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SimCity announced at EA Gamechangers event

Wednesday, 7th March 2012 02:05 GMT By Brenna Hillier

As heavily rumoured, Maxis announced a new, unnumbered SimCity at EA’s Gamechangers GDC event today. First official screens and trailer within.

“The rumours are true; Sim City is back,” Maxis senior vice president Lucy Bradshaw said. “We’re taking Sim City back to Maxis, and we’re bringing it to you on the PC in 2013.”

Origin has opened pre-orders for the simulation; no mention was made of a console release, and a new website has launched.

“We are adding curvy roads,” she noted as a humorous to for fans of the series, before launching into a more detailed explanation.

The new game will have “tactility” – roads are “carved” into landscapes, and a cloud of dust arises when buildings are plunked down. Maxis wants to make building a city “the most fun” experience.

“The buck stops at simulation,” Bradshaw said of Maxis, mentioning major updates to the simulation engine including economic details for individual Sims.

“Resources are finite,” she said, explaining that players will face questions which challenge people today, with individual Sims able to lose jobs and buy property, for example.

As well as increased simulation features, Maxis has built a new physics engine – perfect for natural disasters like blizzards.

There will be social features too; polluters will find themselves unpopular with friends when their emissions drift to connected towns. Global leaderboards will track resource use, cleanliness, pollution, and wealth, among other factors. All possible scenarios are “viable” Bradshaw noted; the game won’t insist players take an environmental or socially-minded route to succeed.

“We’re not trying to make the most complex SimCity. Our goal is to make the most playful SimCity yet,” Bradshaw said. As such, information regarding the city will not be buried in menus, but visible direcftly in the game’s graphics.

Bradshaw mentioned the “huge advances in the PC space” since Sim City 4 shipped ten years ago, with smartphones now boasting the computational power required to run the last core release in the series.

A trailer was shown, but it wasn’t clear if the graphics were in-engine or a cinematic; a city was shown lighting up as a power plant was slotted into place, which was super cool.

EA strongly messaged its collaboration with organisations working for global change, introducing filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, director of documentary global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The director said one of the biggest problems in effecting change against global warming is a massive psychological barrier that facts, reports and documentaries can’t always penetrate. Guggenheim described SimCity as “artistry”, enthusing over its graphics.

The filmmaker said a game “gets under your skin”, is something people want to do, and as such, has significant potential to change minds, adding that he stands “in awe” of game markers, and told a cute anecdote about a PlayStation product announce around ten years ago near a film set, in which a request to turn the volume down while filming was happening was met with a negative response. “This is Sony, and they make a lot more money than you do. You can wait till our party is finished,” he remembered.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone also made an appearance to discuss the creation of technology solutions which effect social change; he was followed by charity:water CEO and founder Scott Harrison with a similar message about crowdsourcing change.

“We’d like to thank the millions of fans who have helped make SimCity synonymous with the city-building genre. This is a franchise that means the world to us at Maxis and we’re happy to be bringing it back home where we are reimagining it for an entirely new generation of players,” Bradshaw said in a press release issued after the announce.

“Using our proprietary GlassBox Engine, SimCity for PC will equip players with the tools to play the most sophisticated simulation of its kind. We are dedicated to making sure the experience – no matter the platform – has the fun, flavor and playability that has been intrinsic to the franchise since its birth.”

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24 Comments

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  1. Moonwalker1982

    Yeah i’m watching it now, i decided to stay up for this. But this is not what i was expecting, i guess i was expecting some cool new reveals. None of that, except Sim City. Which is just not my game.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. monty12345

    I seriously doubt this will be any good since it will probably be tied to some origin bollocks, have 300 stupid iphone apps attached to it, and be free-to-play and having to pay 5 euro for the london eye or something this not what I want, and what I don’t think the rest of the fans of the series want either.

