SimCity 5

A while back I wrote a nostalgic story about my love for all things SimCity and my sadness over the atrophied brand.  It seemed as though the franchise had ended and withered from neglect, overshadowed in Maxis’ eyes by their larger series, The Sims.  And though I’m pretty brand-loyal, I went out searching for alternatives.  I found Cities XL 2011, which seemed to be something quite similar and yet modern, but unfortunately the torrents wouldn’t install correctly.  Not to be deterred, I got the game legitimately, but was still plagued by instillation and load problems, and quickly gave up as other more pressing games came to my attention.  City building games fell off my radar for a few months until I heard about a little known game being released last November, going by the name of Anno 2070.  I was intrigued by the concept and so I downloaded the demo.  The game takes place, obviously, in 2070, when global warming has created quite noticeable effects.  The seas have risen, and you are tasked with city-building in real-time, choosing from either the green faction or the industrialist faction.  The graphics seemed cool and the concept sound, and so I was excited to jump right in.

After installation, I found that the load problems and other issues that had besieged me with past games were absent here.  This turned out to not be as much of a blessing as I anticipated, however, considering that I found the game dull, creatively limited, and most importantly,  boring.  I played it for maybe two hours in the hopes that it would get better, but it never did.  It took the worst parts of Age of Empires and SimCity 1, mixed them together sloppily, and vomited the results onto my harddrive, which I summarily uninstalled.  All the micromanaging I fell in love with in the Maxis franchises was absent in this game, and I once again sulked back into my chair, saddened by the now-assured death of the true city-building genre.  But then today I heard about something that caught my attention.

Apparently at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), currently underway in San Francisco, Maxis unveiled plans to release the next SimCity game in 2013.  I was stunned.  What I had just recently assumed was a dead genre was now coming back to life in a big way.  Mind you, I was checking the GDC news for info on upcoming Battlefield 3 DLC (which I’m excited to say I’ll write about tomorrow), I accidental stumbled upon this gem.  They’ve even released a trailer, which I’ve embedded below.  Please note that the video itself says that it may not reflect actual gameplay, and they are probably in the extremely early development stages.

Now, I’m clearly getting my info from news sources, so I don’t have anything to add that they haven’t already covered, and I’ll link to those primary sources at the end.  What I will tell you is that I am extremely excited to have a new SimCity game in my life.  From what I’ve read, we will be seeing the introduction of resources, which will add another wrinkle into city planning, along with a social, online component (where your cities can affect and trade with your friends’ neighboring cities), and the long awaited curvy roads.  It has been eight long years since we’ve seen a SimCity game, and I hold out high hopes that Maxis can deliver.  They’ve tried and failed dumbing down their games before (SimCity Societies?) and have clearly indicated that they’ve listened to their fans, so I anticipate something good.  From what I’ve seen, the overwhelming consensus out there is that people want more micromanagement, not less.  Not to mention that when confronted with a comparisson to Zynga’s Cityville, Maxis responded in a great way.  Zynga, of course, the cancer of video game companies, created some bastardized “version” of SimCity for drunk housewives and illiterate convicts.  When asked to compare the two, Maxis responded that they’ve created a new engine for their flagship franchise called GlassBox and that “We invented the genre, and it’s so far ahead of any city builder game I’ve ever seen.”  Exactly.  And if this game is anything like the previous installments, I shall begin saving for rehab now, for the inevitable addiction that will arise.

More on the Battlefield 3 DLC rumors tomorrow, and for more info on the new SimCity, please check out:




8 Comments to “SimCity 5”

  1. Wow, that looks like a really amazing development in the game. My daughter is a big fan so I’m sure it will be on her wish list when it is released. Thanks for the heads up.

    • They are such fun games and I am extremely excited to see that another one will be released. I’m also glad to see the younger generations are interested in city-building games. I think they’re not only fun but educational.

    • The people who do this are iteher paid video game reviews or very popular free lance game reviewers.Considering you asking this i’m assuming you would need to be a free lance to get the games.You will need to draw attention to your self as a game reviewer, although this won’t be easy.I recommend posting game reviews were people will care to look or watch them.Jake.

  2. Ahhh, another time sink!!! I love the Sim City games.

    • Me too! They are the perfect thing to do while drinking beer, in my opinion.

    • Sounds to me like Spore’s Pollinated Content on steroids. At the core, what you’re tkialng about here is finding interesting (and valuable) real-world applications for the decisions made by a mass of gamers. In Spore, if I understand correctly, the creatures you make (decisions) can become the basis for NPC races that other Spore players come across in their explorations of space (real-world applications). Additionally, it could be argued that the value add that this pollinated content brings to Spore will lead to more sales and a happy EA perhaps not as noble as some of your examples, but moving in the right direction.An additional thought I had on this matter is in line with your major design challenge’ point. A big reason games like SimCity can be as accesible (and succesfull) as they are is that they take the complex (city planning) and streamline it to a much more managable level. Anything that isn’t fun’ about running a city is left out of the game (as it should be). My question, then, is can a designer take a subject matter rife with boring’ tasks/decisions, turn it into a game that focuses on fun (so that it will amass enough players so as to give value to the wisdom of the crowd) while still allowing the developers to collect viable and applicable data for the real world. Would you really feel comfortable proposing a new zoning restriction for LA (taking into consideration all of the political, financial, moral and ethical issues) based off of the group-think of even a million SimCity gamers? It seems to me like what they would be proposing (indirectly) would almost certainly be an idealist situation that could never work due to all the stuff that _needs_ to be taken into consideration but that _isn’t_ fun to play. I don’t mean to harp on one specific example of yours (especially since you asked us not to) but I simply mean to reinforce the point that the design challenge’ of this might be an understatement. Real world = hard & complex. Games = fun and simple’. Great read, though. Really got me thinking.

  3. Was an amazing game. I fllinay learnt, all those years ago, the trick was to start off your city with a circle track with 4 stops and bring in the materials from elsewhere. Then, slowly but eventually the city would start to grow.

  4. I’m pumped for this game. In fact, I’m so excited that when my motherboard crapped out on me over the weekend, I cheered myself up by saying the forced upgrade would get me ready for Sim City 5.

    I still play Sim City 4 regularly and love the modding community. They’re incredible. Check out Simtropolis some time.

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