EA to livestream "Game Changers" event next month.
EA has promised an announcement from Maxis next month - and sparked speculation that a brand new SimCity game is in the works.
EA will livestream a Game Developers Conference event on 6th March, and promised an announcement from the developer behind Spore, The Sims and the SimCity series. The stream begins at 2am UK time on 6th March.
After EA set its Game Changers countdown website live, EA PR Erik Reynolds tweeted: "MORE INFO! EA Maxis GDC announcement, huge event w/ special guests."
Back at the dawn of this bold new millennium, EA and Maxis had the idea of creating a game that would sit neatly in between their two globe-conquering franchises - the detail-obsessed SimCity and the close-up antics of The Sims. Simsville was to be the name, but the project was canned in 2001 when it became clear that more straight Sims spin-offs were what the public craved most. Six years later, and Simsville is back - at least in spirit.
Like its abandoned predecessor SimCity Societies zooms up from The Sims and down from SimCity, in the hope of finding some nook or cranny of gameplay left untapped by those twin leviathans of PC gaming. In doing so, it has raised the ire of fans, who have screamed bloody murder at the notion of a SimCity game without zoning and micromanagement, but most of all at the sheer horror of a SimCity game produced by someone other than Maxis. Caesar IV developer Tilted Mill has been called to bat this time out and while the kneejerk fears of the hardcore SimCity crowd haven't been particularly constructive, they've turned out to be fairly accurate. Societies is a muddle of ideas, tied to a rather lumpy city building engine.
There's not much point comparing it directly to SimCity games of the past, since it's almost completely different in style and tone. SimCity 4 may have grown terrifying and bloated for the average player, but Societies simplifies things to an often depressing degree. Rather than designating zones for industrial, commercial and residential use, you now place individual buildings. This is the biggest change, and it fundamentally alters what SimCity is about. In place of the pragmatic red, yellow and blue zones of old, we now have six ephemeral "social energies" - productivity, prosperity, authority, creativity, spirituality and knowledge. Every building either produces, or consumes, one or more of these energies. So, for instance, a museum for children creates knowledge but consumes creativity.