Looks as though the impossible is now quite possible, as Patrick Buechner, General Manager of the Maxis Emeryville, studio reports that SimCity will soon be playable offline nearly one year after the game made its debut. Why the sudden change in heart? Modding may have had something to do with it.
"In Update 10, you can still play solo in Regions on your own, or in Multiplayer with people from around the world," he writes. "What's new is the Single Player Mode, which allows you to play the game Offline by yourself. And because your saved games in this mode are stored locally, you can save and load to your heart's content. Our team will be delivering a follow-up blog that will outline the full details in the near future so stay tuned."
One of the big beefs consumers had with SimCity when it launched on March 5, 2013 was that players needed an Internet connection to play. Yet the online servers were having technical issues such as network outages, difficulty in making a connection and problems saving progress. Maxis said that the game was designed to be played online, and that it would be "impossible" to play offline. Ten months later, the Single Player Mode shows up.
"So what does this mean for the Online game? All of the benefits of being connected will remain including access to Multiplayer, the Global Market and Leaderboards," he writes. "And all of your pre-existing saved cities and regions will still be accessible should you log-in to the Online game."
Maybe it was the new modding community that pushed Maxis over the offline edge, as he says that an offline mode should be great news for those itching to write mods.
"They can now make modifications to the game and its components without compromising the integrity of the Online game," he writes. "Modding is a big part of our studio's legacy and we're excited to see what you guys create. To get you started, we will be rolling out a series of tutorials from the studio that surfaces how we've created some of the content that you've seen so far in hopes of inspiring your creativity."
For those interested in modding SimCity, there's a list of rules located here that was posted on January 9, 2014.