Nine months after launching SimCity, Maxis has finally announced it's added the feature fans have asked for since even before launch: an offline mode. Maxis says it's in the "late phases" of development, and it'll arrive in the next update, finally allowing players to build cities alone, unconnected to the Internet.
"When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection," Maxis Emeryville general manager Patrick Buechner explained in Sunday's announcement. "We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it's as polished as possible before we release it. So, until then... testing, testing and more testing."
EA first announced that SimCity would be always-online back in March 2012, which was received in the way one would expect. After the March 2013 launch, EA said that an offline mode wouldn't be possible as "we sim the entire region on the server," later saying it was possible but "didn't fit with our vision." Unsurprisingly, modders hacked in a rudimentary offline mode within days, though without saves or region play. EA expressed interest in offline support in the months that followed, but has only just made it official.
Emeryville notes that offline mode will make life easier for modders, as SimCity's modding policy insists that mods "must not jeopardize the integrity of the gameplay or harm the experience of others." If no one else is around, no problems! The policy is still pretty restrictive, mind, and includes a curious clause which lets EA use, modify and distribute mods for whatever it wants without even giving the creator credit. Oh EA, you scamp you!