Maxis “Insider” Claims SimCity Could Work Fine Offline

SimCity’s launch has been something of a disaster, with the servers unable to cope with the sheer numbers of players wanting to – well, play. Things got worse before they got better, for sure. The issue was that the game needed to be constantly connected online, despite running as a single player game. This meant EA’s servers had to bear the grunt of the pressure.

Or did they? Today a Maxis (the developers) insider has claimed that the online connection isn’t strictly needed. “The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing,” the insider said, to RPS.


“They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise.”

Previously Maxis studio head Lucy Bradshaw told a couple of sites that the game “offloads a significant amount of the calculations to [their] servers” and that it would take “a significant amount of engineering work from [the] team to rewrite the game” for single player. Is that really the case, then, as this insider claims?

“It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless,” they added. Indeed, Kotaku ran tests that showed the game will happily chug along for 20 minutes or so before it even realises it’s not connected to the servers. So, sure, whilst the servers are handling all the multi-user connections (and presumably trying to stop cheaters) it is possible to play offline.




  1. I had no problem to get onto the west euro.pean server yesterday. Feel free to add me on Origin, so that we can build together.

    • How easy is it for someone to summon a Giant lizard?

      • Quite easy, just write something that sounds japanese and Godzilla appears within a minute.

  2. No surprise here, it just makes EA look like a bunch of dick heads, which is what they are.

    • Its weird. EA’s just doing the wrong things as they always do…

    • Funny thing is, Bradshaw belongs to Maxis, not EA and according to her the always on part of the game was their own idea and not forced upon them by EA.
      Don’t let that get in the way of your rage towards EA, though. We certainly wouldn’t want that…

      • EA could have said that they needed something to prevent piracy. Maxis come up with always online DRM. So it would be Maxis’ idea that EA did not force upon them.

      • That’s a simple guess. Fact is, they said it was their idea. We’ll have to take their word for it.

  3. so ea lied about how much work their servers actually do?

    wow, what a shocker. o_O
    unless it’s an mmo, i don’t buy the, “it’s only possible on our servers” line.

    when there’s a hack that allows the game to be run totally offline, and i expect there will be one sooner or later, it’ll be proven that ea were definitely lying.

    • Read my post above. She belongs to Maxis. If it’s a lie, Maxis is to blame.
      I certainly believe that what she says is bullshit but it’s not a reason to blame EA

  4. Teraflop.

  5. I swear every day recently EA’s reaction to this launch gets worse and worse. And now they lied about the one thing fans are angry about this game. I’m sort of seeing the justification on Polygons’ review score change (although I still think it’s weird as they’re not revising game scores after patches and updates on other games eg Diablo 3).

    • I think there would be a mass change in all recent video games if they did this. Most games released this gen need lots of patches to fix what should have been change during development.
      Either testing has been non existent externally or they have to launch in order to keep the share holders happy, thinking they can just patch when they like (cough BF3)

  6. I’m sure it would be possible for the game to run offline. What do you think happens when someone leaves their city in an open region? It “pauses” the city and maybe keeps some kind of heartbeat to the rest of the region alive (trades with other cities?).
    The same should be possible for an offline region. If it’s not easily patchable then just roll out a local server service that can emulate the small amount of regional computation that is required and redirect the traffic of the offline region to your local server.

  7. Presumably this game will be unplayable one day when EA turn the servers off? Thats my persisting worry with all the online reliance, I wonder when itll happen for this particular game. Oh, wait, it was already unplayable… On day one, hah! I’m here all week.

  8. Iv heard bad things about the AI too recently. Something about the sims going to the nearest job every day, so they always end up forming a massive que trying to get to the same place clogging all the roads up.

    • Yeah. I’ve read that too. Something like that should not be in the final code. Hopefully they will fix it.

    • That’s just bad planning. I haven’t encountered such a problem.

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