Update: Unfortunately, it doesn't sound as if the Steam Edition of Flight Simulator X will feature any improvements. Dovetail told GameSpot, "We have the license to re-release FSX on Steam and this does not extend to making product improvements. However, we will include all possible bug fixes we can. One area that will require some work is the use that FSX made use of GameSpy for multiplayer features. As you may know, GameSpy is no longer available and so we are looking for alternate ways of providing this functionality including using features in Steam."
Additionally, Dovetail says the new game it's working on won't actually be called Microsoft Flight Simulator; it will simply be using Microsoft's technology. As of yet, there is no title for the new game coming next year.
Original Story: With the former Microsoft Flight Simulator series effectively shut down years ago and the free-to-play experiment Microsoft Flight being abandoned, it would be easy to assume the series doesn't have a future. In fact, there are big plans for the franchise, but not from Microsoft: Dovetail Games, the studio responsible for the Train Simulator series, has announced that it has secured the rights to the series and plans to both re-release one of the series' best games and to develop new ones.
Dovetail's announcement today is for a global licensing deal with Microsoft. What that means is the company now owns the rights to develop new games using the technology from Microsoft's games--rights it plans to put to use by releasing a new game of some sort in 2015.
While working on that new project, Dovetail will re-release 2006's Flight Simulator X: Gold Edition--the final game in the proper Flight Simulator series, pictured above and to the right--through Steam. Known as Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition, this version of the game will include all of the content from the Deluxe Edition and the Acceleration expansion pack. It's expected out on PC in "late 2014." We don't yet know whether the game will sport any improvements or additions (be it a visual overhaul or support for Steam features), but we've contacted Dovetail to learn more.
This announcement comes just days after Microsoft announced that online multiplayer servers for Microsoft Flight would be shut down this October, although the single-player will remain "largely intact." Fans still playing will already have become accustomed to not getting any new content, as Microsoft ceased development on the title in 2012. Prior to that, in 2009, Microsoft shut down Aces Studio, the former publisher of the Flight Simulator series, signaling what appeared at the time to be the end of the series.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has spoken this year about Microsoft's recommitment to PC gaming. While these Flight Simulator developments aren't internal projects, at least Microsoft has chosen to hand the franchise off to a studio with an established history of making simulator games.
Are you still interested in the Flight Simulator series? What would you like to see from next year's game? Let us know in the comments.