SimCity Societies Updated Impressions

We take a tour of a couple of interesting city types in EA's upcoming builder.

by

At EA's recent showcase, we got a nice, juicy demo of the fifth installment in the popular city-building simulation, SimCity Societies. Because Aaron Thomas covered many of the nuts and bolts in his recent preview from Leipzig, this time, we took a closer look at the types of cities players will be able to build.

As you may or may not know, each city in Societies will emphasize different values, including Productivity, Prosperity, Creativity, Spirituality, Authority, and Knowledge. Depending on your city's commitment to these ideals, it will take on an aesthetic personality type. For example, the first city we saw was highly focused on prosperity and authority, which made it a Cyberpunk city.

The sky was overcast and gray, which our demo rep told us never changed. But the city itself was full of neon lights and tall buildings. At its lower levels, the place was seedy and rundown, with vagrants loitering in the streets. On those same streets, secret police roamed, looking for unproductive members of society to kidnap and reform at one of their centers--turning unhappy dissidents into productive automatons.

When the demo rep selected one building, we noticed an icon in the description of a man vomiting. According to the description, the building's unsanitary conditions caused its residents to become ill. There was also a cryogenic prison, where murder-death killers could be forced to serve infinite life sentences. Needless to say, it was a fascinating, colorful place, with tons of personality. And this was just one type.

Another type we saw was the Orwellian city, with its grand and imposing ministerial buildings, as well as intimidating, Stalinesque statues. Unlike the Cyberpunk setting, the Orwellian city was extremely clean and orderly. There was no litter on the sidewalks, and for good reason, there were cameras everywhere. Any act of indecency would be captured and its perpetrator apprehended. Obviously, the Orwellian city values authority over all--or uber alles.

The final city we saw was a well-to-do Artistic city, with dual emphases on creativity and prosperity. The look was clean and European, with a beautiful pink and blue sky. It also had lots of nice trees and stunning architecture. The people drove fancy cars and had a visibly different happiness scale from the Orwellian or Cyberpunk cities. This is a population graph that breaks down the population on a scale of unhappy to joyous. In the first two cities, most people were content, but almost no one was joyous. In the Artistic city, every level of happiness was populated by many people, and almost no one was depressed.

That is, they weren't depressed until we called in the meteor shower. Soon after that, great balls of fire rained down from the sky and smote the idyllic metropolis like Gomorrah. Many of the residents survived, but their homes and businesses did not, so they were forced into the streets with shopping carts. Then the floods came...

Yep, that's SimCity alright. And, get this, SimCity: Societies will be completely customizable, featuring fully exposed XML and C sharp code, so the community will be able to alter every aspect of the game. Then again, it already looks great. The graphics are slick and do a great job of communicating the vibes of the various cities. While we certainly haven't seen all this game has to offer, you will be able to when it launches sometime in either November or December.

Discussion

41 comments
Tyler10165
Tyler10165

It's City-Life, crossed with sim-town and with some fancy graphics. But I'm sure I'll enjoy it come christmas!

gigantus
gigantus

I have played all the SimCity games before and it should be interesting to see what this one is so different about. The modding aspect is something new and (hopefully) refreshing. Just look what it did for Rome Total War and its successor Medieval 2! Truly interesting.

SimuLord
SimuLord

I'm looking forward to this one. City Life was...well, there's no way to sugarcoat it, it was too European. Having a game about social order programmed by people from a socialist society like France left a sour taste in the gameplay. Having this one developed in the good ol' US of A by a studio (Tilted Mill, located just outside Boston) that knows plenty about how to make a good city-builder (lest we forget, these guys were the brains behind all those Impressions games way back when) will likely make it much more palatable to an American gamer's tastes. Nothing wrong with "leveraging the SimCity brand", as the marketing weasels might say, if it means more sales for the business end of things. We, the hardcore-gamer consumers who take time out of our lives to post in threads like this one, will decide for ourselves whether to play it no matter what the casuals think.

I_got_u55
I_got_u55

It sims that EA doesn't realize why Simcity turned into the "Bible" of citybuilding games! Simcity is all about building, developing and making sims happy, just for the pleasure of doing so! Honestly the idea of having social groups that cannot ascend to a greater status sounds more like City Life! I really hope that someday I will enjoy the good old SimCity series that I like so much...

Franke17
Franke17

i think Ea tryin to make simsville...(this not simcity)

dgarbely
dgarbely

'All your game are belong to us' -EA

McAndrew_basic
McAndrew_basic

Really shouldn't be called SimCity anymore. Should be called EA's City. With a subtitle "We Own Your Game Now."

