The location of Microsoft Flight Simulator’s next World Update, along with a detailed roadmap for 2023, the next local legend aircraft, and exciting updates from Working Title and the teams working on Asobo’s ATR-72 were all revealed during Asobo’s most recent developer livestream where Jorg Neumann (MSFS Lead Developer) and Sebastian Wloch (Asobo Studios CEO) sat down to discuss upcoming features with the community.
World Update 12 will focus on New Zealand, following the most recent update which enhanced scenery in Canada. The update is currently on course for a release date of February 7/8th 2023. As with previous world updates, Asobo has worked closely with partner studios to bring things together. WU12 is no exception, with Jorg mentioning on stream that Asobo have been working closely with Orbx to put together a new DEM mesh and updated aerial imagery for the islands.
Jorg also confirmed that the island nation will have all new aerials and DEM data included within the update, along with 4 bespoke airports, 30 POIs, 6 photogrammetry cities, 3 landing challenges, 3 bush trips, and 3 discovery flights. There may possibly be more POIs and bespoke airports than what has already been mentioned, with Jorg saying “we’ll have four bespoke airports, maybe more, although we’re still talking to some folks”.
2023 Development Roadmap
You’d be forgiven for thinking that after the hectic pace of development that MSFS has seen in the last couple of months that 2023 might see things slow down a little. However, Jorg quickly put that idea to bed as he unveiled a roadmap for future development in 2023.
The roadmap reveals that we are due to see three world updates in quick succession in early 2023, with WU12 (New Zealand), WU13 and WU14 all due for release by the end of Q2 2023. Following this, three of the new city updates will drop, one per month, until August. A one month break in September will make way for world update 15 in October.
Coming alongside the world and city updates are more local legends. At present Asobo have got a further 7 local legends lined up for addition to the sim, including the Caribou.
The roadmap also reveals that another 7 famous flyers including the ATR family are due for release before Q4 2023, with the majority of these coming in the latter half of the calendar year.
De Havilland DHC-4 Caribou
Accompanying World Update 12 in February will be the 8th ‘Local Legend’ aircraft, and for the New Zealand update, Jorg and the team at Asobo have gone for the De Havilland DHC-4 Caribou. This aircraft is also being worked on in collaboration with Orbx. Few details were shared about the aircraft, although it’s confirmed that it will be available alongside the World Update on February 7/8th.
Aircraft and Avionics Updates
Eagle eyed viewers were quick to see a mysterious ‘AAU 1’ due for release in January. Jorg then introduced Matt Nischan from Working Title, who explained that in collaboration with Asobo, Working Title will be releasing several new ‘Aircraft and Avionics updates’ or AAUs throughout the year.
It has been known for some time that Working Title have been collaborating with Asobo to improve the default avionics in the simulator. Their G1000 NXi has now been implemented as the default G1000 in compatible aircraft. And recently they have released a work-in-progress build of GNS430/530.
Among other things, Working Title have added a VNAV calculation page, improved authentic visuals, a keyboard entry mode, and full GPS and SBAS simulation. That means the unit can now show the user accurate positions of satellites overhead which triangulate a position on the earth.
Matt revealed that the first AAU, due for release in January, will implement the new GNS430/530 modifications into the base game, along with base game enhancements for the G3000/5000, CJ4, and Citation Longitude.
Something which has been long requested of Working Title is the overhaul of the CJ4. It had previously been alluded to that the existing modification available for PC users would eventually be implemented into the default aircraft, however on stream Working Title took a different tack, indicating that they have opted to start from complete scratch in re-designing the CJ4’s Honeywell avionics suite. Matt said this was so that all the lessons learned from the G1000 NXi and other Working Title mods could be used to make the best possible rendition of the plane.
A new and improved soundscape, flight model, and appearance of the avionics are in store for users of the business jet, along with proper implementation of systems such as TCAS and a next-gen flight planning system. Users will now also be able to split the MFD and FMC screens on the pilot and co-pilot to show more information on the flight deck.
Garmin G3000/5000 Update
Matt finally gave an update on Working Title’s progress on the G3000/5000 unit. He seemed to be most pleased with it, saying that you won’t be able to tell the difference between the real unit and the one which is going to be in MSFS.
As part of the update, Matt also shared some of the work which has been done on the Daher TBM included in the MSFS base package. The pilot side door will be openable!
Updates for the Citation Longitude are also coming, as Matt said “People said the Longitude is a premium plane, we don’t feel like it flies like a premium plane. Well, it’s going to fly like a premium plane now”.
Along with the G5000 avionics which are being worked on, auto-throttle modes, path smoothing, performance calculations direct from real data, and deep systems complexity taking into account temperatures and pressures are all coming for the aircraft and scheduled to drop in January.
All this is planned for just the first aircraft and avionics update, due for release in January. Two more AAU’s are scheduled for later in the year, and although no details have been released as to what these may contain, Jorg pointed out on stream that he wanted other premium aircraft to feel more like premium products. Switching into speculation mode, livestream viewers and community leaders have taken this to be a hint at a reworking of the 787-10 Dreamliner, included in the Premium Deluxe upgrade, later in the year.
ATR-72 Development Update
Asobo have been working on the ATR family of turboprop aircraft for some time now, although there had not been an update for some time prior to this stream. Hans Hartmann, one of the developers on the ATR, came on stream to share some screenshots and a progress update.
Hans has been working with ATR in Toulouse to develop the plane, and apparently has their full support. This has allowed the development team to implement advanced avionics which include synthetic vision, TARS, weather radar, an EFB and ground terrain maps. A virtual control panel, something unique to the ATR, has also been included, which allows users to fully configure their avionics.
The EFB contains real-world ATR data and can calculate speeds, COG, take off trim and landing distance. Icing and other surface conditions are also taken into count, which Hans commented will be helpful as the ATR is known for being a bit of a challenge if the correct icing procedures aren’t fully followed.
The EFB will also allow simmers to open and close aircraft doors, set aircraft states (e.g. Cold and dark, ready for takeoff), maintenance functions such as replacing the fire protection squibs, and a plethora of other options.
Moving onto engines, Hans says that these are again based upon real world data from ATR. Propeller brakes, ATPCS and a power management system have been included. Hans also confirmed there is a full, highly detailed but low poly cabin, meaning that although the cabin is still highly detailed it should not have a massive performance impact.
The ATR 42-600 and 72-600 variants are due for a release in March 2023, forming the basis of the Famous Flyer 4 package.
You can view the full developer update livestream here.