Offline Play, Mods Coming to SimCity (But Read the Fine Print)

“Great news! We’re finally adding a feature that should have shipped with the game we launched almost a year ago!”

That’s how I read Maxis’ announcement that offline play is finally coming to SimCity (even though Maxis once insisted SimCity offline was “just not possible.”) Maxis GM Patrick Buechner broke the news with a SimCity blog post, confirming that, yes, we’ll soon be able to save our city, destroy it, reload, and destroy it again. Imagine that, unleashing catastrophes on your SimCity without losing it forever. Grumble.

“When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection,” Buechner writes. “We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it’s as polished as possible before we release it.”

An offline, single-player SimCity also opens the digital gates to the modding community, and Buechner said a series of modding tutorials is coming soon. Unfortunately, Maxis just can’t get out of its own way these days, even when they’re delivering good news.

Want to mod the soon-to-be single-player SimCity? Read this lengthy SimCity Modding Policy first, which includes the caveat that any fan-made projects are legally the property of Electronic Arts. EA reserves the right to sell and distribute your mod “without obligation to pay you anything, obtain your approval, or give you credit.”

Wow, they actually put that in writing. No wonder the Internet voted EA the worst company in America for two years running.

EA also says it will remove any mods that infringe upon the “integrity of SimCity the experience.” So feel free to mod SimCity, just don’t do anything too creative. If you do, be prepared to have it destroyed and/or sold by EA, without proper credit or compensation.

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3 Comments on Offline Play, Mods Coming to SimCity (But Read the Fine Print)


On January 13, 2014 at 11:24 am

Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t games always been that way, technically? I had heard something like this years ago about various mods. My understanding was that most developers tend to back off, though. It sounds like EA is so desperate to make money that they’re willing to loudly proclaim: “We’re ready to steal from the most creative members of our fanbase.”


On January 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Sounds more like the accounting department at EA/Maxis figured out that everybody that might buy the game has likely already done so, and this is a very convenient method allowing EA/Maxis to turn off a number of the costly Simcity servers whilst spinning it as “giving the customer what they want”. If they were actually interested in “giving the cutomer what they want”, the game wouldn’t have shipped with online-only in the first place.

Hey, it’s not like every single forum discussion with the fanbase prior to launch elicited an overwhelmingly visceral negative response to the online-only idea.

Oh wait. it did.

I got my refund, and there’s no conceivable scenario that would cause me to purchase the game again. Offline, bigger maps, fixing the massive bugs with the agent system, don’t care. The condescension and lies from Lucy Bradshaw and her ilk are not something that I’m going to overlook or forgive, no matter what they end up doing with the game.


On January 27, 2014 at 12:31 pm

EA’s mod disclaimer would most likely be allowed if anyone challenged it since the underlying property is theirs, but it’s strange to see a company get so uptight about it. Most of the time nobody worries about derivative work so long as money isn’t changing hands, and they’re usually just fine with acknowledging that someone else made it.

Although, I find it humorous that EA was so adamant that the game couldn’t work offline, and now we find out that it can. I’m pretty sure most people knew the real problem was that EA didn’t want to have it that way.