Maxis exploring offline mode for SimCity

General manager Patrick Buechner confirms developer has formed a special team focused on exploring possibility of offline mode for city-building game.

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After saying in March that an offline mode for SimCity "didn't fit with our vision," Maxis has confirmed the formation of a special team focused on investigating the possibility of introducing an offline mode for the city-building game.

"Right now we have a team specifically focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode," Maxis general manager Patrick Buechner said on the SimCity forums. "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," he added. "An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience."

It was first suggested that Maxis was considering an offline mode for SimCity in July, when an Electronic Arts customer survey asked fans if they would be interested in such a feature.

The announcement came as part of a wider blog post regarding the state of the game seven months after launch. Buechner recalled the game's rocky release, saying, "Our launch wasn't what anyone on the team hoped for," noting, "we think about this every single day."

Still, Buechner said Max is "proud of how far we've come over the past few months." SimCity has sold over 2 million copies since release. Last month, Maxis announced the game's first expansion: Cities of Tomorrow, which will be released in November.

"I want you to know that we are listening to your feedback. We dig deep into the forums, Facebook posts, and Twitter feeds every day to see what players are talking about," he said. "There is a lot of feedback and there is a clear passion for SimCity. That’s great to see. And while we appreciate positive feedback, we take very seriously the players who have criticisms. Players have high expectations of what goes into our games and we have an obligation to deliver."

Buechner said Maxis "continuously" reviews this feedback in tandem with its own in-game telemetry to help the developer decide where to focus its efforts going forward. As an example of this, Buechner pointed out that Maxis has released seven major updates for SimCity since launch, addressing issues with traffic within the Glassbox Engine, among other things.

Buechner also confirmed a report from earlier this week about user-generated content coming to SimCity.

"Maxis has a long tradition of supporting User Generated Content (UGC) and the UGC community. We have begun a discussion with our players with the ultimate goal of giving you space to mod while assuring all our players that the multiplayer gameplay experience is safe and has integrity," he said. "It’s difficult to determine what makes a 'good' or safe mod and what mods cross the line. Clarifying guidelines for UGC will help players understand where that line is. We want to have an open discussion with our community about what you want out of SimCity and hear your thoughts about UGC guidelines. To join the discussion go here."

Lastly, Buechner revealed that Maxis will not introduce bigger city sizes to SimCity, despite exploring the technical possibilities of this for "months."

"I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes," he said. "The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn’t be able to load, much less play with bigger cities. We’ve tried a number of different approaches to bring performance into an acceptable range, but we just couldn’t achieve it within the confines of the engine."

"We’ve chosen to cease work on bigger city sizes and put that effort into continuing to evolve the core game and explore an offline mode," he added. "Some of the experiments we conducted to improve performance on bigger cities will be rolled into future updates to improve overall game performance."

For more on SimCity, check out GameSpot's review.

Discussion

249 comments
chitosan87
chitosan87

I really lost my hope & appetite for playing the New Sim City, since All I knew, there are too much problem for playing online. Sim City 4 still adorable for me though ...

Elem3nt
Elem3nt

A little late for that dont yout think? EA is such a massive joke.

anakvunky
anakvunky

This kind of behavior that makes EA looks like a big time jerk..... 

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

So... what happened to "SimCity can't run in offline mode! Really!! Honestly!!! Totally can't!!"? And people managed to mod it and disable the online check and played it just fine, just couldn't save and the "social" features were obviously disabled, and Maxis never responded to that.

Now trying to spin this into "Oh look, we're listening to the feedback we receive from our playerbase, they are so important to us!".

Go f*** yourselves.

dpclark
dpclark

GTA 5 is a cross between SimCity and PlayStation Home - except with guns and sex.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Building areas are still too small, RCI model still makes no sense and is completely broken, trading and region stats are still bugged, agents still pick the next best workplace and home instead of persistent ones, ... the list goes on.