Deathcheese23
Deathcheese23

This is why you DO NOT let EA publish your game... they take over and add their stupid *for small girls* stuff to it ¬¬ simcity was a great series too bad its gone... i hope somehow they abandon this game and give the licence back to Maxis, maybe they should contact ubisoft? death to EA!!!!!!!!!!

avatars10
avatars10

Yeah, if i like the demo (if one it made) then i might be able to get the game

Dragonclaws1191
Dragonclaws1191

I'll try the demo first, then we'll see. considering this is like city Life and I didn't like city Life, don't think i'll get it.

Donkie737
Donkie737

I am not going to buy this trash

ejerrell
ejerrell

I would agree that SimCity has changed, in my opinion SimSity 2000 was the best (but thats my opinion)... But it wouldn't hurt to give the demo a try, but probably won't buy it. It reminds me of Black & White 2

ejerrell
ejerrell

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

objector
objector

gimmea break, the only good city is the artistic one? So long Simcity

Sunrie
Sunrie

Interesting. The SimCity games were always so much better than The Sims. Hope this will be fun as well

Blizzardream
Blizzardream

I tend to agree with gods toaster. Calling it something else would probably be for the best. Although to be honest I was really apprehensive about this game at first but have been increasingly impressed with what they've been displaying

GodsToaster
GodsToaster

This isn't SimCity, its just EA using the name to get more people to buy a city-builder game thats almost completely unlike SimCity. They should really call it by a better name, like SimSocieties, or more accurate title, SimTown 2. It may still be a good game, but SimCity it is not.

bluto3000
bluto3000

So we say goodbye to the legendary simcity series? and say hello to the newly enhanced citylife kind game? ...

pajamas
pajamas

There seem to have no depth other than eye candy in SimCity Societies. SimCity is known for its depth and realistic look. Now it became such a flashy simulation makes it off its roots. Let's see how they will appease fans of the series in its next preview...

ssratt
ssratt

This is NOT Sim City, going back to it's roots? heck no Simcity (1) was all about getting your city to have a good balance of different types of businesses,houses,industries, etc That's what he designed, any previews that mention it say you can put anything anywhere and no problems. This is just a slightly pulled out version of sims 2 (just call it another expansion pack)

byrom23
byrom23

This is looking like CIty Life to me. Hopefully they will add more features and make it like Sim CIty 4, but with graphics like City Life.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

It's looking a lot of fun. Probably a bit much for my poor computer though. :(

osleyee
osleyee

looks interesting but i wonder if its its is going to make a big impact in the gameplay and also if the game is going to be balance.do you think is going to be better then simcity 4 please leave me comment.

LoneSilverFur
LoneSilverFur

I like the sound of it, but I still hope that they decide to add more features to it to remind us more an actual SC Game.

counter_reality
counter_reality

heh, cheers to the author of the article for the uber allies reference.

Ewarewar
Ewarewar

I was first against this whole new aspect but im starting to like it and its sounds like its gona be fun haveing differemt city looks.

dar_
dar_

"C Sharpcode"? You guys mean C# code (C-sharp code)?

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

I'm still lost in Simcity 2000 ... opps.

Buttmonkey9000
Buttmonkey9000

It sounds Good... But Sim City takes ages to perfect...

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

I'm still skeptical about this one working out

grayworks
grayworks

I'd like to see a demo first before making any judgements

uberjannie
uberjannie

I always like building cities =)

Richard7666
Richard7666

FULLY CUSTOMISABLE! Even if it comes out crap, the mods will be great! SimCity games have been unmoddable beyond changing building skins in the past, this is great. The roads and cars are a bit crap though. Cars/people too big and roads only seem to be one kind, with no diagonals. Even SimCity2000 let us build on diagonals =(

crimson_ant
crimson_ant

I really love city-building games where you can work at your own pace. I hope this one will not disappoint. Considering the developers, I hope this stays true to the SimCity feel and not an updated Caesar.

talshiarr
talshiarr

Yet another preview that ignores everything missing, like even freaking diagonal roads or some kind of transportation besides cars. And out of all these cities, there's one type missing altogether, the real world kind that "SIM"City has modelled for the last 18 years until now. As for customization? Hell, there won't even be a building creation tool at launch. I guess we can have a jolly time making candy cane buildings into Orwell types and whatnot...whee.

hiho24
hiho24

Man the modding community will love this game. I haven't been to Simtropolis for a while but I wonder if this changes a bit of their tune to this game with the exposed XML and C code.

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest

I'm still wanting some of the stuff that they took out...

jsratm
jsratm

looks interesting. i wonder how you beat the game.