Scheduled for release later this month, SimCity Societies is a city-building game that promises to offer a much more hands-on approach to urban planning than previous games in the series. For example, previous SimCity games let you place zones designated for residential, commercial, or industrial use, but Societies will task you with placing individual buildings. This will not only give you more freedom to design the appearance of your city, but also to impact its residents in ways that simply weren't possible previously. How you decide to use this newfound power is entirely up to you, of course, and there's no reason why you can't put personal gain ahead of the population's happiness if that's what floats your boat. Think you might make a good robber baron? Here's a brief look at what you can expect from SimCity Societies if you choose that path, courtesy of the game's associate producer.
By Daniel Alioto
Associate Producer, Electronic Arts
Polluted, dirty, overpopulated, and crime-ridden downtown regions toil away while the fat cats sit behind their walls, as well as police forces, bathing in money. Workers are getting very high unhappiness levels from their work but are receiving, in turn, very high levels of happiness at their "venues," which causes large mood swings. Limited venue space can create rapid happiness problems if something goes wrong.
These smoggy cities with cracked streets are packed with people--generally with many more people than there are jobs. There is little regard for the health or safety of individual sims and high salaries for employees are almost nonexistent. However, the upside is that simoleons are abundant and the player will have no lack of funds to continue creating the city. Only amongst high turmoil will the production of simoleons come screeching to a halt, which is entirely possible in a city likened to a powder keg.
As a player, you might feel somewhat like a corrupt politician or mob boss, sitting safely behind hired shields and racking in the cash while the sims are breaking their backs knowing that they are expendable. They also know that if for some reason they did lose their jobs, there would other poor souls eagerly waiting in line for them.
The favored homes and venues of the industrial profile used to create a city like this are also breeding grounds for criminals. Making sure to have enough police stations around is going to be important. While you may not care if your city is crime-ridden, you certainly don't want to let it get too much of a hold on your simoleon production. But just in case it does, you can use your police stations' special SWAT ability to send out the riot police to round up the criminals and rogue sims. Of course, such an action isn't free, but with many other industrial buildings offering additions to the treasury as a bonus to the daily grind of the sims, you shouldn't worry.
In SimCity Societies, a city like this looks and behaves as you would imagine. Choked yellow skies and decreased visibility due to smog, with vandalized building textures, as well as an abundance of litter, mar the cityscape. From the music and the lighting right down to the weary sims and their vehicles, this city looks and feels just like a middle-American 19th-century industrial city.
Robber Baron Buildings
These buildings are mostly associated with SimCity Societies' industrial profile, whereas pollution and poor living conditions are the theme. Injured? Sick? Unable to get to work? We don't care! We can pack 'em in so tight that we have enough people to replace the sick and injured at any time! Cracked streets and yellow skies are the norm here. With criminals roaming the streets in droves, this is not a nice place to live! But do you care? No! You are making a lot of money off of your high-population workplaces, as well as their special abilities, which include a production drive and an efficiency drive. The following is a list of buildings associated with the industrial profile:
Colossal Foundry Workplace
Corrupt Police Station Workplace
Dept. of Public Works Workplace
Firing Range Venue
Liquor Store Venue
Loan Shark Workplace
Machine Shop Workplace
Meat-Packing Plant Workplace
Motorcycle Shop Venue
Off-Track Betting Venue
Oil Refinery Workplace
Pawn Shop Workplace
Soup Kitchen Venue
Steel Mill Workplace
Super Coal Plant Power
Temperance Union Workplace
Textile Factory Workplace
Underground Casino Venue
Union Hall Venue
Unionized Steel Factory Workplace
Vigilante Group Workplace
Vocational School Venue
Welfare Center Venue
Check back for a full review of SimCity Societies in the not-too-distant future.