A Whole New: SimCity World (Also, Beta!)

By Nathan Grayson on August 16th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Whoa! I can see someone else's house from here.

You may not have heard, but SimCity‘s making a big, connection-required-on-start-up play for online, er, play. That said, I doubt the decision was made entirely by a roundtable of cackling men in suits who meet in dark rooms and refer to themselves as “The Council.” There is, in other words, a method to the madness – almost as though it’s being guided by some omniscient presence that has a disturbing amount of trouble preventing tornadoes and wildfires from ravaging entire metroplexes. But what exactly are we getting for our trouble? Well, it’s called SimCity World, and EA’s dropped a video of the basics in action. Build a (curved!) road past the break to see for yourself.

A post on Maxis’ blog, meanwhile, outlines SimCity World’s central goal as follows:

“Whether it’s competing or collaborating in Global Challenges, checking your spot on the leaderboard, buying/selling resources in the Global Market, or keeping tabs on what your friends are up to with CityLog, SimCity World really pops the notion of isolated cities living in a bubble.”

So it seems like a fairly basic setup, but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of ripple effect global economies and city partnerships will have on, well, everyone. And now, a sidenote: dear publishers, please don’t give us a nearly 50/50 time split of gameplay footage and giant “PRE-ORDER NOW” screens in your videos. It makes me want to break things.

Anyway, back on topic: You can now register for SimCity’s upcoming-ish closed beta. The mayoral monolith will lumber into town in February, so you can expect it sometime slightly before then. Well, unless this is some strange reverse beta – in which case all bets are off, and I’m going to go live in a bunker under a mountain until the coast is clear again.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

66 Comments »

  1. ArcaneSaint says:

    So I decided to check here when some guy in the Prometheus/Doom mod article comments said that comments were locked for the SimCity article. Doesn’t seem to be the case (anymore) though.

    • Nathan Grayson says:

      Yeah, the comments got turned off somehow. We’re still not entirely sure why – though the CMS has been a bit weird today. It deleted an entire article of mine earlier, prompting some (extremely justified) rage. But yes, comments work again! Project your thoughts onto this webwall.

      • ArcaneSaint says:

        Yeah, nobody’s gonna buy that. This is obviously your way of getting even with the rest of RPS for forgetting to put up an official welcome post for you. Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing, from now on I’m keeping an eye on you.

        Although that would explain why some articles appeared multiple times in my RSS feed.

  2. MajorManiac says:

    The style of the video is a little bit corny, but I really like the idea of games creating global communities and not just region specific ones.

    • MrKay says:

      Agreed really. I think you could have a ton of fun exploring the global economy they’re trying to create. Would be interesting if you could experience rescissions like what we’re currently seeing across the globe.

      I do also hope it’s an optional thing. As much as I’d like to participate in that, I can easily see why some people wouldn’t like their city to be depending on a global market on which they have next to no influence.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Monte Cristo tried this with CitiesXL, game bombed badly, company went bankrupt. City builder players have zero interest in interacting with others. This genre is a solo exercise and why EA doesn’t appreciate the lesson is more evidence of their bull-headed obsession with justifying always on DRM. Why this is never mentioned in any article about SimCity is also a mystery.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      MrKay, not to be a big old grumpy cynic, but I extremely doubt that whatever is created will be as inventive, open and flexible enough to experience things like global recessions. At best it’ll be a bland way of exchanging resources that means you can always have what you want rather than having to work around challenges. At worst it’ll some kind of farmville item swap – Rob gives Sally 3 oil in exchange for 2 lumber so he can build a park with benches!

      • Kookas says:

        Suppose you can eventually drain your supply of oil, though – you then would not be able to get that lumber and the place you’re getting lumber from would have a higher demand for oil which it would need to satisfy by invading Iraq.

    • Cerzi says:

      Anyone remember a little known MMO citybuilder called StarPeace? Would really love to see a return of some of that game’s features.

      ahh dat musical nostalgia

  3. jondare says:

    Wooo, comments enabled again!