Offline mode doesn't make that mess any more attractive at the moment.
This game is dead, they killed the once good franchise with it, so screw them for that.
Everything EA touches turns into shit, in this case it was Maxis and SimCity.

Them saying they're listening to feedback is absolute bullshit - Fans of the series told them 1 year before the first beta already that this is not SimCity, then during the beta up until now almost on a daily basis that the building areas are too small, RCI is broken and that there should be an offline mode and what did we get - DLCs.
Never mind that the announced features of the agents and every system interconnecting in a way that makes sense wasn't even part of the released game.

If there ever will be another SimCity, they have to make up for their fuck-ups real good, but as they'll remain as a EA studio I'd rather hope for an indie developer to come up with a worthy successor instead.

silentshade0
silentshade0

I remember being super excited for this game, shame how it turned out. I'm sorry Maxis but giving me an offline mode now isn't exactly enough to make me care about the game, you had your chance and you went and f*cked it up.

With how inferior this game is compared to Sim City 4, lets see how the next installment in this dead franchise sells because I doubt you'll sell 2 million.

ekisom
ekisom

i'm not so sure what their end game is with this online mode only but knowing EA its probably some kind of balls-busting profiteering racket. this is whats killing gaming. its all these on-lining BS mutherFkload. its really punching my balls and giving me a lot of WTF?! stimmies in my head. 

fking make games for gaming. isnt it fking not enough to earn from 60$ per game these days?? fking unbelievable. 

what happened to lan gaming? what happened to installing games for 10 min and playing right after the installation ends? Why the fk do games have to hav 3rd party softwares to log into all the fking time? Why do games have to download installations files when you already have the game disk that you already purchased? 

why cant anyone make a no nonsense game anymore!? waaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!

Gargus
Gargus

Its already offline, there is no exploring to it. A guy created a hack that shuts off the online components. I refuse to believe EA is having to explore the option.

castolee
castolee

If performance is issue for not allowing the bigger cities, then if you make an offline game, surly... SURLY.. you can make that an option. Let the people who have power to play bigger cities play them. This is why you have options! Does people complaint about Crysis 's high spec demand? Some do, but most of people understand that the game requires it. If bigger map in Simcity requires you to have better spec PC than you have , so be it. I just think it is a lame excuse.

koospetoors
koospetoors

And here I thought it was supposed to be completely impossible to implement such a mode.

The only thing that truly went offline here are your brains, bunch of dimwits.

Seymour47
Seymour47

Too little too late, EA. If they release an offline version I might pirate it and play it, but you can bet I'll never give them any money for it. 

kazama99
kazama99

Stupid stupid stupid!. The execuse they give for not allowing bigger cities firstly, was BECAUSE you connect online?! Don't you see how stupid the idea of having it as an online game was!?

And then we say we are going to be a company which all about online only basically, but now decide we will make exceptions....

I am usually not one to bad mouth game companies to much, but this is absurd.

-Unreal-
-Unreal-

Took them all that time.

Gives a bad impression for their future releases.

R_Mckay
R_Mckay

ah when will these devs learn that not all people want to play games online... while the connected aspect of mobile games are there... these tend to be casual and simple games not unlike PC games that provide more substance and challenge  they should never be locked behind the online only wall. (GET THAT OUT OF YOUR HEADS!) :) Just my two bits :)

lostn
lostn

But didn't you say it was impossible Maxis?


In any case, too little, too late.

moleyUK
moleyUK

"Offline mode didn't fit with our vision" ...  "but now here's a Super Special Task Force of people whose vision it does fit with."

Unfortunately, for most people,  the damage is already done


luciann
luciann

2 million for such a  crappy game ? wow

Vienreich
Vienreich

Headline should be changed to "Maxis exploring sense and reason for SimCity"

ghostofkraken
ghostofkraken

This is one reason GS has become a terrible source of news. They completely neglect the face that they aren't expanding city size.

Pirates modded a single value and gave this game an offline mode.
As other people have said, GS gave this game a rating of 9 when it was new. Wonder how much they got paid for that review.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

"I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes," he said.

Should't this be in the article title as well?  Its the only thing everyone who played the game is interested in.

Figsarefatal
Figsarefatal

I admit, I bought this game a few days after launch. I loved how it looked like a model city brought to life. This magic was quickly crushed though when I realized just how small the build areas are, and that R/C/I is pretty much not connected in any meaningful way. Offline mode is a good start, but honestly the build areas are my biggest issue, and the reason why I only played for two weeks after launch.

astralislux
astralislux

Didn't Gamespot do a review of the game without actually playing it and give it a 9.0?

astralislux
astralislux

Online or offline, the game mechanics are broken and cannot be fixed without starting over. If they want to save the franchise, go back to the start and work on SimCity 6.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience" Well, what do you know, it's possible to hit two birds with one mode. Not only will you not be forced to connect to the internet (making the game playable after the servers are shut down, among other things) but an offline mode would also enhance the shelf-life by introducing modding. That's why I don't like online-only games, no offline SP and no modding.

Tomdogg
Tomdogg

Too late Maxis, no longer interested in your game

Cryptic_Shadow
Cryptic_Shadow

It is such a disappointment that offline wasn't a priority in early development.  They limited their player demographic as a result.  Curious to see how it goes though.

Sorciere_basic
Sorciere_basic

EA/Maxis should try exploring not being greedy scam-artists.

davros878
davros878

"Exploring" an offline mode huh? Wow! How cutting edge, that sounds amazing.

starduke
starduke

Maxis Development meeting transcript

"Okay, now that we're all here..."

*points at poster on wall of Sim City connectivity issues*

"GAZE ON THAT AND THINK ABOUT YOUR MISTAKES!!!"

tomscifi69
tomscifi69

@Seymour47 Just because you are not happy with what EA has done gives you no right to steal it and then play it - don't like, don't play it - I can respect that - but to suggest you might steal it and play it as a means to "stick it to EA" does nothing but hurt all of us who pay money to play PC games.

sidewinder_na
sidewinder_na

@lostn They didn't say it's impossible, they said it doesn't "fit their vision". I wonder if an inaccessible game was a part of it too...

koospetoors
koospetoors

@ghostofkraken Since when did Gamespot give this game a 9? Its always been a solid 5.0

La la land must be quite nice to live in.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

@AggrandizedUser  Yeah. Thats exactly what I said would happen before the game even launched.

There is absolutely NOTHING important calculated in the cloud. It was all just one big DRM lie.

duhNeighbour
duhNeighbour

@astralislux Um, no, they didn't. Some others gave perfect scores or high marks but not GameSpot. Talk about confused memories you got there.

pboontap
pboontap

@astralislux 

i think not actually, plenty of other places did tho. rockpapershotgun was a blast during its release tho

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

@astralislux Well I think they've lost the majority of fans after this release. They mistreated the fans, and as a result they've lost their trust. 

Seymour47
Seymour47

@starduke Are you kidding? They don't consider anything they did a mistake, except for maybe not fooling more people.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@tomscifi69 @Seymour47 I'm with @tomscifi69 on this one. Vote with your wallet, sure, and don't buy any EA product to show them what you think.

This does not give you the right to steal it though, it's still theft, and it will be used to justify more and more DRM BS, so you'll just be hurting the gamers, not EA.

astralislux
astralislux

@Ayato_Kamina_1 @astralislux Sure, gamers have lost trust, but gamers will play a game that's well-made. If the mechanics of the game weren't broken, the offline discussion would have quieted to a low grumble while everyone was playing.

Seymour47
Seymour47

@astralislux @Ayato_Kamina_1 Sim City might be my favorite PC franchise of all time, but I can say unequivocally that I will never ever buy another Sim City game after what they did to this one.