Being such a classic, how have you managed to evolve the game without annoying the hardcore fans?
Ocean: 'We needed to reinvent SimCity. Nobody was excited about rehashing SimCity 4, so we changed some core assumptions and worked out the consequences of them.
'The first and most fundamental change was to completely change our simulation approach – rather than doing a checkerboard style, grid-based statistical simulation we built a new agent & object based simulation engine.
'That let us deepen the simulation tremendously, and it lets us build out all of the relationships between the different components of a city with much more fidelity.
'Then we decided to make it multiplayer, so that cities could differentiate, and take on specialised roles in the context of the region.
'Then we decided we’d allow players to build road networks that weren’t constrained to a grid.
'This changed the experience from “filling in squares” to something much more realistic – laying out roads and networks as the organizing structure of a city.
'And of course, we switched from sprite-based graphics engine to a fully 3D one, so everything about the look of the game had to change.
'Of course, we kept the heart of the game in place – you’re still laying out roads, zoning, plopping down buildings to meet your population needs, you’re growing your city and managing its problems. It’s still very much SimCity, but it’s a SimCity that’s evolved from its earlier incarnations.'
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