    I want this to be a good recreation of the atmosphere and greatness of simcity 2000 was, not a cutesy recreation like the new age of empires or something as sterile as cities XL

    I hope I am wrong though.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Fin

    @2

    Scumbag internet commenter:

    Complains that EA won’t release a true SimCity.
    Complains when EA releases a true SimCity.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Sini

    Lets see how much they will dumb down this series.
    Those concept shots do look delicious though..

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Fin

    @4

    I’m more interested to see how they’re going to make it too hardcore, even for the hardcore.

    Oh wait, none of us have any fucking idea because all we’ve seen is a cinematic trailer.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. The_Red

    And the trend of removing numbers from new games continues. We have Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, Twisted Metal and now SimCity. Why can’t they just live with the numbers system? What if one of these “reboots” gets a sequel?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. viralshag

    Well… I’m looking forward to it no matter how dumbed down or hardcore it is.

    Surprisingly, I will judge a game (which I’m already a fan of) when I play it.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OwnedWhenStoned

    #7

    Me too. I’ve been screaming for another SimCity for years, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt just now.

    I really really hope it isn’t as buggy as SimCity 4 rush Hour though.

    Spending hours building a paradise only to have it CTD and lose everything got a bit painful.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. GrimRita

    Hopefully this will be good. The original was fantastic. And, with any luck, it might up the game with Tropico and its developers to be more Sim like, instead of being very basic.

    I do hope and pray that EA arent tits and force origin to play it.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. viralshag

    @Grim, Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    “I do hope and pray that EA arent tits and force origin to play it.”

    You wish :P

    #10 2 years ago
  11. G1GAHURTZ

    Ooooh… I’m interested in an EA game other than FIFA.

    Something feels wrong.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. viralshag

    @11, So wrong it’s right?

    I was looking over my game library the other day and I can’t deny that EA games are probably my favourite.

    Yeah, I’ll say it, I love EA.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. G1GAHURTZ

    I have fourteen EA games in my collection, and I actually only like one of them, and the online part of one other.

    Mind you, they only just beat Ubisoft, because I have seven of their games, and I only like one of those…

    Actually, having said that, the game (TMNT) has practically no replay value, so maybe not.

    I have nine Activision games, and I like five.

    Seven Microsoft Game Studios games, and I like about three, possibly four, of them.

    I don’t like EA.

    More because of the staff than the games, these days…

    #13 2 years ago
  14. GrimRita

    @10 yeah I can hope. If they do, then its another no sale.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. viralshag

    @Giga, I have too many to count off the top of my head but going on what I have played in, say, the last three months five of my new purchases have been EA: TOR, Syndicate, SSX, Amalur and ME3.

    As much as I love the politics and news that surrounds the game industry I don’t really let it affect me when it comes to playing the actual game. Like, I think Origin is a piece of shit and EA customer service is total bollocks but when I play ME3 or Amalur, I can’t help but like it.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. lama

    im excited but whats with all this social stuff? is it going to be like anno where you have to be online to get the full experience? also please no origin!

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Noodlemanny

    I’m not sure if I’m exited or uninterested by this. I guess it depends on what stuff they announce for it. Maybe a link between The Sims and Simscity might be interesting.

    Also no origin? Like thats going happen.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    If it’s just gonna be Origin bait, I’m gonna pass.

    Which is pretty terrible. It’s SimCity, it belongs to the people!

    #18 2 years ago
  19. OwnedWhenStoned

    @17

    They tried that, it was terrible.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. lama

    here it is…exclusive on origin! i think i pass this one.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. xxJPRACERxx

    You can give all the excuses you want but people that skip games just because of Origin are really …

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Gheritt White

    Please don’t eff this up with silly DLC!

    #22 2 years ago
  23. lama

    @21 you vote with your wallet, that is the only thing they understand!

    #23 2 years ago
  24. DSB

    @21 … not fond of being forced to buy things a certain place just because the publisher can’t strike the same deal as everybody else. Right.

    #24 2 years ago