EA: SimCity offline mode 'didn't fit with our vision'

Maxis GM says developer recognizes some fans want offline mode, but even more are praising the game's always-on features.

Electronic Arts has admitted it could have created an offline option for SimCity, but developer Maxis ultimately chose not to so as to keep with the "vision" of the city-building game.

In a note to fans today titled "Straight Answers From Lucy," Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained that SimCity is an always evolving product, similar to a massively multiplayer online game.

"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 said.

"So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes," she added. "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."

Bradshaw said Maxis understands that longtime fans of the SimCity series are upset the game does not accommodate offline play. But at the same time, she said positive responses to the game's always-connected features has been numerous.

"We recognize that there are fans--people who love the original SimCity--who want that," she said. "But we're also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the always-connected functionality."

Earlier this week, an anonymous Maxis employee claimed SimCity's servers aren't handling the kind of computations the developer is suggesting and that an offline mode is possible. In addition, a modder this week found a way to play the game in an offline state.

EA and Maxis' decision to have SimCity require an always-on Internet connection has proved highly controversial since the game's hobbled release last week, with Maxis insisting that the online requirement is to enable social play.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
SimCity

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992 comments
Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

Don't try to force feed multiplayer and coop on games that have been single-player for a quarter century. Launch a spin-off or something. I didn't ask for Sim City Online. I asked for Sim City.

neplou
neplou

" Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained that SimCity is an always evolving product, similar to a massively multiplayer online game.

"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 said."

Guess I will wait a year for Free-to-play to be implemented...

neplou
neplou

"Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained that SimCity is an always evolving product, similar to a massively multiplayer online game.

"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 said."

I guess I will wait a year for Free-to-play to be implemented then...

CaoSong
CaoSong

"but even more are praising the game's always-on features" 

Complete BS right there. EA is now telling us what we praise? I haven't heard a single person "praise" the annoying always online feature... wonder if they're trying to tell us everybody likes it so we'll "fall in line" and just accept it... Yeah I got Mass Effect 3 for free and since I was given SimCity as a gift I actually got it for free as well... but the first 3 days I had it, I got to play maybe 2 hours total thanks to EA's always-on features and sucky server issues (which I still deal with at least once every time I play)... who in their right mind would praise them?

Frankly I haven't seen a single reason the game has to be always online... I find myself playing alone in a private region or in a private region setup by a friend more then anything, If EA released an actual official poll asking the people who bought the game if they'd prefer an offline mode, EA would apparently be shocked to learn that the vast majority do not wish to be forced to always be online in order to play the game they just bought.

Clearly this game should have been like it was meant to be. A single player game, with LAN/Online optional. I honestly wonder these days of EA actually believes the stuff they say.

mikesla11555
mikesla11555

All I have to say is that by the time the players are finished playing Simcity, and moving on to something new, most players will paid a few hundred dollars because of all of the expansions, or DLC's most call it now-a-days. The whole point of EA doing what they have done is not about piracy (they would like you to believe that), it's about milking players for everything penny they can before they move on to the next great game, or get tired of playing Simcity.

Have fun guys paying 300 or more dollars for a game that should only be $60.00 dollars.

MirkoS77
MirkoS77

They're still taking us for idiots, even with their pants around their ankles. "Didn't fit in with EA's vision of DRM" is more accurate. What morons. I'll play Simcity in a while. I hear it's one of their "freemium" games so I'll have to take advantage someday. Mahalo EA!

IMPACT_17
IMPACT_17

Oh, that's neat. So supposedly you wanted to create deep online interactions between players. I don't see what's wrong with that, except why that has to eliminate the OPTION of simply playing offline. DRM of this magnitude is disgusting, and judging by how much modders have been able to toy with it, hurts the actual consumer more than anyone who pirated the game.

IMPACT_17
IMPACT_17

Oh, I see, so you supposedly wanted to create a game with deep online interactions between players. Well, I don't see anything wrong with that. I also don't see why that has the eliminate the OPTION of playing offline. DRM of this magnitude is disgustingly greedy, and, judging by how much modders have been able to toy with the game, hurts the actual consumer more than anyone who had pirated the game.

copkill
copkill

OK, who are the fckfaces that have been giving positive feedback on the always-online feature...

jhcho2
jhcho2

EA: SimCity offline mode 'didn't fit with our $$$'

Corrected

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Still..  other SimCitys are better.. Surely EA have a agender behind this

Barzenak42
Barzenak42

Until I can play it offline when I want...they do not get a dollar .

jonnykronic
jonnykronic

In the corprate world "not in our vison" usually means that they honestly don't care about what we (the puplic) actually wants. Having an online only sytle game will cut down on any type of pirate copies of the game. Which is understandable, but it hurts a lot of customers at the same time. I stayed away from Dialbo 3 for that reason, and sadly I am staying away from this too.

megakick
megakick

only reason Sims is offline is because Sims Online failed....

