EA has constantly been running around getting Maxis to say that SimCity cannot be altered to run in offline mode for single-player interaction, that the game was designed from the ground up for multiplayer. Well, John Walker of Rock, Paper, Shotgun managed to get an interview with an engineer at Maxis who wished to remain anonymous, and the engineer says SimCity can run offline with minimal effort from the design team.
According to the accounts of the engineer on Rock, Paper, Shotgun...
“The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. 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. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.”
Previously, Maxis had been adamant that an offline mode for single-player gameplay would not be possible.
Kotaku ran tests and found that the game can run offline for about 20 minutes before disconnection and further tests showed that there wasn't a lot of necessary data packets to keep players online. Instead, it appears that SimCity's always-on DRM is just that: DRM. A method for EA to continuously track whether a player is cheating, hacking or running an illegal copy, something that was outlined before when it was found out that Origin does track your PC activity.
Even though EA refuses an offline mode, which could open the game up for mods (and that could provide serious altercations with their plans for DLC), the anonymous engineer says that it's not that hard to implement...
“It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.”
So the real question is if gamers are willing to give up the online region activity attached to the game's always-on DRM to play the game in offline mode?