SimCity is finally getting the offline mode that we stopped clamouring for six months ago after it became readily apparent that the cities would remain the same size and Maxis didn't have a clue what they were doing.
I mean SIMCITY IS GETTING AN OFFLINE MODE! Crack open the bubbly! Fire up the rock music and the inflatable vodka luge! Let's get this party started!
Apparently the power of the cloud was on our PCs all along. Who knew? Well, we all did, but now it's okay because Maxis are harnessing the power of the...erm...individual to bring an offline mode to SimCity in Update 10.
Here's what Patrick Buechner, General Manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio, had to say in a post over on the Maxis blog:
Yes, Offline is coming as a free download with Update 10 to all SimCity players. When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection. We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it’s as polished as possible before we release it. So, until then… testing, testing and more testing. As one of the final steps, we’re putting Offline into the hands of some of our most hardcore players, the DevTesters. This group of volunteers is going to put Offline through its paces before we release it.
In Update 10, you can still play solo in Regions on your own, or in Multiplayer with people from around the world. What’s new is the Single Player Mode, which allows you to play the game Offline by yourself. And because your saved games in this mode are stored locally, you can save and load to your heart’s content. Our team will be delivering a follow-up blog that will outline the full details in the near future so stay tuned.
So what does this mean for the Online game? All of the benefits of being connected will remain including access to Multiplayer, the Global Market and Leaderboards. And all of your pre-existing saved cities and regions will still be accessible should you log-in to the Online game.
That's all well and good, but it doesn't mean much without the other elephant in the room being sorted out -- the pitifully small city sizes -- and Maxis have poured water on the idea of that ever getting fixed before. Moreover, it's been ten months since SimCity released. It's nice that EA and Maxis have finally admitted that the power of the cloud is little more than the power of the Wizard of Oz in this regard, but it seems to me to be a case of too little too late. Will that large player base you alienated by launching a broken game, taking months to fix it, not allowing for actual cities of a decent size, and charging absurd amounts for digital copies suddenly come flooding back?
The answer is no.
There might be a glimmer of hope, though. As mentioned in the post, the offline mode does indeed give modders a significantly greater degree of access to the game's systems, and we know that some have already managed to circumvent location limits to a certain level. Still not an ideal situation, mind, and certainly not one that can hope to fill in the enormous hole that Maxis and EA dug for themselves.
That's just us, though. What's your take on this? Will you be tempted to return to SimCity now you can play it offline, or are those restrictive city limits still something of a dealbreaker? Let us know below.