SimCity (2013)


Key events

15th March 2013

SimCity review

FeatureComing home? The return to SimCity

A year on from from its disastrous launch, our reviewer heads back to see what's changed.

Jefferson is gone. The first city that I ever built in the new SimCity, the one I laboured over for so many hours and led through redesign after redesign, is now no more. SimCity told me that there were problems with my city and that it needed to try and repair it. I could've told it that a year ago.

Finally! SimCity offline mode confirmed

Finally! SimCity offline mode confirmed

"From me, and everyone at the studio, thank you again for staying with us."

SimCity will get an offline mode, Maxis has announced.

The announcement was made today just two months shy of the game's first birthday.

Players have long called for an offline mode. EA and Maxis were heavily criticised for the catastrophic launch of the game in March 2013. Upon release SimCity was unplayable for many as the always online game buckled under the weight of pressure applied to EA and Maxis' servers.

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SimCity expansion Cities of Tomorrow shown off in new trailer

SimCity expansion Cities of Tomorrow shown off in new trailer

Nuclear fusion! Drones! Drink recycled sewage!

SimCity developer Maxis has shown off a detailed look at its upcoming Cities of Tomorrow expansion, which will add a range of futuristic technology to the game.

Your key to unlocking its spoils is the Academy, a thinktank of scientists who will design everything from a nuclear fusion reactor to an advanced sewage treatment plant so your city can safely guzzle down once-polluted water.

The expansion's economy will be reliant on Omega, a rare and costly substance that you can process for huge reward. Doing so will create pollution which your Academy can clean up, but your city's inhabitants will be happier housed elsewhere, in towering skyscrapers where they can live out their whole lives.

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SimCity expansion Cities of Tomorrow announced

SimCity expansion Cities of Tomorrow announced

Future tech, but no offline mode.

Maxis has announced the first major expansion to SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow.

The expansion, due out on 15th November for PC and Mac, is set 50 years in the future and features new technologies, new urban planning techniques - but no offline mode.

Fans have called for an offline mode to the city simulation game since its troubled launch, but so far EA has kept the game online-only.

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Origin launches free 24-hour return on EA games

Origin launches free 24-hour return on EA games

Lessons learned after SimCity debacle?

EA's digital download service Origin will now offer customers a free 24-hour return policy on any of the publisher's games.

That time limit begins the moment you activate the game for the first time - up until a week after your purchase date or a week after the game's release day if you pre-ordered.

"If something doesn't work out - you aren't riveted by the storyline, or sucked in by the action, or even just if the game doesn't play well with your video card - we've got your back," EA spokesperson Thierry Nguyen wrote on the official Origin blog.

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EA makes SimCity Amusement Park expansion official

EA has announced the SimCity Amusement Park expansion that leaked earlier this month.

It's out on 28th May on Origin. EA is yet to announce the price.

The Amusement Park is a tourist attraction similar to casinos and landmarks, gameplay scripter Jason Halvorson explained. "Running a successful Amusement Park is almost a mini-game in itself."

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SimCity update 4.0 adds a new park and a new region - but doesn't increase the city size

SimCity update 4.0 launches today and it adds a host of new features and fixes - but it doesn't extend the city size or add an offline mode.

With the patch developer Maxis has added the SimCity Launch Park, which is a new park for "dedicated fans who were early adopters".

A new region, Edgewater Bay, is added. It includes seven city sites in a cluster around a bay with one great work site.

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As Will Wright, creator of the SimCity series, labels the launch of the new SimCity "inexcusable", Maxis details update 3 - but still no offline mode

Will Wright, the celebrated creator of the SimCity series, has labelled the recent launch of the latest SimCity game "inexcusable".

When the always-online SimCity came out earlier this year the flood of players crippled Maxis' servers, rendering it unplayable. After weeks of controversy and criticism over this so-called DRM strategy, publisher EA and developer Maxis offered gamers a free EA game by way of an apology.

Now, Wright, who created the first SimCity game over 20 years ago, has criticised the launch.

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SimCity: Maxis outlines future fixes, promises to address post update 2.0 bugs

Maxis has outlined the fixes it's working on for SimCity after the launch of the 2.0 update.

As reported by Eurogamer, a number of (often hilarious) bugs remain in the city-building game despite the release of the much-anticipated 2.0 patch.

Perhaps top of the list of complaints revolves around a mystery air pollution bug that sees cities covered in unexplained smog.

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SimCity goes offline tonight ahead of hotly anticipated update 2.0 patch

SimCity goes offline tonight ahead of the release of the hotly anticipated update 2.0 patch.

The update will be released at 8pm UK time, and the servers are expected to be offline for two hours beforehand.

Much is expected from the update, which aims to address bugs and implement improvements to the controversial city-building simulation game. It does not, however, implement an offline mode - perhaps the most-requested feature from the community.

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SimCity update 1.7 released, includes traffic congestion improvements

The much-anticipated traffic congestion update for SimCity has been released.

Update 1.7 tunes traffic congestion and fixes some of the game's heavily-criticised intersection traffic issues.

The update means emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks and ambulances, will drive in empty lanes to get around traffic at intersections. Additionally, emergency and delivery vehicles now have priority over regular traffic when leaving a garage.

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SimCity sells over one million copies in two weeks

SimCity sells over one million copies in two weeks

Origin sets new record with 1.3 million concurrent users.

Despite its troubled launch and lackluster review scores, Maxis's SimCity reboot still sold 1.1 million copies in its first two weeks, EA has announced.

According to the announcement, roughly 44 per cent of those sales were digital downloads over Origin. The city-building game's launch helped Origin set a new record of 1.3 million concurrent users.

