The general manager for Maxis’ Emeryville studio, Patrick Buechner, has published a lengthy blog post that divulges the current status of SimCity as well as future plans for the game. When the game launched seven months ago it was severely hampered by server woes locking people out of their game. I would argue that it was the worst game launch in the industry’s recent history – especially in terms of PR and sending a consistent message to customers.
According to Buechner, the team at Maxis is “listening”. That’s interesting news considering the resounding silence that’s met questions regarding the initial launch debacle. A continual request from fans is for an offline mode. Remember, shortly before and after launch, Maxis claimed that SimCity could not be played offline due to cloud computing requirements for the GlassBox engine. That was proven to be a load of rubbish. Since that came to light, all communication from Maxis regarding online requirements simply stopped.
Luckily it looks like that’s just changed. Buechner has confirmed that there is currently a team at Maxis looking into the possibilities of an offline mode.
“Right now we have a team specifically focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode. I can’t make any promises on when we will have more information, but we know this is something that many of our players have been asking for. While the server connectivity issues are behind us, we would like to give our players the ability to play even if they choose not to connect. An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience.”
Don’t forget, though, that this is a game that was billed as being designed from the start to always be online, and that it would be practically impossible to turn it into something that could work without Maxis’ cloud servers.
I wouldn’t get too excited yet; just because there’s a team looking into it doesn’t mean offline is guaranteed to ever happen.
I’m not trying to be facetious or anything, but does anyone still play this game? Would an offline mode be enough to bring you back or even prompt those of you who haven’t played SimCity to pick up a copy?