SimCity's always-online requirement hasn't gotten off to the best start, with long server queues greeting players immediately upon launch. Things have improved, according to Maxis, but gamers have to be wondering if the game could have been offline from the start, especially since some modders are able to play it without an active Internet connection. Earlier today, Maxis' general manager Lucy Bradshaw revealed an offline mode was considered for the new SimCity, but was rejected since it didn't fit with the team's "vision."
To start, Bradshaw listed a variety of reasons on why SimCity is a multiplayer and online-driven experience. Those include things like simulation data for the region, world challenges and events, Great Works, gifting between players, Global Market, and leaderboards to make sure no one is cheating. All can be seen as valid reasons for the always-online, but Bradshaw's concluding remarks offer the best explanation yet:
So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. 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. We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that. But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology.
So there you have it. SimCity could have been an offline game, but Maxis rejected it since it wanted a different experience than previous games. Bradshaw even states the new game is like an MMO, which most definitely is something new for the SimCity games. Plenty can be debated on the validity of that design decision, but Maxis is at least sticking to its guns for now.
So, hearing the explanation from Bradshaw, do you agree with it or still hope offline can be "patched" in later?