Flight Simulator is primed to make its highly anticipated Xbox Series X/S debut in just over a month, but, before that, there's another huge World Update for PC players, arriving today and giving makeovers to the sim's rendition of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Developer Asobo is promising pilots the chance to explore "vast fjords, riveting urban vistas, domineering peaks, and centuries-old iconic castles" in its new Nordic countries update, which also brings landscape enhancements, improved regional architecture, five new airports, improved data for 100 airports, and over 78 new points of interest.
Once the World Update is downloaded (first update the sim, then grab the World Update from the in-game Marketplace) players will also have the opportunity to tackle five new bush trips - one for each of the new Nordic countries - plus five new landing challenges, focussed on Denmark's Bornholm, Iceland's Ísafjörður, Sweden's Stockholm Arlanda, Norway's Svalbard, and Finland's Vaasa Airports.
Asobo says two more World Updates will launch this year, with six more coming in 2022.
In other Flight Simulator news, Asobo has chatted (during tonight's Xbox Extended Showcase) about some of the new features it'll be introducing alongside the Xbox Series X/S edition on 27th July. These extras are designed to make the experience more accessible to newcomers, and include a new Flight Assist option enabling players to select a point of interest or airport and have their AI co-pilot automatically take over the journey while they soak up the sights.
Other assists include a Land Anywhere option, making it easier to touch down, as well as a new Recover option, which can be activated if players get in trouble while airborne.
Elsewhere there are new labels on the map to make finding interesting world features easier, new and improved tutorials (boosted from the original eight on PC to 22 shorter but more focussed lessons, complete with a performance indicator system), plus more Discovery Flight options to get players started. These cover "ten of the most compelling places on Earth", including Mount Everest, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and the Egyptian Pyramids.
Flight Simulator's console launch will, as we learned during Microsoft's Xbox E3 showcase, be followed by a free Top gun expansion pack later this year. Asobo remains tight-lipped about specifics but teases that there might be another plane alongside the F-18 seen in the trailer. "And we're going to go fast," it adds, "we're going to be in the Danger Zone".