clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Microsoft Flight Simulator update beautifies Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

World Update 6 will also include a new terrain setting for high-performance PCs

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Microsoft Flight Simulator’s next big update enhances the look of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Called World Update 6, developers showed off a new trailer during the annual Gamescom gaming convention. The free update launches on Sept. 7 for Windows PC and Xbox.

Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann tells Polygon that this particular World Update contains some of the most current data that’s ever been added to the game.

“We pick a region when we have great data: new satellite data, new aerial data,” Neumann said. “In this case, we have new aerials and satellite from 2020, so it’s what we call ‘fresh.’ And then we work with, oftentimes, the [regional governments] to get better elevation data. That helps us a lot with things like mountains. The Alps in particular were a little, you know, a little flat there in the original release.”

Some of the new cities and landmarks shown during today’s trailer include Basel in Switzerland; Graz and Vienna, Austria; and newly enhanced Lübeck, Stuttgart, Klagenfurt, and St. Gallen Airports.

Originally released for PC one year ago, Microsoft Flight Simulator recently made the move to Xbox Series X with a surprisingly well-optimized experience. The game is also included as part of the Xbox Game Pass program, meaning that millions of players have the chance to try it out. World Updates are part of the ongoing development of the game, and are available to download for free. They include more detailed terrain and high resolution landmarks created with a combination of photogrammetry and painstaking digital rendering.

Previous World Updates have included enhancements for areas in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and Nordic regions including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Perhaps the must popular, Neumann said, is the first World Update which features locations in Japan.

“Japan wasn’t really a [big part of the] flight sim community, and now I see it,” Neumann said. “People start building airports. People are making planes. There is a community of simmers now emerging, and that was exactly the point [of World Updates]. It was like, hey, check out flight simming. Check out your country from above and see if you love it, and maybe you fall in love with aviation like we did.”

PC players with beefy computers are also in for a treat. According to patch notes released on Aug. 19, World Update 6 will also include “offscreen terrain pre caching.” That means whole sections of in-game graphical assets will be loaded ahead of time. Developers say players should expect reduced frame rate drops and level of detail (LOD) popping when panning the camera.

World Update 6 was originally scheduled to release on Aug. 24. Xbox Game Studios recently made the decision to delay it until Sept. 7.

Update (Sept. 7): World Update 6 is now available, and it turns out that the video that Microsoft showed during Gamescom: Opening Night Live was a teaser for the update’s full three-minute trailer, which you can now watch below.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon