GC '07: Sim City Societies Impressions

Building a bustling metropolis is never easy, but it's always fun.

With games receiving more sequels than ever, it's rare to see a popular franchise go more than a few years without a follow-up effort. However, that's precisely what has happened to the SimCity series, which hasn't seen a new iteration in over four years. But the long wait is almost over. SimCity Societies will be hitting stores this holiday season, and we got a look at an alpha build of the game in Leipzig.

One look at Societies and you'll instantly know you're looking at a SimCity game. The action is viewed from the same isometric perspective, the toolbars are in familiar positions, and you're still charged with building a successful town. You'll manage the residential, commercial, and industrial aspects of your city, build roads, power plants, and set a budget too. There's a lot that is familiar here, but a lot has changed.

It's now easier than ever to see just what exactly is going on in your city. You can click on individual citizens to find out all about them and their attitudes towards the town. Your sims' moods aren't determined by some unseen artificial intelligence routine, either--they will react realistically to their surroundings. For example: A sim goes to a bar and gets hammered. If he's drunk, he can't drive, so he'll have to walk home. Walking home takes a while, so he's going to be super tired when he gets home. He'll probably miss work the next day, which means he stands a good chance of getting fired...which leads to a whole different sequence of events.

As has been the case with every new SimCity game, there are more buildings than ever before. You'll have a huge selection of work-related buildings to choose from: not just a few categories, but loads of different professions too. There are breweries, bakeries, banks, animal shelters, bookstores, casinos, bowling alleys, bridal shops, cafés, and loads more. The buildings you place will have a variety of effects on your city. By clicking on a building, you can find out a wealth of information such as its operating hours, financial impact, the impact nearby buildings have on it, how many people live or work there, and how it affects your city's societal values: productivity, prosperity, creativity, spirituality, authority, and knowledge. Each building can have a positive or negative effect on these values. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because that's how your city gains an identity. Depending on what buildings you choose and where you put them, your city might end up being normal, a small town, romantic, capitalist, industrial, fun, or a number of other characteristics, all of which are reflected in your city's appearance.

Of course, it would be a SimCity game if there weren't disasters to bring your town to its knees. You can unleash fire, floods, and even meteor showers with the click of a button. As always, you can turn random disasters off, but there are some problems that you won't be able to run and hide from, such as global warming.

SimCity 4 had a reputation for being a bit of a system hog when it was released. Big cities could bring even top-of-the-line desktops to their knees. EA knows this and is working to optimize the game so that as many people as possible can enjoy it this time around. That doesn't mean the game won't look nice, because even now it's looking quite sharp. There are loads of details to enjoy as you zoom from high atop your city right down to street level.

EA isn't ready to give details on the game's online features just yet, but it did promise that the game will allow for more customization than ever before, and that it's being written in such a way that it can be easily modded.

SimCity Societies is due in stores this holiday season and is currently slated as a PC-only (XP and Vista) title at this time.

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35 comments
JockBoy11
JockBoy11

Anyone who loved Simcity 4 will hate this game if you want a more detailed preview from a die hard simcity player check out DIRK'S Preview on www.simtropolis.com he had a few hours play time with the game.

andjeff
andjeff

Sounds really good. Should be even better than the original sim city

Mengzor
Mengzor

Cant wait for it , as long as its better than 'City life' - not that that was a bad game , but it wasn't no sim city.

_Samsung_
_Samsung_

dis is for ghsacidman i just came back from japan and it turns out dey r finkin ov doin it for ps2 and psp and if it sells well den dey are gonna do it for de ps3 and 360, 360 elite and by de way for any wreslin fans SVR 08 is a absoloute beast (dat means it is friggin amazin) (by de way so is PES 2008 but fifa 08 and resident evil 5 arent as good)

redlar
redlar

I wonder if we'll ever get a version of Simcity with fantasy elements? It'd be cool to build a steampunk city from the ground up. It doesn't look great, with the slight toy-ness look of things, but it still looks like it'll be fun. Hope they do a good job optimizing it.

Kool_j
Kool_j

looks like crap :) this is not the kinda sequal i wanted. what happened to zoning and laying down pipes and all that sim city ness... bah, maybe Will Wright will make a true sequal. He's probably sad at how much they changed his series.

MrOverlord
MrOverlord

Hmm, SimCity's always been addictive to play. Now if they optimized it a lil' better (and still left cool features like driving cars), it would be a blast.