    Anyway, this looks like crap. Really.
    I got hugely excited by the previous videos and such, but this? this just makes me :(
    I don’t want to play some kind of virtual stock broker, i just want to make a city, and see it thrive (and, of course, die in fire.) Why EA, why? :(

    This is game is turning down a sad road

    • Kollega says:

      You know, with the SimCity series getting better and better up to SC4 and Rush Hour, and then devolving into awfulness, i think what happened to it a perfect example of urban decay.

    • aklaft says:

      I don’t think anything is forcing you to engage with other people. You can make your city self sufficient if you want

  4. RaveTurned says:

    Hmm, curious. When the PlanetSide 2 beta was announced I couldn’t sign up for it fast enough. SimCity is a more beloved franchise for me, and yet I have little interest in signing up for this beta with the game’s always-online requirement – even if it seems like the online aspects of the game are a major part of this release.

    I guess it’s an issue of expectation – PlanetSide was always a multiplayer game, and it obviously wouldn’t work offline so an online requirement is natural. Conversely the SimCity series has always been single player, so the online requirement is jarring. Perhaps as more is revealed about the game I’ll see things to persuade me that the new world order is a benefit, but I’m not there yet. Until then, there’s always SC4.

  5. MrKay says:

    I think I broke my mouse wheel scrolling to the bottom of their Eula at the beta page :(

    EDIT: Anyone else not being able to upload their dxdiag file? I’ve tried with both chrome and Firefox, but it seem like their upload field is broken.
    Oh, it’s just EA being stupid (again): http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/8902385.page

    • bglamb says:

      I think I broke their DxDiag submit box…

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Wow, that’s immensely dumb. Well almost as dumb as claiming the beta applies to Mac users and then requiring a DXDiag…

      EDIT: What the hell is up with those forums? I had to complete a 40 or 50 step process just to post a reply.

      • Cooper says:

        Rename your Dxdiag file. Append ti with some random numbers. Seems like each file needs to be uniquely named…

      • MrKay says:

        Yep, agreed. I wanted to leave a reply there too, but it really took forever. Log in. Select avatar/ID. Log in again. Verify e-mail. Log in again. Make forum realize the e-mail has been verified. Log out. Log in again… EA is on to something with this shared EA/Origin account across all their games, but they’re really doing a terrible job at making everything work together.

  6. HexagonalBolts says:

    I don’t get what this really adds other than an unexciting trade option and a probably awful instant messaging program that will be instantly avoided in favour of steam…

    • AngoraFish says:

      it adds a dodgy justification for persisting with always-on DRM in a single player game.

  7. vonkrieger says:

    Looks like you got some Spore in your City Building Sim there Maxis.

    Predicting another shallow game full of half baked ideas. :)

    • TechnicalBen says:

      But it was worth it for Spore. Spore is about content creation. SimCity is about making cities. It’s like turning a racing game into “a social car badge trading economy with twitter”. I mean even TestDrive Unlimited was more about driving than SimCity 5 is about city building now. :(

  8. Please_click_RPS_ads says:

    I’d rather listen to the people who actually played the demo, rather than to some nobody who only base their assumptions on a trailer.

    • RedViv says:

      Those confirm that the mechanics we were promised, and widely shown, are working, as far as the relatively short bit of gameplay with tutorial goes.

      Still waiting for confirmation of customisation options, BAT/URK and such, on the technology side.

  9. derella says:

    I think it looks fun :)

  10. Hunchback says:

    Didn’t Cities XL try to pull that and fail, ending up in the game going to offline play?

    Other than that, it does seem interesting and all, if it’s properly implemented.

    • Kollega says:

      Yes. Yes it did.

      And to be honest, i much prefer the SimCity 4 model of a huge region subdivided into smaller ones for performance reasons, where you can start with a village and eventually build a HUGE megalopolis with satellite cities, industrial centers, and all other good stuff. I think making everything as you want it to be is inherently better for a city-building game than cooperating with other players (because cooperation is hard and far less directed).

      Incidentially, what i want to see revived along with SC4 model is Streets of SimCity. Why have some crappy pre-built city for your racing game when there can be literally infinite variation built by your players? Not to mention that driving through the metropolis you’ve built would be COMPLETELY AWESOME.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        Co-operating with other players could be a lot of fun, though. If it’s a bunch of friends that can generally co-ordinate well enough without stepping on each other’s toes.

