2012-03-17 – 001-007 – HDR
2012-03-17 – 001-007 – HDR
Update 2015-07-11: CitiesXL isn’t for me but Cities Skylines by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive is the spiritual successor to Simcity 4.
A view of South Lake Union and Queen Anne Hill after inspired by the official announcement that SimCity 5 has been under development with a February 2013 release date. This is one of those games that I would get without a second thought if it weren’t for the number of questionable incidents involving Electronic Arts’ Origin content delivery system. That aside SimCity 5 will feature curved roads, zoning, and a rigid-body dynamics physics engine. After almost a decade of waiting it’s great to see the continuation of a classic game series.
SimCity Announce Trailer Insider’s Look :
SimCity 5 developers Q&A on Reddit:
Even though a robust multi-player SimCity is something a lot of people wanted, the game series was always single player-centric where mobile users with no internet connection can play anytime. Additionally Electronic Arts is well-known for shutting down game servers after a few years rendering games to become partially functional or not at all. SimCity 4 was released in 2003 and I and many others up until the last few years have been playing it on and off. It’s unrealistic to expect companies to run servers indefinitely to begin with so gamers as well as fans have good reasons to believe that SimCity 5’s lifespan will be significantly less than its predecessors.
Update – 2013-03-08:
It’s almost a year later and SimCity 5 has been released. From what I’ve seen the game discourages exploration by not allowing loading from an earlier save point which limits the educational aspect and fun in a sandbox simulator. I can see a hardcore game mode where decisions are permanent so emotional connections with cities are stronger, but this ain’t Fire Emblem. SC5 also traded scale for detail. It’s not the game that I wanted but parts of it looks like serious fun. Unfortunately just about everyone who’s not playing are on a SimCity Disaster Watch.
Maxis and Electronic Arts still make great games but EA as a publisher and distributor has the dubious distinction of being responsible for the worst roll-out in gaming history so far. An EA Korea Facebook manager’s accusation of piracy in Asian countries as a factor of server outages is a reminder that CEO or intern, anyone in a position dealing with the public are required to do their homework on the products and services they’re representing.
I still play Diablo 3 and while it’s annoying when servers are down I bought into the constant connection because I play public games often and sometimes the auction house can be played as a separate game in of itself. SimCity 5 offers regional play which is great but in single player mode the lack of reverting to a previous save and a saved city can only be loaded from their associated server aren’t compelling enough to require a constant internet connection.
While most people don’t care the digital rights management or DRM issue is a real and major reason for the constant internet connection, but not the only one. The elimination of the secondary used-games market and planned obsolescence by shutting down servers and forcing people to move to the next game iteration are also business strategies being tested.
EA has decided to give out a free game as an apology which is nice. But eating the transaction costs and giving a full refund to those who paid for a SC5 license would have been nicer, and a SC5 single player offline mode would have been the best solution. Voting with your wallet by itself is ineffective since it can be misinterpreted or even be invisible. There has to be communication, sometimes very emotional communication before large organizations can be motivated to change their course of action. I do feel bad for many of the developers and other creatives that worked hard on SC5 and hope their future projects will avoid everything that’s happening here.
Update – 2013-03-20:
Pretty much everything that’s happened so far:
SC5 has been mostly stabilized so people are busy trying to break it to see its inner workings. Obviously all simulations require a certain amount of abstraction but investigations revealed that the simulation itself is broken where sims take the shortest path regardless of traffic and go to the first home or work they see each day. The reasons given for the constant internet connection were found to be less than truthful as well.
Partly because of this and various other reasons, EA’s CEO has been sacrificed and Origin is holding a gamer appreciation sale for PR damage control. Large publicly traded corporations are beholden to its investors and EA can’t revert back to when Trip Hawkins first founded it to help game developers so a change in culture can’t be expected to occur overnight. Still, there’s a lot of companies that don’t have the financial strength to ride out a bad Costa Concordia PR disaster so maybe this will deter them from making similar decisions.
SC5 is a great looking game but I can’t and won’t even pirate it. Security or ethical issues aside there’s no reason to because my limited game time and finances should be used to support good games, with the occasional sale. I’ll approach the next SimCity with a skeptical but still open mind though. Keep the art and audio assets, allow online as optional, fix the simulation engine and I just might be there.