SimCity 5 – What it could have (and should) have been
I enjoy building miniature model cities on a computer and I especially enjoy the detail and charm of SimCity 5 (also known as Simcity 2013). (For the remainder of this post I will refer to the game as Simcity 5)
For me and many other SimCity fans, Simcity 5 had a lot going for it. Great looking graphics, cool animations, offline mode, and an overall attention to detail. However, Simcity 5 lacked (and still lacks) one major thing: A larger playing area (map) to build that sprawling city! Of course one could introduce a mod (bugs and all) into the game which sort-of allows for a larger map size to build on but that’s not quite the same as having a native game that already includes large maps.
Game Creators Say No To Fans
So why did Maxis refuse to create large map sizes in order to build large cities in its game? As far as I can tell they skirted around the issue a bit and didn’t specifically address map size but simply claimed larger cities would be difficult to play with on an older computer.
“We’ve put months of investigation into making larger city sizes, reworking the terrain maps, changing the routing algorithms of our agent-based system and altering the way that GlassBox processes the data in a larger space,” general manager Patrick Buechner explained.
“After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes. 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….”
Really? So that’s it? What about including options? How hard would it have been to create at least two different map sizes, some large and some small, or even customizable maps (even DLC) that the user could choose from? The reasoning behind Maxis’s decision to not allow larger cities doesn’t work for me. What is clear is that they didn’t really care it’s us, the consumer and user of the game. Now it’s 2017 where technology has grown so much that SimCity 5 with larger cities would run great on any gaming computer. Where’s the vision Maxis or EA? Anyone?
Sadly, we may never see another American based city builder game as charming as SimCity 5 but one that allows players to build larger cities. And yet, it needn’t be this way, when SimCity 5 was close, so very close to being that game already.
Image source is my own in-game Simcity 5 screenshot