EA further noted that Maxis has increased SimCity's server capacity by 400 per cent, optimised server response times by 40 times, and deployed further fixes to enhance the game's performance.

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SimCity review

SimCity review

Urban decay.

From the air, Jefferson is glorious. It's a carefully sculpted city, the lines of which I scored into the landscape many hours ago and from which a relief has sprung more spectacular than anything I could have imagined. Downtown stands tall, great sentinels of concrete and steel that stare out over the huddled, homely neighbourhoods towards the edge of town. One by one, their lights wink out and, with the setting of the sun, workers become residents, making their way to redbrick apartments, two story townhouses, or the static homes sat amongst the trees at the city limits. A park fills with children, the air with their laughter, and those skyscrapers become sundials as afternoon shadows creep from block to block. But look a little closer and you find much that is wrong.

On the ground, Jefferson is a mess. Crowds protest outside City Hall, complaining first about crime and later about a lack of clean water. The main road out of Jefferson haemorrhages traffic. The downtown clinic can't find the space to treat the sick. At first glance, it might appear that Jefferson has its struggles, but these issues require a little more investigation. We have to look deeper into the problems that plague its public.

There is almost no crime to complain about. The police precincts are packed with patrol cars, supplemented by advanced dispatch services and community outreach. While the clinic is oversubscribed, the hospital nearby has fifty beds free and almost never treats anyone. According to a utilities advisor, Jefferson has a substantial surplus of water and the option to import more from its neighbour, yet hundreds of buildings that are connected to the main report dry taps. The water table never refreshes because there is almost never any rain.

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Maxis insider claims SimCity servers aren't integral to the game's performance - report

While EA is claiming they “offload a significant amount of the calculations."

As many suffered through SimCity's often unplayable launch due to its absence of an offline mode, EA claimed that its servers were necessary to the game's performance, regardless of its social features. "We offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud," Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained to Polygon. "It wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team."

UK chart: Tomb Raider biggest launch of the year so far

UK chart: Tomb Raider biggest launch of the year so far

Doubles sales of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Tomb Raider is the UK's biggest launch of the year so far.

The reboot is in top spot, and, according to UK sales company Chart-Track, "comfortably" outsold 2013's previous best, Sega's Aliens: Colonial Marines, by more than double the week one sell-through.

In fact, this new Tomb Raider set a new record for the franchise in the UK. The previous best was Crystal Dynamics' first game in the series, Tomb Raider: Legend, which in 2006 sold around half what the new Tomb Raider sold.

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SimCity launch debacle: EA admits it was "dumb", says sorry with a free game

EA will give a free game to those affected by the catastrophic SimCity launch, it has announced.

In a blog post published late last night Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of the Maxis Label, admitted EA had been "dumb" to have allowed the servers to collapse under the weight of expectant players when the game launched in the US on Tuesday.

But she insisted the connectivity issues had improved as EA added more capacity to its servers, which power the controversial always-online city-building simulation.

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SimCity beta lets you play a one-hour slice of the game multiple times

The SimCity beta begins on 25th January, EA has announced.

It will run from that day to 28th January. EA said limited slots are still available and you can sign up at the official website. The application process ends at 2am UK time on 21st January.

"It is always an exciting moment to share a game that is still in development with its biggest fans prior to launch," said Lucy Bradshaw, boss of EA's Maxis label.

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SimCity release date set in stone

SimCity release date set in stone

EA building up to March launch.

EA's promising-looking SimCity reboot will hit UK shop shelves on 8th March, the publisher has revealed.

North American stores get the game on 5th March. It marks a small delay from the previously-announced February release window.

"Mayors! Mark your calendars, SimCity will be in stores March 5th in North America", EA revealed via the game's official Twitter. "Europe can start reticulating splines March 8th!"

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EA hopes to keep political ideology out of SimCity

It won't be "an exercise in propaganda", insists developer.

As anyone who's played a SimCity game can likely appreciate, it's a tough ask keeping political ideology and dogma out a gameplay framework founded on juggling geopolitics, social policy and taxation systems.

SimCity Preview: A Classic Returns

FeatureSimCity Preview: A Classic Returns

Things'll be great when you're down town…

I was never a particularly good mayor. I'd do my town planning with all the care and attention of council official who dearly wanted a buzzing metropolis, but presumably had something of a drink problem. Power-cuts, soaring crime, noisy protests, bits of roads that didn't actually go anywhere; things always seemed to fall apart. Often the only option was to put my poor urban conglomeration out of its misery, finished off with a quick dose of earthquake and/or alien invasion.

This is why, come next year's SimCity reboot, I'm going to be the worst neighbour you've ever had. In the new iteration players tend to their skyscrapers on vast shared maps, meaning that sod's law will have it that I'll be the Shelbyville to your Springfield.

People fed up with living in my urban hellhole will trundle in moving vans to your freshly minted residential areas. My vast cloud of pollution will hover above your pristine sidewalks just as much as it does mine. Your remarkable industriousness, meanwhile, might get commuters driving from my city to yours every morning - but you'll probably get one or two of my arsonists to balance things out.

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New SimCity 2013 details: system requirements, multiplayer, engine

New SimCity 2013 details: system requirements, multiplayer, engine

Build regions with friends "for the first time".

New SimCity details including system requirements have popped up like a Starbucks on EA Origin.

Among those details: multiplayer for up to 16 people.

"Build a region with friends for the first time!" Origin exclaimed. "Collaborate or compete in regional and global challenges and make decisions that impact the greater SimCity World."

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