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

"enable social play"? If they were interested in enabling social play then it would be an option, not required.  At best they can say they are forcing social play on people.  Its anti-piracy DRM and everyone knows it.  Why can't a company be the least little bit honest about things to their consumers for once?

sundown19
sundown19

Always online DRM doesn't fit with my vision as a gamer.

MrDouglas
MrDouglas

Your vision was never mine to share, EA. Credits to swedish metal band Misery Loves Co. for the great title of their second (I think) album.

fredwv
fredwv

pay to win is here to stay

shanethewolf
shanethewolf

Too bad your online mode didn't fit the vision of those you expected to buy your game. 

feliciamcat
feliciamcat

This woman's attitude reminds me of bioware's attitude toward Mass Effect 3's ending 

"Yeah well, some people may hate it but TRILLIONS OF PEOPLE LOVE IT we are swimming in positive feedback . We love our fans"


Bulls*i t these people hate facts lol

OldKye
OldKye

Actually in all honesty i wonder what the creative brainstorm for this game looked like.

EA:"What can we do to better control our customers?"

Maxis"Well we can put in a 20min timer that kicks them off if they aren't connected."

EA:"good, good but that's only one line of code they could delete that what else?"

Maxis:"we could hold their saved games hostage on our severs so they can't play their city's then."

EA:"But what if someone makes a way to save it to their computer?"

Maxis:"We make them log in just to launch it tell them it's a Multi-Player only game.*room laughs*"

EA:"I like it if anyone complains Lucy you Lie to the consumers make them think we had nothing to do with this. Also have support censor our support number to limit complaints.

I'll have our viral marketing guys put out online what a great game it is. Offer our usual "Digital Deluxe" version*room laughs* I don't know throw super hero's or European land marks in people eat that stuff up.  

Then when it comes out remind everyone we don't offer digital copy refunds and call it a Day."

dexfm
dexfm

ppl from EA have a fucked up "vision". In general gamers that play SimCity are not mmo players, quite the oposite. And mmo players that play simcity games, they do it to evade the mmo for a while. This game is designed to invest more and more money in it. Don't dream on bigger landscapes without paying for it.

OldKye
OldKye

Well Simcity 4 had online regional support, larger city's, Terrain editing, Highway and train track modifying exe..... 

So I mean if you look at the bright side it only took them ten years to add..... well..... I mean..... they did take out a whole bunch of...... They put online DRM in it.  That's new!

MegaPhilX2
MegaPhilX2

Ok, I'm going to finish this quote for her since it went nowhere as it was: "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, so we're just going to ignore the others who want an offline mode."

RoadStar1602
RoadStar1602

This is just a load of shit. Look, lady, nobody is complaining about the game having online features. Those features, however, should be optional. This is a single-player game that should be able to be played offline. The reason that online features are not optional is because they are actually just a thinly veiled attempt to prevent piracy. Nothing more. Don't insult our intelligence with your ridiculous statements. It has already been proven that if you remove just two lines of code from the game, it functions just fine offline. Stop lying. You are making yourself look ever MORE stupid.

Instead of spending so much time lying to your customers for damage control purposes, how about if you fix the fucking game? How about if you let one of your devs spend the 15 minutes required to make the game work offline, then release that patch? If you do, I might actually buy the fucking thing.

kb8618
kb8618

Yes I "praise" EA for making me rollback a city 5 times in one hour

mtouchprod
mtouchprod

I love when they keep saying "This was always our vision" and "We designed this game as an online-only from the very beginning."

I feel it's very mature and bold of them to be willing to make that so clear. "Oh no, we didn't make a mistake, or fail at something: We walked right into stupidity with our eyes wide open, and with every intention of fucking this up."

nasser_m200
nasser_m200

a vision. ok go praise the sun \o/ lol

Prats1993
Prats1993

Lucy from Maxis, SimCity was never Maxis' vision. It was EA's vision.

hasancakir
hasancakir

I don't understand why they didn't give the offline mode option. How can't it fit the "vision" of EA? It is just a lame excuse. Everyone knows why developers make online-only games.

shadow131990
shadow131990

Are EA fans of the game? They must be the only ones praising on the online only drm! It's pretty obvious what they're trying to do. Ea is trying to forcefully impose a very bad drm system. This will go on for sure on future games. The only way to stop them is by not buying their products. That's all that counts for them!

Fruitytr
Fruitytr

"some fans" ? you mean all of us?

deathwatch28
deathwatch28

"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."Poor EA for your short-sightedness, if it ain't broke don't fix it! And due to their poor "vision" I won't be buying, but I may peruse the internet for a copy later on.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Ms. Bradshaw, the thousands of voices in your head do not count as actual people, please go and seek a doctor for professional treatment advisory, better sooner than later.

Just read her blog post, this woman has absolutely no clue what she's talking about, also ignoring all the feedback.
The result is that even 90+% of the responses to her blog post are telling that nobody is buying her bullshit.