YEPEE00
YEPEE00

might be interesting.

whacker40
whacker40

looks pretty good, i might think about buying it when it comes out, though i probably just settle for buying the orignal simcity on the virtual console

Jelligraze
Jelligraze

I've lost faith in this game ever since Dirk from Simtropolis gave it a review (and pretty much verified community fears) saying it wouldn't include anything noteworthy to long-term fans of the series. I was worried up until then but was hoping (with all of the hype by Tilted Mill, EA, etc...) that it would at least be interesting, but I now realize it's going to be a City Life knock off (actually worse than City Life... that game looked less cartoonish & had LOTS of road options). Hopefully Monte Cristo's Cities Unlimited will be better.

JasonWI
JasonWI

This game is going to be crap. It doesn't even feature diagonal roads or highways. How boring is that going to be? This is SimCity for kids. The claim they are making the game easier for newcomers to just pick up and enjoy, but really I think this whole thing is going to backfire cause they likely wont win over very many new players to the series and to make things worse they are now alienating the fanbase they do have. Hopefully we will see a true SimCity sequal someday cause this just isn't gonna cut it.

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Fina;;y! I've been waiting 4 years for this game! :D

SunnySimantov
SunnySimantov

I'm not happy about this game very much. From the previews it seems much less serious than Sim City 4. So, your citizens have true lives and they go to bars etc... but I want to have a city with -real- measurements. Oh well, it won't be a bad game, just not a game for me I guess.

bob_harris
bob_harris

Why don't they just use the "Sim's" line of zoom in detail with the "Sim City" global perspective?

gamer4250
gamer4250

finally! I've been waiting for another SimCity game! YAY!

ghsacidman
ghsacidman

PC-Only... WTF??? I love the PC but, I was hoping to play SimCity Soc's from my couch... Oh well, guess I need a new laptop.

PR_GMR
PR_GMR

Coolness. This one is looking good. I'm looking forward to it.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

sounds like an interesting idea the sims effecting the city, jobs stuff like that, i think it's an interesting idea, but that's just me

supra2jzgte
supra2jzgte

I hope this one runs optimal for Dual Core systems. Sim City 4 ran like crap no matter how powerful your system was. I hope this game isnt *ay!!! I love sim city ! -dad

NA3D
NA3D

This game will stink... by no means it is like the traditional SimCity that we know and love.

moajunior
moajunior

Acho q esse jogo vai ser animal!!!!!!

Richard7666
Richard7666

I gather it's more like SimTown than a true SimCity...so I don't see it as sodomising the series, as it's a spinoff. If it was SimCity5, THEN I'd be angry. "and that it's being written in such a way that it can be easily modded." ^that quote in particular makes me happy.

rlaehgund
rlaehgund

ma lil insticts tell moi dat this gamee is going to b ok for few hrs then get borin after a whil ****

kilzombie
kilzombie

I might try it, but if it turns out like one of those tycoon city games, it's going straight into the trash.

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest

sounds good. Hopefully EA won't screw this up

ctbrimley
ctbrimley

When I first heard that this game was coming out I was excited, than I read that Maxis wasn't creating it and they were dumbing it down from Simcity 4I was pissed. Now after reading this I may give it a chance, if I have time to.

bluto3000
bluto3000

topnotch! excellent! it sounds really promising! I can't wait for it. I wonder if you can actaully play a sim and gets a job earns money buys a house drives across the city you build and probably gets drunk in the bar once a while. They should add some mini games in the city too. It would be even more awesome.

DJSMITH007
DJSMITH007

Wow, cant wait, loved Sim City 4

glitchgeeman
glitchgeeman

Sounds good, but if you're making buildings one at a time, I wonder how long it'll take to really make a huge city like in the past ones.

joeythemachine
joeythemachine

Simple AI that acts based on simple, realistic motivations and is integrated into a larger AI and so on, ultimately governed by you. Finally. No more leaving the best parts up to your imagination. Real reactions. Brilliant.

adambomb5060
adambomb5060

the view is anything but isometric in societies...

XGxAxMxExRX
XGxAxMxExRX

I haven't played simcity since the 2000 one..... but this one is starting to look good

lim_ak
lim_ak

Sounds interesting, but it seems more like its moving away from the great large cities that you could build in sim city 4.