EA wants to say "sooorweeeee". For pretending the game had to be online for server computations, and then ignoring us when we pointed out this wasn't the case? No, not because of that! But for launching SimCity in the most extraordinarily inept fashion, with barely functioning servers, massive queues, frequent crashes, and the rest of the mess everyone in the whole world except EA and that one reviews editor predicted would happen. To make this up to everyone who's activated a copy of the game, and rather madly to people who buy one any time up to the 25th March, there is a free game available. And they're proper good ones, too. One of them is a rather fine city building game, called SimCity 4.
That EA is apologising to customers who've yet to even buy SimCity is pretty extraordinary. "We're sorry you're about to buy our broken game." I'm sure they're hoping this might boost some new sales too, but it's still a fairly odd situation.
So what can you get? Here's the list:
Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)
Dead Space 3 (Standard Edition)
Mass Effect 3 (Standard Edition)
MOHW (Standard Edition)
NFS Most Wanted (Standard Edition)
Plants vs. Zombies
SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition
If you want to gouge them for the maximum amount, Dead Space 3 still costs £40 on Origin. And you'd be mad to opt for Plants Vs. Zombies, which is only £7. Well, unless you want it, and this isn't just about the graph EA execs will have to look at in a month's time.
But best of all is the SimCity 4 Deluxe edition, usually £20, that offers a fantastically detailed city building sim, along with an option for an offline regional game, where you can build multiple cities into one region, and have them share resources. The Deluxe version includes the Rush Hour expansion, and both let you terraform the land, design your own building types, and all sorts of other excellent features that you'd expect to find in a modern city-building simulation.
If you've bought the game, or feel like you're about to against your own will, you'll get an email telling you when you can claim your game. You'll need to do that before the 30th March, or it will be lost like a SimCity game on a crashing server.