Publisher EA this week finally released a patch for SimCity that allows the game to be played offline. The feature had been requested from gamers since the game's troubled launch.
SimCity players will now be greeted with a "Single-Player" option that can be chosen. Once selected, the option will allow players to boot up and play SimCity offline, no internet connection needed.
According to a blog post on the SimCity website, developer Maxis only began working on the offline fix only six and a half months ago. The post also indicates that SimCity code was written from the ground-up to rely on servers, demonstrating that the game's DRM had been planned from the outset of development. Much of the game's core was reportedly re-written to accomidate the new offline mode.
The launch of EA's SimCity just over one year ago was an unmitigated disaster. Even before the game's launch industry watchers had warned that the game's always-on DRM was antithetical to the series' long-standing game mechanics.
When the game launched a huge portion of the game's early purchasers were met with error messages and long queues when trying to log onto SimCity servers. Even after the initial server blitz was settled long-time SimCity players were upset to learn that the game could not be played in situations where an internet connection was not present.
In addition to the DRM fiasco the mechanics of the game itself were centered around building cities in cooperation with other players online. This led to some of the biggest complaints about the game such as the small maximum city sizes and the fact that players abandoning a game could ruin the experience for others still playing in a game region.
Unfortunately, this week's patch does nothing to correct the game's most glaring mechanical issues. According to the blog post, playing SimCity offline will be a very similar experience to playing it online. Cities will still need to be specialized to help grow other cities in each region, which are required for maintaining individual cities. However, the new offline mode will support a "save as" function, allowing players to experiment with different ways of developing their cities and regions in classic SimCity fashion.
Image via EA