Ahead of the big Scandinavian update (Microsoft Flight Simulator World Update 15: Nordics & Greenland), I booked a video meeting with Flight Simulator bigwig Jorg Neumann, who was more than happy to go over some of the details we can expect. Check out the full interview below:
I first want to take this opportunity to thank you for a brilliant game and just note that I have never been particularly interested in flights or airplanes, but have used Flight Simulator 2020 as a kind of meditation when I just disconnect from all the noise and stress and just relax up there, among the clouds. And no other modern game can offer me that.
Thank you so much! Great to hear and thanks for your time on it. What you’re telling us is something we hear all the time from millions of our returning players and it’s obviously something we’re proud of. Because, of course, we knew somewhere before we released Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 that the hardcore gamers who love flying and airplanes would spend time in the experience we created, but we didn’t know in the same breath what it would be like for all the “flight tourists” who have proven to come back regularly, to relax and disconnect from the outside world – as you say. We talked about this internally recently, and with numbers pointing to nine million players, we think we attracted four times more than our initial calculations and expectations.
With this new Scandinavian update, I understand you’ve spent a lot of time improving the Swedish cities of Visby, Malmö, Gothenburg and Linköping. Can you tell us a bit about your reasoning in choosing which cities to polish?
There are different parameters here and a lot of the process of choosing which cities to upgrade is about accessibility and state. We use outside companies to fly over and photograph these places for us, and there are many details and conditions in terms of weather and sunlight, season and accessibility. Of course, we also listen to the wishes of the players.
Stockholm, our capital city, is missing from this list…. How come?
We know that many players are disappointed about this and believe me when I say we are equally disappointed, but this is only because the Swedish government took a long time to approve the aerial photos and initially demanded that we remove certain areas. However, everything has now been resolved and Stockholm will be released as a separate update in a few weeks. A bit delayed, but it will happen before the end of the year. Sweden in general has been a challenge compared to many other countries, but at the same time one of the countries that previously looked the worst in the entire game and so this was a priority for us to improve. Initially the Swedish main department wanted SEK 25 million (about £1.8 million GBP) as payment to allow us to use the country’s own maps, which of course we were not willing or prepared to pay, but then the EU intervened and changed a special law that helped us on a wide front and so not only in Sweden. You live in a challenging country, haha. It’s not easy to make all your elevations, mountains and hills look good, but we are working on it. For Flight Simulator 2024, we also have a lot of really cool topographic improvements that we’ll show soon. That game is a very big step forward graphically. Many will be shocked, I think.
Tell us more!
Haha, I shouldn’t…. At least not at the moment. The idea is that we’ll wait a while with that, but let’s say I recently played Forza Horizon 5 and was struck by how incredibly beautiful it is, even when you stop the car and study details on the ground. So beautiful and detailed, we aim to make the 2024 game that beautiful with a different kind of detail and photorealistic accuracy in terms of topography and other things. I recently flew in Flight Simulator 2024 over a wooded area and chose to land in a place where I could detail, for example, thousands of rocks under water in a stream.