Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw would rather people stopped labelling the always-online requirement for SimCity as being essentially some form of draconian DRM.
In a new blog post, the Maxis GM discussed the nature of Always-Connected gameplay, reiterating that this game was designed around it from the very beginning:
"Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world."
Bradshaw goes on to list a number of features that make the most of the always-online requirement, failing to note that most didn't work at launch, and that a number still don't work nearly a fortnight on. But that's ok, because SimCity is basically an MMO:
"The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO," Bradshaw wrote.
"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."
Of course, Bradshaw fails to mention that there'd be a super easy way to have your cake and eat it too: create a region with expanded city limits.