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.