The word is beginning to leak out across the web tonight, and it’s the worst kind of news for FS fans. Early reports indicate that Microsoft may have pulled the plug – at leat for now – on the ACES studio, the people who brought us Flight Simulator and ESP, and who were edging up on releasing TrainSim 2. If this turns out to be true, some of the best and brightest sim and game developers will soon be looking for greener pastures. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they quickly find new work and can put their talents to good use elsewhere.
What does this mean for the FS franchise in general? It’s much too early to say. Partly it depends on whether Microsoft reactivates the team in some incarnation at a later date, as we all hope they will. Lacking a dev team at MS means no more versions of FS in the near term, but at least they left us on a high note. FSX is a very capable platform whose full potential we are only beginning to explore. Given the worldwide base of users and fans, I’m sure the old girl has many more years left in her.
For now though, our thoughts go out to those who lost their jobs today. You’re a brilliant lot, all of you, and you deserved a much better fate than this. Keep your chins up and the wind at your backs. I remember my instructor drilling the three rules of an emergency landing into my head: first aviate, then navigate, and once you’ve got that under control, you can communicate. Here’s hoping we hear from you real soon.