New mode promises room to experiment for modding community

Maxis preparing offline mode for SimCity

Maxis is exploring the prospect of an offline mode for SimCity, the always-online game which was plagued by connectivity issues at launch.

Following the release of the game in March, server issues caused frustration for players worldwide, stopping them from logging in to EA’s servers, disconnecting mid-game and losing saved data.

EA released patches to resolve the issue, and upgraded its server systems in the weeks following the release. But the fiasco even led SimCity creator Will Wright to call it “inexcusable”.

Now however, the studio has said it is developing an offline mode to give players more freedom with how they choose to play SimCity.

“Right now we have a team specifically focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode,” Patrick Buechner general manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio wrote on the SimCity blog page.

“I can’t make any promises on when we will have more information, but we know this is something that many of our players have been asking for. While the server connectivity issues are behind us, we would like to give our players the ability to play even if they choose not to connect. An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience.”

He also mentioned that a separate team is working on upcoming SimCity expansion, Cities of Tomorrow, and its production should not “divert attention away from enhancing the core game and finding a way to bring our game offline”.

Although the server issue saga appears to be behind Maxis, the spectre of SimCity’s launch may yet haunt it for some time.

Buechner took the opportunity to reiterate that Maxis hopes to provide a better experience for SimCity players in future.

“Our launch wasn’t what anyone on the team hoped for. We think about this every single day, but we’re proud of how far we’ve come over the past few months,” he added.

“Like you, I’m a SimCity fan and a passionate gamer. That passion for the original SimCity was one of the influences that led me to study Government in college and to work on Capitol Hill. But my love of gaming drove me from Washington DC to California to join Will Wright’s studio 17 years ago.

“SimCity is in my blood and if there’s one thing I know about Maxis is that it attracts a certain kind of game maker, those who love simulations and take personal joy in bringing these worlds to life. We’re all passionate about SimCity and we want to make it better.”

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