What You Need To Know About The Latest From Maxis
by Joe Juba on January 25, 2013 at 07:01 AM
SimCity releases on March 5, which means that the game is in the final stages of development at the Maxis offices in Emeryville, California. In fact, it's so close to release that we got to sit down and play it for five hours straight. This extended hands-on time gave us a better sense of SimCity than ever before, and these are some of the biggest take-away points about the game and what it offers.
In the standard mode, SimCity offers a variety of challenges for your and your region-mates. On the other hand, those wouldn't be fair if some players were allowed to cheat and others weren't. To solve this, Maxis has included a Sandbox mode. “Sandbox mode is where you’re saying ‘I’m not interested in leaderboards. I just want to have access to a whole bunch of cheats. I want to play with the simulation as a toy,’” says Quigley. “So, we give you a bunch of money cheats, and a whole bunch of other cheats for you to do stuff with. Everything is unlocked.” This means that even with the emphasis on connected play and working together, players who just want to explore the simulation without restrictions are free to play however they please.
The Online Thing
Every time we post anything on this site about SimCity, we see comments from outraged fans regarding the game’s controversial always-online feature. People don’t like sacrificing control over products they purchase – especially in a series that has such a long single-player tradition. "There are a lot of people who want us to be making a 1990s-era game. A lot people who want us to make SimCity4++. It's not the '90s anymore. The world has moved on," says Quigley. "We're building a new game in this new environment. The Internet is a thing now." From my time with SimCity, this goal of constant connectedness serves the game well. Yes, you need to be online to play, even in single-player. Yes, it doubles as a form of copy protection, but it doesn't impact the quality of the game mechanics. As someone who was skeptical of the decision early on, my time with the game has convinced me that it has benefits. It contributes to the sense of collaboration and cooperation, which (like it or not) are critical components of this game. Yes, it is still annoying that you can't play offline single-player. Part of me misses the idea of creating one massive city that does it all, but another part is looking forward to the possibilities with this new incarnation of SimCity.