Microsoft sent GameSpot the latest build of Crimson Skies, a game that blends the mechanics of a flight simulation with the pacing of an action shooter. Crimson Skies is being developed by Zipper Interactive, the makers of MechWarrior 3. Crimson Skies is nearly complete - it seems like all of the game's intended gameplay modes and features have been included in the latest version.
It's apparent that the game is targeted at a broad spectrum of players, which is something flight simulations haven't easily been able to do in the past. We were able to jump into the cockpit of a plane and play three straight single-player missions without even glancing at the manual. Control in Crimson Skies is fairly similar to most other flight simulations in that the stick controls your plane's pitch and yaw, the trigger fires your primary weapon, and the thumb button fires the secondary weapon. Of course, the game's complexity can be scaled to accommodate more experienced players, who'll be able to customize their weapons loadout prior to each mission, specify different targets while in the air, and even build their own custom planes.
Crimson Skies officially entered its beta phase earlier this week, and it should be available on store shelves this September. Until then, take a look at the new batch of screenshots we took from the latest build.