SimCity offline mode arrives today

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.

Update 10 adds the new single-player mode, which includes the same region-sharing multiple cities as the online mode. Players can choose to specialize cities to produce certain resources and cooperate with other cities in the region—the key difference being that the player is personally responsible for all of those cities. Regions and cities will be saved locally, and there is no limit on the number of saves.

A single-player mode has been the community's most-wished-for feature since the online-only game launched disastrously last year. The launch was so bad that it immediately became a public relations debacle. Server errors locked players out of the game and the simulation was rocky for several weeks, prompting EA to offer players a free game . It was, by all accounts, a disastrous display.

Will a new offline mode be enough to revitalize the game's community? Possibly. It certainly isn't going to hurt anything, and it's great that Maxis and EA were able to deliver on this promise. That said, it would have done much more good if it had arrived a year ago. Check out the update details for a full list of new features and a soon-to-be-posted single-player FAQ.