The latest SimCity game did not have a good launch. Or a good launch aftermath, or a good review from the original creator of the series, who described the lack of offline play as “inexcusable.” But this was all for our good, according to developer Maxis and publisher EA Games. This was to give us better multiplayer features and… DRM. It was all about DRM, even if neither party wanted to admit it. Now though, over half a year since the original launch debacle that saw so many people unable to play their primarily single player game, Maxis has announced that it's looking into the potential of offline play.
The word used was “exploration,” suggesting that it's something mysterious and murky that no developer has attempted before. Of course, this game was the first main game in the series to remove it as a feature (even describing as a feature seems stupid. Offline mode is SimCity) and its lack of inclusion even saw a mod/crack appear that made it possible for people to play offline. While there's no hint as to when this feature might be implemented, if at all, it's a start at least.
“Right now we have a team specifically focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode,” reads the Simcity blog post from Maxis' GM Patrick Buechner. “I can’t make any promises on when we will have more information, but we know this is something that many of our players have been asking for. While the server connectivity issues are behind us, we would like to give our players the ability to play even if they choose not to connect. An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience.”
That latter part is something we brought up recently when Maxis announced it may allow certain mods, but not any that influence the game very much – which sort of defeats the point of most mods.
Still, a lesson learnt too late is better than one never learned, said no mother ever. But will this offline mode bring bigger cities? Nope.
“We’ve put months of investigation into making larger city sizes, reworking the terrain maps, changing the routing algorithms of our agent-based system and altering the way that GlassBox processes the data in a larger space,” Buechner continued.
“After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes. The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn’t be able to load, much less play with bigger cities.”
KitGuru Says: Boo. Boo Maxis Testaburger. Boo.