Microsoft abandoned its revered Flight Simulator series years ago, but the underlying technology is about to make a comeback.
Dovetail Games, a company best known for the Train Simulator series, has licensed the Flight Simulator engine from Microsoft and plans to release a new game in 2015. While the game won't be an official "Microsoft Flight Simulator" release, it will be based on the same technology.
Dovetail will also re-release 2006's Microsoft Flight Simulator X through Steam. While the deal doesn't allow Dovetail to improve the game's outdated graphics, PC Gamer reports that Dovetail is working on bug fixes and a new multiplayer service. (Flight Simulator X's multiplayer had previously relied on GameSpy, which shut down earlier this year.)
Many Flight Simulator aficionados consider Flight Simulator X to be the last true version of the game, as Microsoft laid off the series' development team in 2009. A free-to-play flight simulator game, called Microsoft Flight, came in 2012, but it was poorly-received by critics and quickly abandoned by Microsoft.
Not to be outdone, Lanimar Research announced that its rival flight simulator X-Plane 10 is also coming to Steam shortly. The "ultra-realistic" simulator had previously been available on DVD only. Perhaps all this activity will lead to new golden age for airplane games that don't involve blowing stuff up.