City Builders

Tropico 5 releases on May 23, Kalypso plans "extensive" SteamOS version

Emanuel Maiberg at

Bribes, drug trafficking, manipulating the media, and politics. They’re all equally legitimate and useful governing tools in the banana-republic-themed Tropico games. Tropico 5 looks like it will be the most ambitious game in the series, and not just because it’s way prettier and has the highest number in its title. For the first time in the series, It’s adding multiple eras, with players taking El Presidente from the colonial 19th century, through to the future. We’ll find out if that’s a big enough addition to mix up the formula when it’s released on May 23.


SimCity offline mode arrives today

Ian Birnbaum at

After many months of hinting, promises, and—apparently—a substantial amount of work, the offline version of SimCity arrives today. In an update posted to the EA forums, a Maxis developer writes that the latest patch is almost entirely focused on bringing the world of SimCity offline.


Tropico 5 screenshots show the political circus, also the actual circus

Phil Savage at

Much like its predecessors, Tropico 5 is a good looking game. Its sumptuous, characterful depiction of island life is almost in direct contrast to the murky dealings of its corrupt and devious president. That'd be you, you wrong'un. At least while you engage in the shady business of domestic surveillance, international double-dealing, and economic embezzlement, you'll have some bright, sunny scenery to marvel at.


SimCity's upcoming offline mode the result of six and a half months of work, says Maxis

Phil Savage at

SimCity is gaining an offline mode. That's pretty good news, eh? It'll allow people without access to a stable internet connection to enjoy the game, give modders significantly more freedom in what they can edit and create, and let anti-social old me sulk off to my own private toybox of industrial mismanagement. In fact, there are so many positives, you'd almost wonder why Maxis didn't give SimCity the option to work offline at launch.

Two reasons, it was revealed at the time. The first: a conceptual attitude. "We rejected [a subset offline mode] because it didn't fit with our vision," said Lucy Bradshaw in March last year, back when she was the general manager of Maxis. The second reason was a technical one, as Bradshaw revealed in a more infamous quote. "It wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team," she said. So what's changed in the interim? According to a new post on the SimCity blog, the answer is a significant amount of engineering work.


SimCity offline mode announced, will be added in next update

Phil Savage at

In real life, you want your cities to have a strong internet pipe plugged into their veins. Anyone who lives in, or even occasionally visits, the arse-end of nowhere - or "the countryside", as it's officially called - will be aware of the frequent frustration of attempting to massage a game update into their computers just a few stray kilobytes at a time. For fictional cities, it can be less desirable - which is something Maxis found out when they released the online-only SimCity last year. But after denials, equivocation, and light teasers, they've finally confirmed that an offline singleplayer mode will be available with the release of the game's next update.


SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow launch trailer arrives as EA hit with "Shonky" award

Ian Birnbaum at

Cities of Tomorrow, the upcoming expansion for EA’s SimCity, will take players far into the future, where they have the opportunity to create a thriving utopian paradise or a grim, smog-filled hell-hole like that time Biff took over the world in Back to the Future II. Now EA has released the launch trailer for the expansion, right as the company's Australian division gets admonished for poor business practices.

Banished interview: player choice in an indie city builder sandbox game

Ian Birnbaum at

Banished, the medieval-ish city building game from indie developer Luke Hodorowicz, raised some eyebrows early this summer when it seemed to come out of nowhere. Tyler was suffering from SimCity fatigue at the time, and beautiful videos of small towns quietly living off the land cured what ailed him.