News: SimCity Is Under New Management

SimCity (2013) Rear Box SLIDER
The possibilities are only limited by one’s ability to save the damn game.

SimCity Is Actually Fully Playable Offline

EA and Maxis’ mantra regarding their SimCity reboot has up to this point been centered around emphasizing the title’s intractable online functionality and services, while stressing that such contrivances have rendered playing offline all but impossible. Moreover, Maxis has gone on record saying that turning SimCity into an offline title would be a vast undertaking on their part. Would it then surprise anyone to discover that such claims were 100% poppycock?

Modders have this week been able to have SimCity up and running in offline mode [via a debug mode which still allows full communication with EA’s servers] – with one crucial exception. The game is still unable to save progress locally, after EA/Maxis punitively quarantined this functionality to their servers, so as to prevent people from functionally playing the title offline. The fact that every single component of the experience functions offline gives absolute lie to the claim that such measures were undertaken to incorporate certain online features into the title – this measure was intended as DRM, plain and simple, and it has certainly come at a tremendous cost to early adopters of the game, who were unable to play their $60 software for the majority of last week.

An anonymous EA insider has this week claimed that:

The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. 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 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 Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.

For her part, Maxis general manager, Lucy Bradshaw, responded to the past week’s revelations by blowing more smoke up butts:

The game we launched is only the beginning for us — it’s not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO. So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision. We did not focus on the ‘single city in isolation’ that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans — people who love the original SimCity — who want that. But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology.

So congratulations to Maxis on creating an “MMO” that is [with a little work] fully playable offline. And it is also heartening to hear that Maxis’ game is catching up with “ever-improving technology“, as, at this rate, it will be playable any day now.

Kickstarter + Lachness Monster
Consumer? Try anthropomorphic money-sack.

Kickstarter Degrades Still Further

This week business as usual at Kickstarter has degraded still further, with the Kickstarter for a Veronica Mars movie [backed by Warner Brothers] being launched, and meeting its funding goal in record time [of course]. So what does this have to do with gaming? Well, everything as it turns out. This is not an isolated incident, but rather a further piece in a jigsaw which has been forming throughout 2013.

In February of this year Takedown: Red Sabre, a successfully funded Kickstarter, was picked up by commercial publisher, 505 Games. In the same month Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey took to Kickstarter with the promise of a continuation in a property wholly owned by Funcom, a commercial publisher. The game is being ostensibly developed by an independent studio – yet this studio is being headed by one of the main creative talents of Funcom, and they are working on a property that is wholly owned by Funcom, making the legitimacy of the project highly dubious.

Finally, at long last Warner Brothers, one of the big Hollywood publishing companies, has launched its own Kickstarter – signifying the first time that a multinational publisher has been willing to put its name to a project that is asking for consumer charity. Not only does Warner Brothers also publish video games [Lollipop Chainsaw], but more importantly their actions set a precedent that is sure to be keenly observed by video game publishers in general – and particularly the tone deaf ones such as EA. The way that these shameless villains operate is not by pulling off one audacious heist, but rather by chipping away at the ethical underpinnings of Kickstarter until their disgraceful racket is initially hardly remarkable, and subsequently common place. Step by step these slick criminals are making theft from imbeciles something that is held as common place, and thus acceptable.

Feminist-liberal meme: equality should be enforced
Logic: Feminist is not thy name.

God of Reconstructed Male Identity

This week feminism has once again reared its ugly and unshaven pits into the world of gaming, with the confected furor surrounding God of War: Ascension. The testosterone-charged game is [or was] host to a trophy titled ‘Bros before Hos‘, which is an exceedingly well-known term in the common parlance. It would seem that all this was too much for one game journalist, who was left with no other recourse but to scream out of his vagina the rallying cry of ‘misogyny‘!

The reviewer in question was the former host of Xplay, Adam Sessler, who described this banal sequence as “one of the most violent things I’ve ever seen in a video game“, and goes on to call it a “gut-punch of misogyny” which soured the rest of the experience for him. In essence the sequence entails the player being awarded the ‘Bros before Hos‘ trophy for evading an ambush which has been staged by one of the Furies. And thus a series which has been well known for its violence towards [and the expandability of] women, has now been issued a slap on the wrist for including an eminently common turn of phrase.

