Microsoft Train Simulator 2 (MSTS 2) was a train simulator that was being developed by Microsoft Game Studios until being officially postponed for an indefinite period. MSTS 2 was first announced on January 19, 2007 and originally scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2009. The program's lead designer, Rick Selby, also announced in early 2009 that it was to be compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.  It was to be the successor to Microsoft Train Simulator and was being developed by ACES Studio (Microsoft Game Studios), known for their long line of Microsoft Flight Simulator games, as a part of the "Games for Windows" initiative. The simulation was to use a modified Microsoft Flight Simulator X software platform. However, with the closure of Microsoft's ACES Studios on January 23, 2009 , development of this simulator was immediately halted.
First attempt: 2003–2004
An earlier attempt at building a second version to Train Simulator was originally announced during the Spring of 2003. Unlike the latest project, this one was going to be based upon the existing platform engine as its predecessor was & developed by Kuju Entertainment, whom were the original creators, once again. On May 15, 2003 , a preview of the title was shown at the E3 Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles to demonstrate much of the new work, such as its new routes, rolling stock, and other features including animated people & functioning turntables.
However, only three months later into the Summer on August 18, 2003, Kuju had handed the project over to Microsoft Game Studios and they would eventually halt the entire development by Spring of 2004 as the following statement from Microsoft confirmed:
|“||April 24, 2004– Microsoft Game Studios has halted the Windows-based game "Train Simulator 2.0." The decision to halt "Train Simulator 2.0" was made some time ago and was based on a long, hard and difficult look at our business objectives and product offerings. We remain focused on the simulations category with successful, platform-driving franchises such as "Microsoft Flight Simulator."||”|
Much of the former development team from Kuju later established Rail Simulator in order to continue development of their own simulation platform. Its first version was later released in October 2007.
Second attempt: 2007–2009
The re-launch attempt at Microsoft's second version of the "Train Simulator" project was officially announced on January 19, 2007ACES Studio, which was most known for its successful Microsoft Flight Simulator series line, as a part of the "Games for Windows" initiative. The simulation leveraged most of the existing core components of Microsoft Flight Simulator X's platform, thus providing an entire earth model in which to play from, and was planned to be compatible with both Windows Vista and Windows XP. A post on the 'The Little Wheel Goes in Back' blog, written by one of the developers, confirmed the working title was 'Train Simulator 2'.. This time around the simulation was instead being made in-house by Microsoft's
Microsoft's first demonstration of Train Simulator 2 occurred on August 25, 2007 at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany and released an official press kit which included several in-game visual prototype images, asset renders, and two videos. One of these videos presents a brief demonstration of the simulation's ability to model the entire planet's track corridors, reproducing a similar concept in Microsoft's Flight Simulator series, with global rail network data for anyone to operate their trains around freely without limits. The data would've also been available to route builders for modification of any kind to suit their modeling needs anywhere in the world of their choosing, which would more or less require simple cosmetic details & object placement to depict accuracy as opposed to starting an entire route from scratch.
Despite having the name in common with its predecessor, backwards compatibility with the first version of Train Simulator would not have been possible due to its completely different base platform used for development and programming designs between the two versions. The original Microsoft Train Simulator uses routes based on individual levels which are loaded separately within the application, where as this version would have introduced the entire world as a single game playing area where railroad corridors would have been based on their actual real-world locations just as in Flight Simulator.
