Before, during and now after SimCity’s disastrous launch, EA representatives have insisted that an offline mode for the game is pretty much out of the question. It would, they have stated, be a significant undertaking, due to the amount of work that is being done server-side in the title.
But a Maxis developer, speaking anonymously to RockPaperShotgun (who say they have verified this source as legitimate) has suggested otherwise.
“The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing,” their man says. “They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything.”
“I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that [Lucy] Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed,” the source adds.
Perhaps most tantalising of all, this same source is clear on how easy it would be to patch in a “limited” single player mode: “It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.”
Fascinating stuff, and a direct contradiction of the PR line that EA has (so far) stuck to regarding the possibility of a single player mode, and the importance of the role played by external servers in the game’s design.
That’s not the only piece of digging that’s been done on the issue of SimCity today. Players dissatisfied with the way the game handles traffic and Sim AI have theorised that the system is currently somewhat broken. Meanwhile, others have been investigating curious issues with population density.