The entertainment value this game has since it was first announced cannot be described with words, but it's not the game that's entertaining, it's the clusterfuck of fails by these incompetent people.
I don't mean the developers though, they're just the code monkeys executing their superiors' stupid ideas, the developers are actually doing a pretty good job still - They were even nice enough to keep the ".package" format similar to Sims3, so modding is more or less easily done, left some debug features and code snippings in the release code to circumvent most online features, "forgot" to encrypt the client-server communication and even pretty easily allow an offline mod to be done - It's almost as if they all want to get fired so they can start an indie company and come up with a superior "IndieCity" version of this game.

Every new SimCity news fills me with joy, it's so entertaining to watch them fail, despite the high price of them ruining this IP / franchise, but it's EA, so it's expected that everythiing they touch turns to shit - EA is like an anti king Midas.

MJaP
MJaP

EA IN NO WAY ON GODS EARTH built anything resembling an MMO, just shows her devious nature to twist the facts and deceive the consumer, people equate an MMO with always online so we'll just call SimCity an MMO to make that psychological link in peoples minds when really we haven't created an MMO it's just a singleplayer game with an always on multiplayer we've forced down everyone's throats... there is no reason besides DRM why this is included as a non disable-able feature.

And these "thousands" of people who are loving it, how do they compare with the tens of thousands (if weightings of good to bad reviews on places like Amazon and Metacritic are anything to go by) that absolutely hate "your vision"? What about them?

I would love to be a fly on the wall of the panicked "damage control" meetings that must have been going on behind the scenes at EA over the past few weeks.

Veronity
Veronity

The actual gamers generation has fish memory and thats why the big companies never fail on what they aim for, all those rages about COD annual release, AC DRM, etc etc, yet they get pretty high numbers on sales... just put yourself on their place and think a bit, would you change anything if fishy brains rage for a week or two and then again buy your product anyway? i dont think so.

HappyBB
HappyBB

Nowadays, good videogame franchises that come into possession of EA, or in any association with EA, have the gaming experience ruined!  Oh wait, I may be too extreme and biased here.  However, this certainly is how I feel about EA now!

HappyBB
HappyBB

Lies, lies, lies, all lies!!  What comes out of EA's mouth are lies to me now when they are on the issue of always-online requirement!!

telaros
telaros

Oh, sorry I thought I was in a Diablo 3 news post by Blizzard.


Moving on.

musalala
musalala

" Didn't fit in our vision" I assume this vision involves unspeakable acts of evil and greed punctuated by the anguished crys of simcity gamers as they feel the hard turgid phallus of EA ramming them hard reapeatedly  in the rear? 

mikesla11555
mikesla11555

Here is a famous quote, and how it applies to Steam, UBI, Activision, and EA:

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." ―Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarkin

axelx666
axelx666

did they ever say what the FREE game was?

mikesla11555
mikesla11555

You know folks, I have been thumbing through countless documents about this game, and EA, and a thought just occured to me about Piracy, and how EA by forcing this Online DRM. Many, and I mean many people are so angry over what EA has done to them that instead of EA stopping piracy, they are only making people who normally not pirate anything now look to doing just that. EA, and other companies are now creating a whole new generation of pirates out there because of the way they legit customers, and not only that but to continue on milking them for everything they are worth. The game costs 60 dollars, by the time you get a game that is worthwhile playing, you would have spent hundreds extra for other DLC packs EA throws their way. I mean they literally crippled the game so they can gouge every player out there. I mean come on, a DLC is going to be released to allow for larger maps? Are you freaking kidding me? GUYS, don't buy this game, just don't otherwise you will be spending a weeks wage to play this game the way you should be able to play from the start.

End Note: Instead of EA stopping piracy, they are now creating more to join their ranks... Good going EA, your actually helping  piracy to continue, and grow because of your GREED, and your desire to control people.

BowmanKCMO
BowmanKCMO

I just want my old single player games to continue to be single-player games.  I stopped buying online-only single-player games because I had far too many problems reclaiming saved games, having saved games corrupted, tons of server-side downtime interrupting my play at the few key times in my days when I have time to play.  Those cons far outweigh the benefits of scoring systems or the ability to get social with some 13 year old from Ohio with a cr*p attitude.  


Not every gamer suddenly wants to be forced into social situations just because pirates have wrecked your business. Newsflash- the pirates keep on pirating, even fully-online, DRM-heavy games.  Meanwhile, you are losing valued customers like me.  As I said, I'll never again buy an online-only single-player game.  I buy multiplayer when I want multiplayer, but when I want single-player, I just want a game that is saved on my computer that I can access anytime without an Internet connection.  

If you think I am in the minority, you are simply stubbornly sticking to a failed DRM method, because the overwhelming (vastly overwhelming) majority of players have found SimCity's DRM exhausting, cumbersome and broken.  They are also complaining en masse about the size of the cities, a limitation imposed by the "social features" of the game.  In other words, this isn't SimCity anymore, it's some hybridized MMO thing.  The next SimCity I buy will be an offline version.  If it's never produced, we're done, you and I, SimCity.  And that makes me sad. 

KniteWulfe
KniteWulfe

Ok so "longtime fans of the SimCity series are upset the game does not accommodate offline play" but longtime fans don't matter because we would rather force anti-piracy measures disguised as "social features" on you.  That is what I read...