A Load Of Hot Air: SimCity’s Airships DLC

By Adam Smith on July 1st, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Oh, SimCity. Its launch was far from smooth and yet the powers that be now believe it would be wise to unmoor a series of airships, allowing them to drift into the skies above the game’s colourful sort-of-simulated neighbourhoods. The blimps and balloons cost $8.99, which seems expensive, but at least they don’t have giant adverts printed on the side. I must admit, I was concerned that SimCity might receive a series of pricey add-ons that actually improved the game, making its meager municipal offering rather more sinister, an intentionally hobbled creation awaiting a costly cure-all. In a way, this gust of hot air is preferable. Video below!

If EA and Maxis are listening, I’d advise them to follow the advice given to writers all over the internet. Don’t read the comments on the Youtube page.

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72 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Soulstrider says:

    Airships? Well this changes EVERYTHING.

  2. Kollega says:

    $9 for a load of hot air? That price seems way, way inflated to me.

  1. StranaMente says:

    Speaking of always on line and EA, I’m pretty sure you’ve already cought wind of the Darkspore problems: gametrailers link.
    I’d like to hear some words by you about that too.

    • fish99 says:

      I wonder how long till they switch off the servers? I was actually going to go back and play this some more at some point, since I thought it was a decent little ARPG, but by the time I get round to it, it probably won’t exist anymore.

      If this is the future, it’s kinda scary.

  2. Soulstrider says:

    Airships? Well this changes EVERYTHING.

    • InnerPartisan says:

      I guess this officially makes Sim City a Steampunk game now.

  3. Kollega says:

    $9 for a load of hot air? That price seems way, way inflated to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Ah come on, be a bit more buoyant!

      • KikiJiki says:

        I knew a pun thread would float to the top

        • The Random One says:

          I thought the top comment would be a good way to air my complaints, but it’s always just a piece of ship!

          • Mr.Snowy says:

            Maxis cant be having a Goodyear what with this and Darkspore. I can’t help but think such insubstantial DLC can’t help but crash and burn.

    • Low Life says:

      My apologies for interrupting your lovely pun thread, but I find it rather appropriate that your comment is selected as the “Top comment”. Though I do wonder what the procedure behind that is – the amount of replies?

      • Kollega says:

        I honestly don’t know. That’s some new, dangerously untested feature :P

      • Premium User Badge

        elderman says:

        It couldn’t be hand-curated could it? If so, this is a clever way to nudge people toward making thoughtful (or funny or well articulated) comments.

      • Orija says:

        Oh, god, I hope they don’t implement that upvote/downvote bullshit here.

      • dE says:

        Oh dear, if it’s the amount of comments, it’s essentially a hall of shame feature. Because posting something silly is the ultimate RPS bait. Just insert large quantities of intentional silly and wait for the horde of angry self-proclaimed intellectuals to tell you how wrong you are in all sorts of snide, snark, cynism and holier than thou attitude.

    • strange_headache says:

      This DLC won’t keep the game aloft!

    • Safilpope says:

      They forgot to adjust for inflation

    • King in Winter says:

      Looks like EA’s Hindenburg moment to me. Except, they’re the ones doing the crashing and burning.

  4. evilsooty999 says:

    The comments on the YouTube page for this are hilarious.

    I feel sorry for Maxis as I’m sure all the bad decisions about city size, DRM and DLC came from EA.

    • Jimmy says:

      Some of my favourites:

      JagzRevolutionary: Tyrannical corporations selling you virtual balloons for $9. I love the smell of capitalism in the morning.
      TheTreemovies: Who the damn takes an airship to work???!!!!!!????
      Arcademan09: … Did they just- YUP. They just went full retard.
      MasacruRo: i came here for my daily dislike

      • GernauMorat says:

        I rather like the top youtube comment by danyen1412:

        How to fix Piracy: Make DLC that is so bad that nobody will pirate it.

        That’s pretty much it in a nutshell

        • almostDead says:

          I think some of the funnier comments are disappearing from YT courtesy of our corporate overlords. They were great. Well I suppose this is the lowest of hanging fruit.

    • Kollega says:

      My question here is: will anyone even touch the city-building genre after the failure that was this brave new SimCity? That Civitas thing that popped up at some point looks like it has failed, and didn’t look that promising to begin with.

      I’m afraid that we’re not gonna have any modern city-builders for the next five or so years, much less any successful ones =/

      • Isair says:

        I wouldn’t be too worried. Anno and Tropico both got a boost in sales after Sim City’s launch, so it’s pretty clear that city builders aren’t the problem.

        • evilsooty999 says:

          Yeah – there are other games that are not horrendously dumbed down like Anno and The Settlers which are still going strong. Anno 2070 wipes the floor with SimCity and Settlers 7 is brilliant!

