The new edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator has launched to rave reviews – but the release version omits the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
However, the tech giant told Australian Aviation on Wednesday there are plans to eventually include the iconic structure in the game, which will be continually updated for “years to come”.
The game has received positive reviews from some of the world’s most prestigious computer game websites and newspapers, after its release on Tuesday.
— Jez (@jezkerwin) August 18, 2020
The Harbour Bridge isn’t the most startling omission in the game, though. The sim’s first reviewers have discovered that London’s Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen, has been rendered to resemble a generic office block.
Apparently, the new Microsoft flight sim has used AI to map the entire world. But it's not done it all that great, and turned Buckingham Palace into a generic 90s office block. https://t.co/hgJnGmauPI pic.twitter.com/KybFG7XOf9
— Oli Mould (@olimould) August 18, 2020
The mix up is because the majority of the buildings in the game are automatically rendered from Microsoft’s equivalent of Google Maps – Bing Maps – which allows the sim to recreate the entire world in detail.
An Xbox spokesperson told Australian Aviation, “The launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator is the beginning of our journey. We will continue to update, expand and refine Microsoft Flight Simulator for years to come.”
Despite the omissions, the game has launched to giddy reviews from both computer game and aviation enthusiasts.
Eurogamer rated the new version ‘Essential’ and said it was a “technical marvel” that demonstrated the “joys of flight”; IGN said it had “never seen anything close to this level of accuracy in a flight simulation before”; while The Guardian gave it five stars and said it “captures the wonder of flight, and the spiritual and emotional rush of seeing the world in a different way”.
Previously, Microsoft confirmed to Australian Aviation that the game allows players to take off and land at 613 airports in Australia and 37,000 globally.
It features a special “hand-crafted” replica of Sydney Airport, shown in a video below, including animated windsocks reacting to real-life weather; staff going about their work and accurate signs and taxiways.
Players can fly around this world in up to 30 aircraft ranging from the A320neo to a Cessna 152 and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. All feature accurate cockpits with realistic controls and instrumentation.
The sim comes in three versions, ranging from US$60–US$120, with the Deluxe and Premium editions including more planes and airports.