The hardest of 'hardcore' games, Microsoft Flight, goes casual (and free)

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Microsoft FlightAs much as the media (us included) throws around the word "hardcore", there isn't a more fitting word to describe the long-dormant Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise. Seriously, just look up some of the older setups dedicated fans had to use for playing their favorite airplane simulator (and every button matters). But now, Microsoft has decided to take the series in a new direction.

Enter Microsoft Flight, a new free-to-play version of the (once) hit series that's designed for a wider audience of would-be virtual pilots. "Aviation can be incredibly technical, but we've taken great care to build an experience that makes taking to the skies thrilling and accessible for everyone," Microsoft Flight executive producer Joshua Howard said to Gamasutra.

This is re-imagining of the series will be the first to release in five years when it hits this March. When the studio responsible for the more traditional entries in the series, ACES Game Studio, closed in 2009, the chances of the franchise's survival were slim. But Microsoft, which is developing the game internally, hopes to inject new life into the once-revered series with not just accessible play, but an accessible price.

It seems that Microsoft has learned a thing or two from the social games movement, as Microsoft Flight will employ an in-game marketplace for players to buy new game items piecemeal, as well as daily challenges, achievements and social play. According to Gamasutra, Microsoft wants to introduce "a new perspective to the long-standing genre." Perhaps it was Arkadium that helped Microsoft look at its iconic franchise from this "new perspective."

Would you consider getting into flight simulators now that Microsoft Flight will be available for free? What other "hardcore" game franchises would benefit from going free-to-play? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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