This is something I stumbled on yesterday, but have not had time to talk about till now. According to an article on PC Gamer, the next update coming to SimCity is going to give the game an offline mode. As they read this, I’m sure there are a lot of gamers throwing their hands up in vindication as they see the proof that they were right and online only was nothing more then “shitty DRM from from a shitty company producing nothing but shit” and will then proceed to say they still won’t buy the game because “something something something EA sucks.”
But I personally find this to be a very immature attitude to take with games, which is why I have never been able to support the rage that followed the Mass Effect 3 ending… and in this case, I am not sure if this is a win for gamers or just a glob of shit-icing that morons will celebrate because “fuck you.”
Why do I say this? Well, because I remember when talk of a coming offline mode began, and it actually sounded really good. The idea at the time appeared to be that the player was going to gain additional software as part of the game to allow their PC to play the part of the server… in essence, they could host the game themselves! And that would be awesome because the game would hold it’s multiplayer design and STILL give us all the benefit of doing what we want with our friends! As I said in the review of the game (and the price has dropped as I would have looked for since writing, so I now have an easier time recommending it), this game was designed from the ground up to be multi-player. You and your friends are supposed to play this game together to build up the entire area.
But in this article there is a lot of talk about not just offline, but single player. Is that all we are getting? A mode to the game where you go off in your dank little man-cave and build tiny little cities by yourself because you didn’t want to share the experience with your friends? To show you a quote from Patrick Buechner of Maxis:
"What’s new is the Single Player Mode, which allows you to play the game Offline by yourself. And because your saved games in this mode are stored locally, you can save and load to your heart’s content."
I’m sorry, but considering this seems to be what they are calling offline mode now, this is putting up red flags for me. True this will give the game a lot more freedom to use mods as the story suggests as well, but what about people who want to play together with those mods? Will there be a way for gamers who have fun gaming together to let one of their machines do the job the server did before so they can share a game, mods included?
We will have to see if this idea still comes forward, but I have to admit, I am concerned. The opportunity to truly expand on what this game is would have to include local hosting of a multiplayer game to allow for friends to share the real crazy shit that will come down the line. If this is literally just making the game single player, then it means all it’s offering is the ability to mod, provided you play with even less player interaction as playing with strangers showed me. Congratulations.
UPDATE: Finally had a chance to look over the offirical SimCity site for more details, and it is confirmed. This is NOT local multiplayer hosting. This is a single player mode. Considering my experiences with this game previously, I simply can not see this mode being anything more then an absolute bore. Might be better when mods (inevitably) make individual cities bigger, but this was never a game where the gameplay can be fun for long without the players interacting. I can NOT believe this new mode will be any good.