Jan. 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM ET
Microsoft's long dormant "Flight Simulator" series comes back to the PC this spring as the simply titled "Flight," and players won't have to shell out a penny to fly the digital skies.
While Microsoft has been talking about "Flight" and showing the game off through impressive demo videos since August 2010, the company announced today that players would be able to fly around Hawaii's Big Island for free after downloading the game. Those that connect with a free Games for Windows Live account will also get additional free content including planes, missions, Achievements and an Online Pilot Profile, the company said.
Past that, players will be able to purchase additional aircraft, regions and customization options a la carte through an in-game marketplace, paying only for the parts of the game they're interested in.
Microsoft says it's "approaching the virtual flight genre from the ground up" with "Flight" and while the development team is promising to "retain the full fidelity simulation longtime fans have come to expect," the new title also promises a "simplicity" that will "focus on the universal appeal of the experience of Flight."
Microsoft's Flight Simulator series launched in 1982 and served as a powerful graphical demonstration for early IBM-compatible PCs. The series has since found a devoted following through a dozen total releases, most recently 2006's "Microsoft Flight Simulator X."
While the internal Microsoft team that developed those titles, ACES, was dissolved in 2009, many ex-ACES team members have reportedly come back to work on the new title.