SimCity Societies Gains Structure

New details have been released on SimCity Societies, the controversial continuation of the SimCity franchise. With the series' reigns having been handed from long-time developer Maxis to fellow city builders Tilted Mill Entertainment (Caesar IV, Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile), Societies will feature a greater emphasis on social management than past SimCity titles, while still remaining an urban planner at heart.

To alleviate the fears of fans, who were more than apprehensive following announcement of the game's new direction, Electronic Arts has stated that the PC game will contain over 350 building types. However, in light of its plebeian focus, Societies will introduce a wholly new feature to the series. Each building can each be combined or connected to form new structures, which will produce or consume a resource dubbed "social energy." The social energy of a city will be determined by the manner in which players match particular building traits, such as industry, wealth, obedience, knowledge, devotion, or creativity.

Using these social energies, players will be able to theme their urban landscapes, with given examples ranging from artistic and haunted cities, to green or spiritual cities. The social energy of a given city can be used to turn it into an Orwellian police state, or a joyous paradise filled with gingerbread houses and ferris wheels. Architecture will be drawn from a variety of periods, including fantastical and futuristic designs. Some buildings will include click-on actions, enabling players to interact with their metropolises.

Rod Humble, head of the Sims Division studio, described his experience with the game: "Sometimes I build an aggressive police state where stragglers are dragged off to re-conditioning centers and emerge ready for work. Other times, I build a green community in the tropics, where the citizens grow their own food and have a small environmental footprint."

Electronic Arts also set a rough time frame for release, announcing that SimCity Societies is slated to hit stores in November of this year.