Rather than laughing off this rank foolishness, Sony Santa Monica has added their name to the list of publishers who have ceded ground to the insatiable tides of butt-hurt – yet they have done so in the most delightfully nonsensical way. The ‘Bros before Hos‘ trophy is being altered into the ‘Bros before Foes‘ trophy, which changes precisely nothing on account of players still needing to be familiar with the ‘bros before hoes‘ turn off phrase in order to have the trophy’s name make sense.

One of the most troubling things about white-knighting in game culture is that it tends to be carried out almost exclusively by narcissistic hypocrites, and as such is broached with no measure of perspective or even consistency. Faux feminists and their little morally superior pet issues are much like a dog with a bone, in that if they are thrown something to chew on, then they will ignore all else. Thus we have something which is no worse than anything else in the industry, yet here it is being discussed on account of some self-important fucktard having a problem with it.


  1. The revelation that SimCity is playable offline isn’t much of a revelation. It’s just another display of what a shitty fucking monstrosity EA has become, and the degree to which that shitty fucking monstrosity mentality has pervaded through all of its substudios.

    This is, after all, the reason why we say “Bioware no longer exists”. Once a company is swallowed whole, the idea that it goes on functioning like usual is situated not in rational belief but in the realms of purest lunacy. Maxis has been digested and made part of the EA agglomeration. They have been assimilated. Resistance, if there was any, was futile.

    I hope the SimCity debacle causes serious damage–measureable damage–to EA. I don’t think it will, but I wish, I greatly desire, I fervently hope that it will.

  2. Somebody should give Lucy Bradshaw a good square cunt punt for being little more than EA’s lying figurehead for Maxis. When D3 was released, it seemed that the news got better with each passing day, yet for SimCity everyday brings more revelations of incompetence.

    Staying on the subject of cunt punts, Adam Sessler deserves one as well. I watched the review, as well as the scene he threw a bitch fit over, and my question is “What the hell did he expect?” He whines that the trophy devolves the game into a frat-boy type of experience. Oh, I’m sorry, I missed the part where the God of War series was anything more than that. It must have been somewhere between ripping the eye out of a cyclops and impaling countless other creatures on spikes. I do admit that the trophy in question is a step in the wrong direction for the series, after all God of War 3 did not feature racy trophy titles instead opted for “Are You Horny to Win?” and “Rip One!” To top it all off, Mrs. Sessler took the trophy to be a gift for destroying the female Furies, when it is nothing more than a plotline trophy, and, when given the context of scene, suits it perfectly.

  3. So fratboys don’t deserve games now?

    I am confuse.

  4. @ Lusi: INCORRE–no but seriously,

    I think this always online thing has become the largest negative exposure that tactic has yet to receive and I’m glad for it. It got some time in the sun when D3 released, but a lot of other (good) things kept people from really getting too upset. This time, I think the heat has been more vigorously applied and I should hope it results in the same apprehensive response as on disc “DLC”. And it’s upsetting that this viewpoint will probably be seen as “optimistic”.

  5. I don’t know how much heat EA feels, given that a lot of people have bought a copy.

  6. For Diablo 3 I would guess. Same always online DRM, though a slightly less rocky start than Sim City.

  7. Also, the EA CEO stepping down looks like a really fun comparison to make, but I highly doubt there’s any true relation. If there was it’s not like they’d say but, as SN stated, this game sold well.

  8. I’ve been suspecting that if the launch hadn’t been so disastrous, we wouldn’t be so apprehensive about always online, even as a DRM. Diablo III is certainly an example of this, with the heat letting off just as soon as they fixed their server issues, though it also helps that DIII was clearly made with multiplayer functionality in mind whereas Sim City’s allegedly feels tacked-on.

  9. I was actually contemplating doing the Bros before hoes story on the last podcast episode, but decided that I didn’t have anything to say about it except, “this is stupid.” As soon as the guy says that it was one of the most violent things he’s ever seen in a game, I realized this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Anyway, excellent news post, Julian. You always find the best bad news out there. ^_^

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