Not long after a modder discovered that it was possible to play SimCity offline indefinitely, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw authored a post on EA’s website that tackles the question head on. Simply put, could they have built an offline mode for SimCity? According to Bradshaw, the answer is “yes.”
The executive said the design team rejected the idea of an offline mode because it didn’t fit with their vision of the game. She pointed out that the always connected model didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. Instead, it’s fundamental for the vision they had for this version of SimCity.
Bradshaw goes on to say that the game was designed with multiplayer in mind from the ground up using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions that essentially mirrors the environment we live in today: an ever-changing social world.
Having said that, Bradshaw maintains that aspects of the simulation still happen in the cloud to support region play and social features. For example, servers are responsible for handling gifts between players, creating a dynamic supply and demand model for trading and keeping each player’s contributions updated and the progression on the Great Works moving forward.
If nothing else, let’s all hope that EA / Maxis and every other publisher considering always connected games learn a lesson from this whole debacle: have more than enough servers ready at launch!