Maxis “Comes Clean” With Statement About Always-Online Requirement

EA Maxis’s Lucy Bradshaw claimed last week that SimCity required an always-online connection because a core part of the game’s processing was handled online through the company’s cloud servers. She claimed that creating an offline mode would require a significant engineering of the game’s existing codebase. In other words, it wouldn’t be possible for the studio to create the offline mode its players have been asking for since the game’s troubled launch earlier this month.

However, as players soon found, they were able to disconnect the game and play it offline. A modder managed to disabled requirement and even extend the editable zones in the game—bypassing the limits set by Maxis. Likewise, an insider at Maxis even stated that it wouldn’t be too much trouble for the developers to implement such a feature.

Today, Lucy Bradshaw made an update on the official SimCity website titled “Straight Answers From Lucy” to explain why the studio made the decision to implement its always online mode, with the claim that it wasn’t done so for the sake of DRM.

“Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world.”

Bradshaw went on to explain that the servers handle the simulation state of an entire region, and the basis of the new game is for players to draw upon the cities their friends make, and likewise offer their services to other player cities in the region. She elaborated on what else the servers were responsible for, including the development of Great Works, social features, and the visual representation of every city, which is updated on the fly to allow other players to view the save state of a player’s city.

“The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO.”

“So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes,” admitted Bradshaw. “But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision. We did not focus on the “single city in isolation” that we have delivered in past SimCities.”

Is a man not entitled to the offline mode of his game? No, says the developer at Maxis. It belongs to the cloud.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

16 Comments on Maxis “Comes Clean” With Statement About Always-Online Requirement

ZephyrTuvai

On March 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Accept this is how maxis wants the game they made to be, would you kindly…

JawaEsteban

On March 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Really? Is this what accountability at EA has come to? Bradshaw got caught by the modding community with her figurative pants around her ankles, and she doesn’t even give so much as a minor apology for straight up lying to the fanbase? Not even heavily misrepresenting ala Casey Hudson, but straight up bald-faced lying.

Did they really think so much of themselves and so little of the Simcity community that they thought we wouldn’t figure this out? Newsflash, Bradshaw: There are a ton of serious Simcity fans, especially the variety that post on Reddit, with masters and doctorates in computers and engineering. The longer you drag this out the dumber you look.

TheDog

On March 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I really hope there vision show them kissing my backside, cause that’s all they’ll see as I head off to get a real game.

Kevin

On March 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm

You know when a company is lying out their arse? When they come up with crap like this. If this was their design vision, why didn’t she say that in the first place? Why say they CAN’T do something when they clearly can, instead of saying they DON’T want to? Oh sure, saying that might look a little darker but its better than lying and getting caught at the inevitable conclusion.

EA and the companies it owns need to go drown at this point. All they do is hurt gaming at this point.

Tom

On March 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm

“Lucy, if you don’t cover for our stupid policies, you can kiss your job goodbye. This is your only warning.” – High ranking EA official

xxx

On March 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm

And I thought I had to go to a politician for a lying, thieving piece of low life trash-Now supplied by EA

R.J.

On March 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm

@Kevin

I think you’re right. This isn’t the first time an EA owned studio has hidden behind their “vision” as a last resort for explaining why they did something boneheaded. If such “vision” was at the heart of the decision, it seems like that would be the first thing they would say, rather than claim some sort of technical limitation that is later proven to be inaccurate.

I’ve noticed that the EA studios are quick to protect the corporate parent by saying that they chose to do this or that and it wasn’t some sort of mandate from EA, and yet EA’s studios are consistently the source of so much ire. Either EA has a knack for buying studios that make poor decisions, or EA has more control than anyone cares to admit.

psycros

On March 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm

EA, please die.

Rustedness

On March 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm

“In many ways, we built an MMO.”

Seems to me the first three words of that sentence aren’t necessary.

gasmaskangel

On March 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Ok, so it’s so simcity can be a multiplayer game. I get that. Now, who, exactly, wanted that to be the default state of the game?

I understand that some people may want to be inconstant contact and interaction with other humans while playing the game, but I have my doubts that most fans of simcity would. I always played previous simcity games for the simple joy of building something (and then smashing it with meteor strikes) and never felt any urge to say, hobble my creation by forcing it to depend on the whims of my filthy meatbag neighbor.

By all means include a multiplayer mode if you must, however recognize that more people than you think just want to play their damn game by themselves with reinforcing a sense of sullen misanthropy by being forced to interact on the internet.

In short, the always online thing, and all the mandatory multiplayer and social features are still freaking stupid and should never have made it out of the initial brainstorming.

John

On March 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I wonder if EA execs understand why they are being blamed by gamers and that no amount of damage control from developers can persuade people to give any EA company the “Benefit of the Doubt” again. Only casual gamers or koolaid drinkers actually don’t care about this, because they don’t understand that big publishers like EA and Activision are screwing them out of money in the long term, to get out of supporting games after they get too old. Publishers and Developers should be liable for closing down any games regardless of “genre” such as MMO or whatnot and held responsible for their product. Once a server is down the game no longer works, and there will be no full refunds…. Do we really want to let it get that far

Air Jimma

On March 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Unreal.

Just when I thought EA owned devs couldn’t possibly lower my already catastrophically low opinion of them, Maxis drops this gem.

Dratkin

On March 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

In today’ word where games are being downloaded directly why do game DEVELOPERS even bother with game publishers at all?

folklore

On March 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

@Dratkin
Publishers are still needed for a variety of reasons, the main reason of course funds to make and advertise games at least digitally. If also physically they also help fund the production and shipping of the physical copy of the game.
One reason why kickstarter, indiegogo, and others are successful is because they eliminate the need for developers to rely on publishers to pay the bills, while they make the game.

Tommy B Rude

On March 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm

First ‘artistic integrity’ now ‘vision’. I can’t help but admire the sheer amount of brass it takes EA to try and spin idiotic design and marketing decisions into some kind of moral high ground.

Dudiepie

On March 19, 2013 at 12:53 am

Worst excuse she could’ve used.

Never buying an EA published game when stuff like this is still going on.