Oh SimCity. How I loved played you so much as a child. It’s good to see you back and well.
While the SimCity franchise has been alive and kicking on various other platforms, we haven’t seen a proper release of the franchise since SimCity 4. That was back in 2004. Nine long years ago. So what does Maxis, now without Will Wright, have in store for us? Turns out, a lot.
The first thing that stands out in the latest form of SimCity is the game’s adorable graphics. They’re bright, vibrant, and colorful, something we’d expect from the franchise. The visuals take advantage of an engine known as GlassBox, which does some pretty nifty things. This isn’t a game that’s based on numbers anymore, and instead things are taking more of a realistic approach. In order for someone to move into a house, they have to actually move there. In the past, the data would precede an animation. But here, the animation precedes the data. Let me further explain: let’s say you have a truck delivering goods to a construction site, but that truck, for whatever reason, doesn’t make it to its final destination. Well, I’ve got some bad news for you: those goods won’t be making it to said site.
But that’s not we’ll be looking forward to in SimCity. Maxis was eager to show off the game’s social aspects, emphasizing the communities we’ll be making as we play in friends. In a move that further departs from the standard affair in the franchise, our city won’t be on an isolate island, but instead with access to cities our friends are making. Further emphasizing communities, each city has the ability to specialize a particular trade, whether it’s travel, industry, or residential, helping to make an overarching community instead of just your own personal isolated city. You and your friends are able to work together to perform various tasks, such as building an airport, something that was on display during the demo we saw.
But you better hope your friends are taking care of their cities, as if neighboring cities are high in crime, there’s a chance that might spill over a little close to home. During the demo, we saw an excellent example of just how realistic your city experience can be: areas in high crime are filled with graffiti and less traveled. Furthermore, we saw a car leave a major industrial city, one also filled with smoke and was unpleasant to look at, and head towards a more residential city. Said car unloaded next to a bank. Then proceeded to rob said bank. Cops then arrived at said bank and a shootout occurred. Way cool.
Between the more realistic experiences we’re going to be getting, as well as curvy roads, allowing us to be more creative with our city design, there’s a lot to look forward to with the latest SimCity. February 2013 is a long way away, but provided we’re all still here after the Mayan calendar ends, the wait looks to be well worth it.