SimCity suffered the kind of rocky launch as any online game nowadays, but complaints went beyond server instability. Maxis has now decided to explore the possibility of an offline mode, but has put the kibosh on the idea of bigger cities.
In a post on the SimCity blog, Maxis Emeryville studio manager Patrick Buechner said they've created a team focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode. "I can't make any promises on when we will have more information, but we know this is something that many of our players have been asking for. While the server connectivity issues are behind us, we would like to give our players the ability to play even if they choose not to connect," he said.
"An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience." Maxis has already started to talk about user-generated content, and plan what might be realistic without harming multiplayer.
Another common request, though, simply isn't happening. "After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes," he said. "The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn't be able to load, much less play with bigger cities. We've tried a number of different approaches to bring performance into an acceptable range, but we just couldn’t achieve it within the confines of the engine. We've chosen to cease work on bigger city sizes and put that effort into continuing to evolve the core game and explore an offline mode. Some of the experiments we conducted to improve performance on bigger cities will be rolled into future updates to improve overall game performance."