Horrible news out of Redmond, Washington this morning, if you’re a flight sim geek like I am:
Redmond, Washington-based ACES Studio, the Microsoft-owned internal group behind the venerable Microsoft Flight Simulator series, has been heavily affected by Microsoft’s ongoing job cuts.
Development sources have told Gamasutra that a large portion of the dev house’s staff has been let go – with multiple reports indicating that the entire Flight Simulator team has been axed.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the most long-running and successful entertainment PC software lines of all time. Since Bruce Artwick first put together SubLogic Flight Simulator sometime back in the Jurassic period (the mid-1980s), there have been ten versions of Flight Simulator put out by SubLogic and then Microsoft, each more successful than the last. And one thing you can count on with each new release–on the day it comes out, you can take the most powerful computer you can get at that time, and you won’t be able to get good framerates with it. MSFS has always pushed beyond the boundaries of then-current hardware.
If this turns out to be true, not only will it mean a loss of hundreds of jobs, it’ll be the end of a 25-year era in PC software, and it’ll also be the stake through the heart of high-quality PC flight simulation, except for Laminar Research’s X-Plane. I remember when flight sims were the hot PC title, back in the days of Dynamix and Lucasarts, EA/Jane’s and iMagic. Those days are long gone. Now it looks like ACES Studio will join them.