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.

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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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