inside a hurricane or try to land at the bottom of a terrifying cosmic rift.

On November 18 that already-excellent journey through the digital clouds will be updated to the Game of the Year Edition, which will add five new aircraft to the lineup including the game's first military aircraft, eight new airports, and new missions, tutorials, an updated weather system, new photogrammetry cities (Helsinki, Freiburg im Breisgua, Brighton, Derby, Eastbourne, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Utretcht), and "early support" for DirectX 12.

The planes:

  • Aviat Pitts Special S1S: One of our most popular planes gets a single-seat option with the release of this aircraft.
  • Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet: Our first military jet and a highly requested feature from the community. The Top Gun: Maverick expansion will release with the movie next Spring, but we wanted simmers to have the opportunity to test their need for speed this holiday.   
  • VoloCity: We partnered with well-known German company Volocopter, which is working on an eVTOL called "VoloCity," a vision for an urban air taxi. We worked closely with the Volocopter engineering team to develop an authentic version of the prototype aircraft for the simulator. This is our first aircraft that can perform pinpoint landings and is a teaser of what you can look forward to in 2022 when we intend to launch helicopters in the sim.   
  • Pilatus PC-6 Porter: This legendary short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility aircraft is a highly versatile plane from Switzerland and comes with several cockpits, cabins, and landing gear variations. It is the result of our close collaboration with the manufacturer and the development efforts by famed developers Hans Hartmann and Alexander Metzger resulted in a great and fun new aircraft with exceptional capabilities in the simulator.   
  • CubCrafters NX Cub: Yakima-based CubCrafters recently introduced a nosewheel option for their flagship CC-19 XCub Aircraft, popularly called the NX Cub, which we are pleased to introduce to the flight sim audience to further enhance our bush flying and off airport options.

And the 'ports:

  • Leipzig/Halle Airport (Germany - EDDP)       
  • Allgäu Airport Memmingen (Germany - EDJA)       
  • Kassel Airport (Germany - EDVK) 
  • Lugano Airport (Switzerland - LSZA)
  • Zurich Airport (Switzerland - LSZH)
  • Luzern-Beromunster Airport (Switzerland - LSZO)   
  • Patrick Space Force Base (US - KCOF)
  • Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (US - KNKX)

Information on 545 airports in the US that were missing from the original Flight Sim release will also be added in the GOTY edition.

"This new edition celebrates all the positive feedback, reviews and awards garnered, but it is also a 'Thank You' to our fans—new and old—that have made Microsoft Flight Simulator such a phenomenon," Microsoft said. It also confirmed that all the content in the Game of the Year Edition will be offered to existing owners as a free update.

Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition is one of several things that Microsoft has cooking over the final three months of the year: Age of Empires 4 is coming on Oct 28, Forza Horizon 5 will arrive on November 9, and Halo Infinite is set for launch on December 8. Amidst all that, on November 15, Microsoft will also hold a livestream to mark the 20th anniversary of the original Xbox and Halo: Combat Evolved, both of which debuted on November 15, 2001. Microsoft said that no new games will be announced during the stream, but I imagine there will be at least a few surprises in store.

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Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.