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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Disappointing launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

When Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 was announced a while back I was very excited. The game looked absolutely stunning and very promising. If you’ve read my post from back then I think it’s very obvious how excited I was. I also was fortunate to get accepted into the early alpha testing of the game and had a great time playing testing the game. The early alpha was of such a high quality that it could easily have passed for a beta release. A testament to the excellent capabilities of Asobo Studios who are now in charge of development for Microsoft.

However, the quality took a hit afterwards and from the public beta last month it was clear that the game was not ready for release. There are many videos on YouTube for example where people are playing the game and notice all kinds of glitches, some in my opinion very serious ones that do not belong in a simulation game that was supposedly close to ready for release. Essential features like the ATC and autopilot in many of the airplanes just don’t work well enough. Many instruments like the Garmin panels aren’t fully functional; I even saw one video where the screens were constantly flickering. In another video the gear wouldn’t come up after taking off with the Dreamliner. Many special effects aren’t yet implemented. There’s also the sloppy texture work on some of the airplanes that is so obvious I wonder how that passed quality control.

It’s not clear to me what the cause is of the lack of quality during later development. Perhaps the whole so called coronavirus ‘pandemic’ scam played a role in this. But it was very clear to me that the game was being rushed to release even while it was far from ready.  My estimation based on my own software development experience is that the game has been released at least 6 months too early on August 18th 2020.

The Flight Simulator 2020 forums are full of complaints that I saw coming way in advance. There is even a problem with rudder control using the Microsoft XBOX controller (with the trigger keys LT and RT). How is it possible to release a Microsoft game that has issues with one of their own controllers? Not to mention that I and others had reported that exact problem 2 months ago and it was still present when the game was launched! My first report of the problem (ZenDesk issue #16848) was actually closed as being ‘fixed’ and when I saw that it wasn’t ‘fixed’ in the public beta I reopened it again (ZenDesk issue #22415), and it was still not fixed a month later when released! Even more puzzling is the fact that it used to work as expected in the very early alpha versions and got broken later. Now people are complaining about it on the forums and filing more bug reports for it. Un-fucking-believable.

I wouldn’t expect a perfect bug-free game at launch, but the problems people are having now are with basic and essential features that simply have to work when you launch such a game. It’s a terrible shame that they didn’t postpone the release and work on fixing the obvious problems and launch a more polished game. The developers of another highly anticipated game that I’m also looking forward to, called Cyberpunk 2077, have recently postponed the launch of that game admitting themselves that they want to spend more time on fixing problems before they launch it. If CD Projekt Red can do it, why can’t Microsoft? They certainly have far more cash on hand to do it.

It seems to me that Microsoft put pressure on Asobo Studios to rush and launch the game in its current state. Life must be hell right now for the Asobo Studio developers; I know how stressful it can be to have to deal with bugs and complaints when the product is live. It’s very disappointing and sad, and the issues still present in the game take away from what could have been a masterpiece. Now they’ve turned the launch of the game into a paid public beta test. They’ll probably fix many of the issues in the coming months, so if you can wait, I recommend waiting at least 6 months before you get the game if you don’t want to constantly get frustrated by the bugs.

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