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Maxis mentioned this weekend that they were still working on an offline mode for city-building game SimCity. Today they revealed that this mode will be part of Update 10, the game's next patch.
"We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it’s as polished as possible before we release it," said Maxis Emeryville general manager Patrick Buechner. "So, until then… testing, testing and more testing. As one of the final steps, we’re putting Offline into the hands of some of our most hardcore players, the DevTesters. This group of volunteers is going to put Offline through its paces before we release it."
Since launch, SimCity has required players to be connected to EA's servers. While online, players can share regions with each other, trade raw materials on the Global Market, or track their accomplishments on global leaderboards. Even if you didn't want these features, you had to stay connected.
This online requirement resulted in a disastrous launch. SimCity's servers were overloaded by a flood of players and went down, preventing anyone from playing. When players asked that the online requirement be lifted, Maxis said that it wasn't possible. One of their engineers said they were wrong, though. A hacker proved his point a day later. It was awkward.
Maxis announced in October that they were considering an offline mode. They also detailed plans to add mod support, another feature on gamers' wishlists.
SimCitys single-player mode will allow you to play the game offline on your own. Your saved games will be saved on your computer so you won't need to log on at all. Presumably the cities and regions you saved online can be transferred to your machine as well. The multiplayer side of the game will be unaffected by these changes.
Buechner adds that the offline mode also helps out modders.
"They can now make modifications to the game and its components without compromising the integrity of the Online game. Modding is a big part of our studio’s legacy and we’re excited to see what you guys create."
Mod support for SimCity went live this weekend. You can read about the rules for mods here.
I'm sure players were hoping for an earlier fix to the online requirement. Still, I'm glad Maxis is correcting their mistake. It's more than some developers would do. Congratulations to the gamers who were pushing for this change throughout 2013.