Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of SimCity developer Maxis, took to EA's The Beat blog today to address continuing concerns about the game's always-connected nature and further explain the server-dependent design which she says is part of the developer's vision. "In many ways, we built an MMO," Bradshaw says.
"It didn't come down as an order from corporate and it isn't a clandestine strategy to control players," Bradshaw writes of SimCity's always-connected design. "It's fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity."
She says that Maxis' "innovative use of servers to move aspects of the simulation into the cloud" is implemented in several ways, including the handling of simulation state of regions, exchanging gifts between players, keeping track of social world features, modeling dynamic supply and demand and verifying the legitimacy of players' saved cities.
Bradshaw says SimCity as it was launched last week is "only the beginning for us," adding, "it's not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO."
"So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But we rejected that idea because it didn't fit with our vision," Bradshaw writes. "We did not focus on the 'single city in isolation' that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans — people who love the original SimCity — who want that. But we're also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality."
Bradshaw's latest update on SimCity comes after a rocky launch that saw players unable to reliably play the game during its launch week. In an interview with Polygon, Bradshaw said Maxis underestimated the number of servers required, which she said processed a "significant amount of the calculations" powering the game's simulation. In response to Maxis' assertion that it had "no intention" of developing an offline version of the game, a SimCity player showed a proof of concept video of a mod of the game that required little online connectivity to function.