Sim City, oh how I’ve missed you.
Sure we’ve had some pretenders trying to fill the city building void since 2003’s Sim City 4. We’ve had the the fun to play, but hellishly unoptimised Cities 2011/2012 and then there was EA’s own awful Sim City/The Sims hybrid Sim City Societies.
In 2013 the king of city builders returns with the simply monikered SimCity.
I had a go on SimCity at the 2012 EA Asia Pacific Showcase at the end of last year. Over all the games they were showing off (a portfolio that included Crysis 3) it was SimCity that gave me that “I want it now” feeling.
I’m actually a qualified civil engineer, so the desire to build infrastructure is hard-coded in my DNA. Previous interations of Sim City have allowed me to release my creativity with some stellar and not so steller results. I still play Sim City 4 from time to time, but it looks tired compared to modern games.
SimCity looks the business, utilising a camera that mimics a special photography technique called tilt-shift. Photographers using a short focal-length can, by taking a photograph from an elevated position, make the real world look like a model. And that is exactly want EA Games have done with SimCity. The world inside your computer looks like a tiny model populated by those every-present sims. A living, breathing and working city for you to toy with.
I played the game for an hour, doing the tutorial level a couple of times. It was hardly long enough to gauge the likely depth of the final product, but it shows promise; as long as they don’t pander too much to the Gen Y attention deficit brigade, in which case SimCity could be to city builders what X Factor is to the music industry.
But, from what I’ve seen of the game it looks like it is going to deliver and from 26 January all PC owners have the chance to try the game out ahead of its 7th March release in Australia. Head over to www.simcity.com/beta before January 21 to sign up to the SimCity beta!
Here’s what EA has to say about it all and check out the SimCity introduction video at the bottom of the page:
CALLING ALL BETA APPLICANTS! SIMCITY BETA REGISTRATION ENDS JANUARY 21! BETA STARTS JANUARY 26!
PC Fans Get a Chance to Play SimCity with Its Ground-Breaking Simulation Engine GlassBox in Advance of Its March 7 Launch
SYDNEY, Australia. – Jan. 18, 2013 – The day that Mayors have been clamoring for is almost here – Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) today announced that the SimCity™ beta will run from January 26 – January 28. Those who previously signed up are already in consideration for access to the beta, limited slots are still available for late applicants. Eager fans who want to get an advance look at SimCity have a limited time to sign up at www.simcity.com/beta before the application process ends at 1pm (EAT), on January 21*. Developed by Maxis, SimCity will be available March 7 in Australia and March 8 in New Zealand and is available for pre-order right now.
“It is always an exciting moment to share a game that is still in development with its biggest fans prior to launch,” said Lucy Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA’s Maxis Label. “This beta will help the team improve the live service aspects of SimCity to ensure a smooth and user-friendly experience at launch. I want to thank everyone for signing up – we are excited to share one of our most beloved franchises with our fans.”
Running from 4am (EAT) on January 26 until 7pm (EAT) on January 28, the SimCity beta offers fans the chance to play a one hour slice of the game** and to deliver feedback that will help shape the final product. As a live service, SimCity will continue to provide updates that evolve the experience, delivering a dynamic platform that grows and expands over time. For more details about the beta head over to www.simcity.com/beta.
Developed by the renowned Maxis studio in Emeryville, SimCity delivers unprecedented depth of simulation with the new GlassBox Engine, where everything is simulated, up to 100,000 individual Sims in a city, to every Kilowatt of power pulsing through a region of cities. The model-like world and detail of the simulation make this the most responsive and personal SimCity ever. This is also the most expansive city management game yet where multi-city gameplay across regions delivers a larger playing field. Play a single city or up to 16 cities at once each with different specializations, it’s your choice. What kind of Mayor will you be?
Multiplayer is also a first for the series, which adds a new dimension to the game, as decisions impact both the city and the region, creating new ways to play by collaborating or competing to earn achievements and to top leaderboards. Whether you play by yourself, with your friends or the rest of the world, SimCity introduces an infinite world of possibilities.
**Beta players can play the one-hour slice of the game multiple times during the beta period.