In addition to the entire global earth model from which FSX was based, Train Simulator 2 was also going to feature four high-detail routes. They decided they would have only 4 routes including the following lines, along with their respective railroad carriers:
|Railroad Line||Route Description & Locale||Country|
|Horseshoe Curve||Norfolk Southern's "Pittsburgh Line" from Altoona to Johnstown, Pennsylvania.||United States|
|Stevens Pass||BNSF Railway's "Scenic Subdivision" from Everett to Wenatchee, Washington.||United States|
|BLS Lötschbergbahn||BLS's "Lötschberg Line" from Spiez to Brig, Switzerland.||Switzerland|
|Deutsche Bahn||Deutsche Bahn's "ICE" route from Cologne to Duisburg, Germany.||Germany|
ACES Studio Closure
On January 23, 2009ACES Game Studios, the internal development studio responsible for both Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft Train Simulator. As a result, all future development on Train Simulator 2 (which was just entering the final stages of development at the time of closure) was immediately halted, marking the second time that this project was terminated. A week later, Microsoft issued the following official announcement from Train Simulator Insider:, Microsoft announced that it was permanently closing its
|“|| January 30, 2009
– "By now, many of you have heard that Microsoft has closed Aces Studio, the publisher of Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft Train Simulator. This was not a reflection of the quality of the products Aces has developed, the sales performance of the games, or the quality of the team at Aces. This difficult decision was made to align Microsoft’s resources with our strategic priorities. As a result of this difficult decision, development of the next version of Train Simulator is being postponed for an indefinite period.|
Microsoft Game Studios is investing significant resources in many exciting and new areas of gaming and entertainment, including Windows games. We believe these future investments will push innovation, community, and collaboration to unprecedented levels and will provide more synergy with our ongoing investments in Games for Windows - LIVE as well as other Windows entertainment technologies.
We are humbled and proud of the passion and support that the Train Simulator franchise has developed. This includes you, the large community of railroading simmers, as well as the vibrant third-party ecosystem that has developed around the game. Thank you for your understanding of our decision and for your continued support."
However, Kuju game studios have continued to make train simulation products such as Rail Simulator and Railworks which are technically MSTS 2 games only under different publishers such as EA games. Both have more routes, trains, scenery, and graphics than the original MSTS.
While Microsoft states that they are committed to both the Flight Simulator and Train Simulator brands, it is currently unknown if the Train Simulator 2 project will ever be resurrected and completed sometime in the future. Information regarding the product can still be found on Microsoft's official Train Simulator website.
- Microsoft Train Simulator - The Original Microsoft Train Simulator
- Microsoft Flight Simulator - The Microsoft Flight Simulator Series
- Flight Simulator X - Latest FS release, which was TS2's simulation platform base.
- Rail Simulator - Related product built by former Kuju (MSTS) developers.
- List of Games for Windows titles
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Railroad Forums. Forum Posting by Rick Selby, December 2007
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 About the Aces Team. www.tsinsider.com. Retrieved on January 30, 2009
- ↑ Train Simulator Insider - Overview Official Web Site Announcement
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 DailyTech - Microsoft Flight Simulator Devs Part of Job Cuts. www.dailytech.com. Retrieved on January 24, 2009
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Microsoft shuts down its Aces Studio. blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com. Retrieved on January 24, 2009
- ↑ GameSpot Preview - Train Simulator 2 E3 2003 Preshow Report. gamespot.com. Retrieved on March 10, 2009
- ↑ GameSpot Preview - Train Simulator 2 Impressions. gamespot.com. Retrieved on March 10, 2009
- ↑ Train Simulator 2 Canceled - PC News at GameSpot. uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved on January 20, 2009
- ↑ The Little Wheel Goes in Back: Guter Tag von Leipzig!. blogs.msdn.com. Retrieved on January 20, 2009
- ↑ UK TrainSim Forum Topic First Screens of Microsoft Train Simulator 2
- ↑ TS2's World of Rails Demo Global Rail Network Data
- ↑ Train-Sim.com Forum Posting by Rick Selby regarding the base Earth model, August 2008
- ↑ Train-Sim.com Forum Posting by Rick Selby regarding platform differences, September 2007
- ↑ Train Simulator Insider - Horseshoe Curve Norfolk Southern Route Profile
- ↑ Train Simulator Insider - Stevens Pass BNSF Railway Route Profile
- ↑ Train Simulator Insider - BLS Lötschbergbahn Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon Railway Route Profile
- ↑ Train Simulator Insider - Deutsche Bahn Cologne-Duisburg Route Profile
- ↑ Initial Announcement of New Microsoft Train Simulator
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Cascade Game Foundry. Press Release: Cascade Game Foundry Forges Ahead, Opens New Simulation Game Development Studio, October 12, 2009