Microsoft Flight Simulator’s free Top Gun: Maverick expansion has remained something of a mystery since its announcement last June, but now, with the update finally here on Xbox and PC, developer Asobo has detailed exactly what to expect when it’s fired up for the first time.
One notable oddity of the Top Gun expansion is that it’ll be launching without what’s arguably its biggest feature: the F/A-18E Super Hornet. However, that’s only because Asobo made the decision to release the plane early as part of last year’s free Game of the Year Edition update when the expansion was delayed alongside the Top Gun: Maverick movie.
Even without the plane as its flagship addition, though, there’s still plenty for simmers to grapple with, starting with three training missions for the F/A-18E, all designed to help pilots master “radical flight maneuvers including unrestricted take-offs, split S maneuvers, and low altitude, high-speed maneuvering through complex terrain.”
There are also five “high-speed, low-level” challenges intended to test pilots’ mettle as they navigate through canyons and just above mountains, plus a carrier deck landing challenge – described as “one of the most demanding operations in the world of military aviation.”
Asobo’s blog post also tease the addition of a mysterious “never-before-unveiled hypersonic aircraft” capable of reaching speeds of Mach 10 and altitudes greater than 150,000 feet above sea level – apparently the Aurora Darkstar SR-91, according to the Flight Simulator subreddit – plus an accompanying mission to roar into the stratosphere.
And topping it all off, there’s a Top Gun: Maverick livery for the F/A-18E Super Hornet.
Flight Simulator’s Top Gun expansion arrives just a week after the sim’s Italy and Malta makeover, and continues a busy year for Asobo. Based on previous comments from the developer, we can expect at least three more World Updates before 2022 is through, alongside various new Sim Updates, DLSS support, and, of course, helicopters.