Microsoft Flight Simulator takes players to Dune's sci-fi desert world of Arrakis

Alfonso Maruccia

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Space flight: Microsoft has released a Dune "expansion" for its popular flight simulation series. Players will now have the opportunity to pilot the vehicles featured in the latest film adaptation of one of the most popular science fiction novels of all time.

Microsoft is taking flight simulation enthusiasts to Arrakis, the desert planet where the Fremen people and House Harkonnen vie for control of spice. The previously announced Dune Expansion is now available for free on the Flight Simulator store, offering players the opportunity to pilot the Royal Atreides Ornithopter above the desert planet that holds the fate of the Dune universe in balance.

The Dune expansion is the result of a collaboration between Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., and Microsoft, clearly designed to promote the new Dune film directed by Denis Villeneuve. Dune: Part Two is set to be released internationally on February 28, 2024, but Flight Simulator players can take to the virtual skies in their Ornithopters right away.

The Dune expansion includes tutorials, time trials, and a "daring" rescue mission. While there is no information provided about specific changes to the fundamental flight physics principles players need to adapt to, we can safely assume that Arrakis will present similar flight conditions to more traditional, earthly aircraft.

Setting aside the free expansion, the Dune promotional partnership also offers the chance to win a Dune-themed Ornithopter stand and a "floating" Xbox gamepad. While the expansion is free for everyone to download, the custom stand and controller are exclusively available through an X contest.

Redmond introduced the Dune expansion in 2023, providing details about the upcoming title in its popular simulation series. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 expands the gameplay of the previous game by introducing a new career mode-style mission system.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will be a standalone, independent game. However, the company suggests that "virtually all" addons purchased for Flight Simulator (2020) will also work on the newer game. Special in-game promotions are likely to return, as Microsoft has already tested the waters with the new Dune expansion and the previously released "Top Gun" DLC. Star Wars fans would undoubtedly welcome a hypothetical collaboration between Lucasfilm and Microsoft as well.

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