SimCity’s launch was an unmitigated disaster, which was unfortunate since it was actually a pretty good game. Server overloads were a constant issue all because of the decision to make the game always-online. Even if you wished to play by yourself you still had to do a server check-in to register your copy. Given the trouble this was causing paying customers there were many who complained that this was simply unnecessary DRM and that it should be removed. Unfortunately Maxis representatives burst that bubble by announcing that making SimCity play offline would be impossible, “The game was designed for MP, we sim the entire region on the server so this is just not possible.”
Well today the impossible has become possible because Maxis has just announced that an offline mode will be coming to SimCity in its latest update. “Yes, Offline is coming as a free download with Update 10 to all SimCity players. When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection. We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it’s as polished as possible before we release it. So, until then… testing, testing and more testing.”
Of course, we’ve known all along it was possible thanks to some intrepid modders, but finally having it official is a step in the right direction. All of your saves and DLC will transfer over, so it will be just like playing the game before, only without the server check-in and social features. Saving locally also brings with it the benefit of multiple save files which have always been a SimCity favorite.
Along with the offline mode comes official modding rules and regulations. Mods will not be pre-screened by Maxis or EA, but they still must adhere to the rules listed on the site linked above or risk being taken down. A special section of the EA forum has been setup for SimCity mod discussion. Is all of this too little, too late for SimCity? Only time will tell for sure, but at least we’re getting some progress on the whole thing.