          • Chmilz says:

            I’d like to agree, but both Settlers and Anno are spreadsheets. Chores in math. Simcity (past versions) allowed you to build successful cities in an organic manner, creating living, beautiful things.

            I enjoyed them, but they’re not the same at all.

          • MacTheGeek says:

            Anno 2070 still has limited-install DRM, and both games require constant online connections to enable all the bells and whistles.

            If I won’t put up with that crap from SimCity, why would I put up with it for Anno or Settlers?

      • Premium User Badge

        Bluerps says:

        There is still the Anno series – I think the last one did reasonably well, so there might be another one of those. Also, indie developers tend to not care about the failures of the big developers when they decide which kind of game they want to make. For example, Banished looks interesting (even though that goes more on the direction of Settlers than SimCity).

      • jonahcutter says:

        Clockwork Empires is another one to keep an eye on, especially if your tastes run to the more… esoteric.

        (Say the last bit ominously).

      • The Random One says:

        Man, Civitas had the smell of a scam from day one. Immediately after an AAA game fails badly, a Kickstarter for a supposed indie game in the same genre shows up, by alleged industry veterans that no one had heard of before, and with nothing to show except a few renders. I think it got pulled because they realized people were on to them.

        But yeah, Banished looks good, as does Clockwork Empire.

        • timethor says:

          The developer claimed to have gotten private funding for development.. and then disappeared of the face of the earth, without ever having produced a single thing (ok, there was a vid of a model of a house)

          The fact that they managed to get $100.000 in pledges shows that there is still a lot of appetite for a good simcity, and that there are way too many gullible people on kickstarter.

          Basically just by saying you are going to make Simcity, only good and with awesome graphics, you can collect 3 year salaries from the internet. That’s… amazing.

  5. sassy says:

    some of the features sound nice but damn they seem OP. Maxis is really going all out to make SimCity the easiest game of all time.

  6. yogibbear says:

    Still begs the question why the original maps with “16 players” are just cut up into 4 separate pieces of the pie from day dot, and that you now have to buy this DLC just to get people to commute to >75% of the other cities on the map…. LAME DESIGN = FAIL DESIGN.

  7. SirMonkeyWrench says:

    As a person with a deep and irrational love of airships I can say this DLC probably wouldn’t even tempt me if it was $0.99… $0.99 and an add on to a working game.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      No but wait, the lad said the dirigible DLC was awesome more than once so it must be super *awesome* and will surely be well worth the ridiculously exorbitant price!

      Awesome

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Now that gave me an idea: Arachnopolis DLC – turn your citizens into spiders, unlock web-swinging transport, and extra mandible/hairy leg-based architecture and decorations!

      • SirMonkeyWrench says:

        Spider airships!
        Spider nissans!
        Spider amusement parks!
        All $9.99! All exponentially reducing your regard for the people who bring it to you!

        That said a city sim staring giant anthropomorphic spiders would be awesome.

      • Sn3ipen says:

        Slingshot DLC!

  8. Perlmuxxed says:

    Well that’s some fine space for those ingame adds…

  9. Nallen says:

    It’s a bit like the Nigerian scam emails I guess. You make a game so offensively bad that the only the real suckers will shell out the premium retail cost you sell it for. You then have a high level of confidence that you can flog them $9 airships and get away with it.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Xantonze says:

    You’re missing the real issue here: this DLC is not just crap, it’s actually a scam.
    The airships are designed to smooth the gigantic highways traffic jams that keep happening due to shitty coding and design.
    So basically, they make you pay for a patch fixing a flaw.

    From the dlc page on Origin :
    “Don’t let traffic woes weigh you down! Take to the skies! ”
    “Troubled by traffic? Stadiums not quite at capacity? Then you need the Airship Hangar”
    “Lighten highway traffic to your city by helping your Sims commute by airship.”

    (…)

    • bleeters says:

      This reminds me of the time they sold Mass Effect dlc with one of the selling points being the ability to grind your (already in the game) achievements.

    • Giuseppe says:

      +1

    • timethor says:

      They basically take the role of subways, only with completely unrealistic capacity/traveltime, no need for laying tunnels, and graphics that you could interpret as playful/lighthearted, or as ridiculous.

      Selling transport options for $10 when your transport system is broken is questionable though.

      (haven’t bough the game, even without the technical/simulation troubles this game screamed DLC/advertisement overkill to me)

  11. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I’m just baffled. 10$ for three new buildings? That’s ridiculous.

    • Premium User Badge

      distantlurker says:

      Wasn’t the collectors edition like £65 or something? *Surely* the dlc should be free.. Mind you if you’re daft enough to pre-order something from EA or Acti then you haven’t been reading RPS long enough, fair point brain, thanks.

