We can officially mark this as a sad day for fans of the realistic flight simulator genre. The Microsoft Flight series, after a long stretch of activity, took a three year hiatus. In February of this year, the franchise was rebooted under a new, free-to-play model as plain ol’ Microsoft Flight.
An office of 35 developers in Vancouver were responsible for the effort. Today, however, the gaming world learned that Microsoft has elected to can the folks at the studio, cancel development of Microsoft Flight‘s extra content and drop the Kinect-based, unknown “Project Columbia.”
Here’s a statement that Polygon received from the games company:
Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management. Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia, but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For Microsoft Flight,we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title and the game will still be available to download for free at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/…
…Microsoft Studios is invested in British Columbia and still has several teams, both in Vancouver and Victoria, which will continue to produce the best entertainment and gaming experiences possible.
It’s good to hear that Microsoft Flight will remain available though this means that fans won’t be able to enjoy any new planes or courses. The premium content will, of course, retain its collective price tag.
As usual, we wish only the best for those affected by the studio lay-offs. It’s always crazy that so many companies are willing and able to “determine what is best for gamers” and close whole development houses.