Maxis on SimCity: EA "investing quite a bit" in making always-online work

The cheery response to the announcement of a new SimCity game was quickly tempered back in March by the announcement that it'll require a permanent online connection to work. Videogamer caught up with Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw to ask why SimCity won't end up mirroring Diablo 3's launch. Bradshaw says that EA are "investing quite a bit in making sure we're locked and loaded."

"If you've seen some of our recent launches they've been really quite flawless. Battlefield had huge amounts of players and stayed extremely stable, and think SWTOR was one of the most absolutely stable MMO launches," she adds.

Bradshaw wouldn't give exact details when quizzed on the consequences of dropping connection, mid-game, but she does say that Maxis "have a nice, graceful way of dealing with those kind of things so that you're not going to lose stuff. That's the beauty of it being asynchronous, is that we are able to be very graceful about how that online connection works and stuff.

"I think we're going to be in a really great place," she adds.

As for the reasons why a game about building your own city needs to be permanently connected to the web, Bradshaw says this: "What we're giving you is a lot of choice in terms of how you play. You can play connected with friends but you can also take an entire region on by yourself - you're not going to really witness the fact that this is anything keeping you from exploring the space or doing what you want in terms of how you play.

"I think that what we wanted to do was give SimCity a context. In the past Sim Cities were these kind of isolated little islands, they had their own closed economies. What we wanted to do was put you, in a sense, where you had kind of motivation and purpose and context."

A couple of months ago, producer Jason Haber told us that SimCity has been built to be multiplayer from the ground up, adding that the always-online requirement wasn't added in for DRM reasons.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.