  12. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Oh! The humanity…I can’t talk ladies and gentlemen. Honest, it’s just laying there a mass of smoking wreckage…….but here’s some overpriced bugfix DLC for it Maxoids!

    • SirMonkeyWrench says:

      Is maxoids an new term the marketing department came up with? Because it may have done more to make me hate maxis than any other part of this whole debacle, it feels like I’m being mocked by them for believing they would make something that would respect my intelligence and having faith they would try to do right by the game and the customer.

  13. Junkenstein says:

    How can they possibly justify that price? Imagine how much the game would cost if they’d priced the whole thing like that.

    Firestation and Fire Engines – £5
    Hotels – £4
    Buses – £6
    etc

    • lordcooper says:

      Why are you giving them ideas?

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        You get Pre order free KY Jelly is my suggestion, saves any tearing of the hoop

  14. zarnywoop says:

    Man, someone needs to make that airship docking (at 2m15s) into the Futurama Planet Express ship.

    Too bad, Im not going to buy this game, or the overly expensive DLC.

    Once bitten by EA and all that…

    • Antsy says:

      Its not quite the same but next month they’re bringing us the Tube Transport System for $10, to help with traffic. Probably.

    • MacTheGeek says:

      Good news, everyone!

      Now your Sims can fly around your city in a balloon*!

      * – All balloons will travel clockwise, and will disembark all passengers at the first available station, and if there’s a traffic jam on the ground there will be one in the sky too; but really, it’s super-cool BUY IT NOW NOW NOW!!

  15. Lagwolf says:

    It amazes me how dense Maxis are to what people really want from Simcity. They don’t want hot air they want land to expand on. What are these guys on when they come up with these daft ideas helium?

  16. Premium User Badge

    Phinor says:

    This is the type of stuff that I would probably buy if I was (still) interested in the game. Not for $8.99 obviously, that’s ridiculous, but for something that is actually a microtransaction so in the $0.25 – $0.5 range. $8.99 is what a full game (non triple-A) costs.

    So the wait for a 95% off sale starts now. I mean, would start if this game wasn’t a mess.

  17. porps says:

    are people still playing that game? everyone i know who bought it including myself got tired of it within a few weeks

  18. almostDead says:

    The audacity! This is Silvio Berlusconi level.

    Thankyou, EA and Maxis for leaving comments on.

  19. Time4Pizza says:

    As someone who bought the game on day 1 I am a little pissed.

    Does everyone remember the glowing reviews for this game before it was released on every site? What a break through this game was, how fun and addictive it is? I bought this game on those previews. Now we all turn around and say “wait, this game sucks!”

    • SirMonkeyWrench says:

      My father, for whom Civ and SimCity are basically the beginning and end of the list of games he play, preordered this game based in part on the glowing previews it received, which manged to spread even into his totally gaming agnostic reading. I ended up feeling screwed over as well simply because of how much the game disappointed him.

  20. bstard says:

    I’m starting to admire this SC project. I’m getting the feeling it is not about the game, but it’s a new use of the internet by creating episode after episode of drama.

  21. sysdefect says:

    I could swear that Maxis’ excuse for excluding some features (say, cheats and loading) was to preserve the integrity of the social aspect and online play, whatever integrity their broken forms have, and then they add $10 cheat dlc to inflate your cities over your neighbors. What a joke.

  22. waltC says:

    I got through 3/4′s of the video and had to turn it off. I thought the whole SC franchise was supposedly about realism in the design of cities and the governance thereof. But I can’t think of a single city anywhere in which the “airship parks” exist let alone “raise land values”….lol! I didn’t buy the game because of its condescending shortcomings and the dishonesty at its launch about server number-crunching and non-performing client machines, etc. Those were little more than outright falsehoods–prevarications, lies–whatever you’d like to say. And yet people bought the game anyway. Really, it’s no wonder EA never feels constrained by the truth when talking out of both sides of its mouth. People seem not care whether they are lied to. Amazing.

  23. Lanfranc says:

    Am I the only one who finds that guy’s tone incredibly patronising? Even more than Maxis’s usual intolerable “Hello, Mayors!” marketing attitude, that is?

    • TWChristine says:

      Yea, I think I see where you’re coming from. For me it’s the mix of constantly saying “awesome!”, referring to everyone as “Maxoids”, and the tone of voice (even when saying his name as if it was the punchline..) comes across like one of those really corny pre-teen shows.

  24. Foxygamer says:

    I miss the good old games when you had to wait a year or so for a expansion filled with updates. Instead of this DLC crap where you pretty much pay for small patches…