GAMES FIRM Electronic Arts (EA) is launching an offline version of Sim City following a lot of testing.
The offline mode has been wanted ever since EA released the latest Simcity, however the firm had some other things to deal with following its launch.
The beleaguered title was widely criticised, backed up with traffic and overrun with sewage. Although this made it a lot like an actual city, players were not impressed.
Patrick Buechner, general manager of EA's Maxis Emeryville studio, said that offline play will appear as part of the game's tenth update. It will be free, he added, and will bring any self-generated content, like your city, with you from a cloud world into a desktop one.
Sim City offline is not quite ready yet, and the firm still has a group of adventurous testers playing around with it.
"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," said Buechner.
"So, until then... testing, testing and more testing. As one of the final steps, we're putting Offline into the hands of some of our most hardcore players, the DevTesters. This group of volunteers is going to put Offline through its paces before we release it."
This is a different story than the one we heard from EA last spring . Then the firm was telling people that the Simcity is not designed for single player, offline mode. Of course since that time EA has shed one executive over the debacle.
But, back then, Sim City was definitely not supposed to be played offline.
"Always-Connected is why Sim city is not an offline experience. Always-Connected is a big change from Sim Cities of the past," wrote Lucy Bradshaw, general manager for Electronic Arts' Maxis label in March.
"It didn't come down as an order from corporate and it isn't a clandestine strategy to control players. It's fundamental to the vision we had for this Sim City. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind - using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a Sim City that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world."
Things change though, and this change of heart is likely to be welcomed by modders, according to Buechner, and despite previous appearances, the firm looks forward to delivering it to them.
"Bringing the game Offline means big things for our wonderful community of Modders. They can now make modifications to the game and its components without compromising the integrity of the Online game," he added.
"Modding is a big part of our studio's legacy and we're excited to see what you guys create. From me, and everyone at the studio, thank you again for staying with us. We look forward to getting Offline for Sim City into your hands as soon as possible." µ
Plus the cost of ambition as moonshots eat into the coffers
Spoiler alert: it's probably VeriSign
Did we say cuts off? We meant traps them inside their own home