        But it needs to be an option, not the default….

      • Smashbox says:

        That first thing wot you said is the thing wot we need to know.

        CAN I CONNECT MY OWN CITIES TOGETHER?

        Also, can I just … not … be forced to build my burgh next to Mayor Jerky McAssholeton’s Crap city?

    • Mctittles says:

      Exactly what I thought. I was in the Cities XL beta and if this is anything like that travesty I’ll pass.

    • sabasNL says:

      They indeed did, but the fairly small studio behind it asked for a MONTHLY FEE and always-online, while Maxis only asks always-online and offers more options.

      I don’t get why people are so negative about SimCity World. During a Dev Q&A, they CONFIRMED that you CAN PLAY ALONE. SimCity World is optional .

      I believe this SimCity will be a good game. It only has to do better than CitiesXL 2012, which is way too easy, and it will be the crown of the genre again. I hope it can beat SimCity 4′s quality, and to me it sure does look like it can.

      Just, EA, please don’t fuck up Maxis again because your analysts predict “Not Enough Profit”. You fucked up the great game Maxis was making, Spore, and turned it into something that was fun but censored and cut into. 6 expansions were promised. 1 actually came.

      • RedViv says:

        I think those news, that you can actually just pick your own region and play alone in that one, were the only noteworthy thing that I could get from the GamesCom live chat. Nine out of ten questions were stuff that had been announced way before that. A bit disappointed there.

        Nonetheless: Play alone, still online, but nobody would bother you. Invite friends to your region if you want to. Could be better, but if it really is asynchronous as stated, and does not require you to drop out and fix your connection if any kind of problems arise, I’ll take this.

        • Smashbox says:

          Oh oh!

          This was confirmed? I can just build a region like the good old (current) days?

      • Milky1985 says:

        “During a Dev Q&A, they CONFIRMED that you CAN PLAY ALONE. SimCity World is optional .”

        Does play alone mean play offline?

        Being able to play alone is completly pointless in my eyes unless i can play it on the bus/plane which is when i’m most likely to play this sort of game.

        • Smashbox says:

          It would allow you to have freedom over the layout of your whole region, so you don’t have some griefbringer next door building 50 coal plants upwind. AND SMOGGIN YOUR ASS OUT.

      • millerm277 says:

        Always online. That’s why we all hate it. It’s a single-player game with always online DRM. No.

    • socrate says:

      i though the same damn thing City XL did the same crappy thing and it was just horrible,even if it did work why the hell would i want this to be in my city building game…its totally not why i play Simcity….Sim city became a stagnant pool of water that doesn’t evolve and add nothing to the genre like so many EA title

      oh and the facebook gaming thing WTF….now i have to get 6 so called “friend” which i don’t even know and will never even meet or know for real just to “help” me build a stupid university,wow just wow

      oh and totally not a move to push YET AGAIN that stupid Origin….i don’t like steam that much to start with and think its the most limiting tool ever but to buy game its extremely convenient..i agree…but everyone trying to get their piece of the market with scheme like that instead of improving on the competition just show me that gaming just keep devolving each days and that there is no sign of any hope left

    • Kookas says:

      But that was probably more to do with the game being written by a 2-year-old, and their approach being completely wrong.

  11. Frosty840 says:

    WOO! They want my singleplayer experience to be affected by whether or not random people on the internet are competent and/or trolling me for “lulz”.
    Fuck yeah, EA!

    • Hunchback says:

      I am fairly certain it will be optional… don’t go batshit crazy like that lolo

      • Dark Nexus says:

        It’s still always online though, right? Even without using the extended “World” features?

        If so, it’s not optional enough for my tastes.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        I am fairly certain it will not be. ;)

    • Tuskin38 says:

      It is optional, you can play ‘offline’ not worrying about other people affecting you.

      • Milky1985 says:

        Offline as in not connected to the internet or offline as in not offline at all but just not connecting with others?

        • Kookas says:

          Are you people still stuck in the Victorian era or something? What’s with this obsession with the fact that you can’t play without an internet connection?

