Sad news has surfaced today regarding one of the most interesting airplanes in development for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The Blackbird Simulations (former Milviz) ATR-72-600, a highly-anticipated in-depth simulation of the turboprop regional airliner, is now on hold.
The news comes after months of silence regarding the progress of this airplane, after a series of previews from late 2021 and a promising development update in August, which seemed to indicate the project was in full swing. Today, through a statement shared a few hours ago by the team, it was revealed that a decision had been made to suspend the development of the ATR for Microsoft Flight Simulator, mainly because of the impending release of the Asobo/Hans Hartmann version, which is just a couple of months away.
Blackbird says that even after making a significant investment in the project, they don’t predict that investment could be returned, considering that a competing project, which is expected to be available at a lower price, will be available very soon and possibly saturate the market. Besides, Asobo and Hans Hartmann are working on a very complete rendition of the ATR, just like Blackbird, which would make things even more difficult.
The running costs of working on such a project also played a key role in this decision. Read below the list of reasons provided by Blackbird to justify this decision:
- MS/Hans Hartmann are doing one and no matter what our price is, they can beat it. Hands down and super easy. No matter the quality level of either, We’d never be able to compete in the same space.
- Spending another year on the project would’ve cost a huge amount of money that we’d never see. (again, see 1).
- halfway through development, we realized that the 3D model was unacceptable in terms of quality (look/feel) so we junked it and started again. Though we had finished modeling, painting had not yet commenced. It would take another 20-30K and 4-6 months to get it done. All the while, MS is doing theirs.
- When the MS/Hans version comes out, we will assess and revisit this. For now though, we’ve decided to put a hold on this till theirs is out.
The last point should leave some hope for those who were looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition from Blackbird. However, Blackbird Simulations is a business, and it’s understandable that they need to make decisions based on the prospects for the success of each project.
This is another unfortunate chapter in the history of the Milviz/Blackbird ATR, which has been a very troubled project for a few years. It was planned for FSX/P3D a few years ago, got canceled, failed to gather crowdfunded support for X-Plane, and is now on hold after a possible redemption with a release in MSFS. Oh boy…
It’s now time to look forward to Hans Hartmann’s work with Asobo, which promises a very comprehensive simulation of the ATR for MSFS. See more details here. The release is scheduled for March!