I use Visual Studio 2015 extensively for work, so it would seem like a logical choice for getting started with Arduino programming (though my C/C++ is rusty, that may take some time to get back). From what I understand the Visual Micro Plugin is popular. Is that sort of the de facto choice for those who come from VS? Does it tie into everything so that I can handle debugging, breakpoints, deployment etc from Visual Studio? Much obliged!
I think it is the de facto standard for VS (of course the default Arduino IDE is used most).
However, I think some advanced features (like breakpoint if I recall right) is only temporarily for free and you have to pay later for a subscription.
Note however, that debugging/breakpoints are not used often anyway since mostly it's more realtime controlled than PC applications.
If you need breakpoints etc. probably the easiest is to make stubs for some libraries and first develop the application not using Arduino and later use the Visual Micro plugin. [Update: it seems breakpoints are possible with vMirco, I never got them to work though].
Use Atmel's Atmel Studio 7. Uses the visual studio shell and is supported by Atmel. Also allows you to import your Arduino Sketches. Once I used it, I stopped using the Arduino IDE.