          • Brun says:

            Never had to live with a slow/unreliable internet connection, have you?

  12. mrmalodor says:

    Meh. I don’t want social features, I don’t want global features, I don’t want online. All I want is to build my Sim City offline, alone, in peace. Is that too much to ask from developers these days?

    • Hunchback says:

      The author of the article should edit it and mention that “world” play is only optional, so people would stop throwing fits all over the place… :D

      • Kestilla says:

        Indeed. Also recognizing the previous Sim game, Societies, was made by Tilted Mill, the creators of such fine gaming software as Hinterland, or Shit On A Stick. Okay that last one never came out.

        But since the real Simcity team is working on this and it was previously stated in a PC Gamer interview it was the design team’s decision for the online elements, it sounds like they’re finally incorporating the multiplayer component they first tried with 2000 and expanding the metagame planned for 4.

        I’m excited about it personally, because it finally means I can play SimCity possibly in a coop manner like I’ve played the Anno series for a great many years. Plus, they’re finally exchanging lifeless robotic city neighbors with people who will actually react to you, which just flat makes it more interesting.

      • Milky1985 says:

        It still doesn’t answer the “offline” aspect, as currently its still always online.

        So the complaining is legit.

      • mrmalodor says:

        Get with the program, simpleton. The always-online DRM is NOT optional. You can’t start the game without an internet connection.

        • Kookas says:

          Half of your computer is pointless without an Internet connection anyway. What’s the problem?

          • Vander says:

            That, for example i cannot play while i commute? That if i the servers shut down i cannot play at all? That some people have a shitty connection, even in civilized countries? Etc…

          • The Random One says:

            Games usually are in the other half, and are a good way to pass the time when your internet is down and half of your stuff stops working.

          • Brun says:

            This guy has to be a troll. No one is this naive.

      • dsch says:

        Any news about not being able to save/load?

  13. supersofty says:

    “Ich spiele mit den Markten” couldnt they find a native german speaker for that short sentence? his german sounds so odd as does my english :D

    • FriendlyFire says:

      The tiny bit in French made me cringe. The entire trailer feels oddly… cheap, actually. Like they didn’t really want to invest much in promoting World.

  14. beema says:

    A cancer on everything EA does.

  15. ScubaMonster says:

    Wtf, they can’t even get the beta form working properly. Every time I try to submit my dxdiag file, it says c:\fakepath\dxdiag.txt and fails. Doesn’t matter where I save that file to, it always says “fakepath”. Wtf EA.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      After googling there is a really stupid fix. Name it something other than the default dxdiag.txt. I just named it dxdiagsimcity and it worked. Makes no sense.

  16. MrMud says:

    Its pretty astonashing how a trailer can make you go from being incredibly excited about a game to almost wanting to vomit.

    I totally get that you dont have to play with these features but all I see when they present this to me is “facebook game”

  17. disperse says:

    But, but, I don’t want to share my toys with others.

  18. adelicatebalance says:

    If people are having trouble uploading their DxDiag file via the EA survey form, first ensure you add some random other letters or numbers to the file name – it seems it won’t upload it it’s called DxDiag or has the same name as a file someone else has uploaded.

    If it says the file is too large and you are running a 64-bit OS, try exporting the saved data from \windows\syswow64\dxdiag.exe instead of \windows\system32\ and it should stop complaining. I finally got through it.

  19. BreadBitten says:

    Personally speaking, this game is actually the only one so far to make the always connected spiel sound somewhat less dubious. Still a game that is being charged $50 should give me SOMETHING to do during those cold, lonely, internet-less nights…

    In fact, I think this game missed a great opportunity by requiring a permanent connection to play. If you’ll indulge me for a moment, if the player is playing the game while not being connected the game can replicate it by cutting the city off from a simulated internet connection in itself landing a good blow to its infrastructure and other relative details.

  20. vexis58 says:

    So wait, is this finally an announcement of the kinds of online-only features of the Simcity we’ve been hearing and complaining about for ages, or is this a completely NEW online-only social game called Simcity World? The trailer is extremely unclear about this.