The lights are on
Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained in a blog post why the
SimCity developer felt that offline play "didn't fit in with [their] vision."
In an effort to explain why SimCity is what it is, Bradshaw listed off
what the "significant calculations" your SimCity game offloads to Maxis'
servers when you're playing, since the game seems to work in offline mode when
hacked to not require server-side authentication. To wit:
In conclusion, Bradshaw writes:
"So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But
we rejected that idea because it didn't fit with our vision. We did not
focus on the 'single city in isolation' that we have delivered in past
SimCities. We recognize that there are fans - people who love the original
SimCity - who want that. But we're also hearing from thousands of people
who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected
functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage
but catches up with ever-improving technology."
It's difficult to disprove Bradshaw's claims about the wondrous
benefits of having to always be connected to Maxis' servers in order to play
SimCity, but my personal experience with the game leads me to cast a critical
eye at the gameplay-relevant claims about regional simulation. Since SimCity's
multiplayer is asynchronous, Sims and service vehicles aren't actually
traveling from one player's city to another – they're being generated locally
in the active city as workers/shoppers/students/services coming in through the highway connection if
the region has another city that can provide the demanded commodity. Setting aside the gameplay desirability of such a system, I find it hard to
believe that the design wouldn't work in a traditional offline or
What's your take on Bradshaw's arguments?
It's been a while coming, but look for the full Game Informer SimCity
review later this afternoon.