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Harbour Bridge coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator

written by Adam Thorn | October 9, 2020

Sydney Harbour BridgeMicrosft Flight Simulator
Sydney Harbour Bridge will appear in Microsoft Flight Simulator in a new update (Orbx)

An independent Australian developer is set to release an upgrade to Microsoft Flight Simulator that will replace 28,000 generic buildings in Sydney with more accurate versions – including the omitted Harbour Bridge.

Orbx’s update, Cityscape Sydney, will also recreate 100 points of interest including skyscrapers, sports stadiums and beaches in photorealistic detail.

In August, Australian Aviation revealed how the iconic bridge was omitted from the original version of the game and much of the NSW capital bared little resemblance to real life.

The poor imitation was due to the city being artificially recreated from Microsoft’s rival to Google Maps, Bing, rather than being designed from scratch.


However, the computer giant has allowed third-party developers, such as Orbx Simulation Systems, permission to create and sell upgrades.

Cityscape Sydney, set to be released soon, showcases the city in eye-popping detail, including faithfully recreated versions of Bondi and Coogee beach; new versions of standout towers, residential blocks and commercial buildings; as well as new water colouring and detailing.

The developer has been able to make the huge improvements by drawing on information from 250 square kilometres of custom aerial imagery rather than the original Bing template.

You can view more screenshots on Orbx’s website, here.

The sim received gushing reviews from some of the world’s most prestigious computer game websites and newspapers, after its release in August.

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.

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Comments (8)

  • PB


    It’s unclear – is the upgrade that brings back the Harbour Bridge included in Microsoft Simulator for US$60 to US$120, or is it an add on at an additional cost?

    • Adam Thorn


      The upgrade is something that is a separate purchase because it is not made by Microsoft. There have already been updates to some other major cities, such as London.



  • Td


    Well done ORBX.

  • Daniel


    The harbour bridge along with the Sydney CBD is already available through freeware mods.

  • Thies Schaper


    Ah, THAT looks better. Trust Orbx coming up with the most realistic scenery. Who is providing the next eye candy in the form of AI traffic on all main roads, sitting there, unable to move for severe congestion ?

  • Murray Howlett


    Fuel truck ran over one of ground personnel.

  • Mark Taylor


    Hi Adam
    This addition to FS looks great, but is still inaccurate based on the image at the top of the page. Where is one of Sydney’s harbourside icons – Luna Park??

    • Adam Thorn


      Hi Mark,

      The update is still in development, with no final release date. I would image Luna Park will make it in, though! I’m going to try and touch base with the developers and do an interview to find out more.



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