Exciting news for SimCity fans. German magazine GameStar (translation link below) has published an interview with Maxis about the next installment in SimCity series, including some droolworthy concept art shots!
Fans of city-planning have been waiting a long time. SimCity 4 (and expansion Rush Hour) was released way back in 2003, and was the last game involving the series’ original developer, Will Wright (who went on to develop The Sims and Spore)
In 2007, we saw SimCity Socities. This wasn’t developed by Maxis, and was a huge disappointment to many long-time fans of the series, removing much of the focus on the fundamentals of city-planning (including systems like building power and water networks, and even the ‘holy trinity’ of Residential, Commercial, and Industrial land-zoning) in favour of ‘Social Engineering’ concepts. Most fans moved straight back to SimCity 4 (which has a thriving mod scene), and waited.
Here is the concept art that we have seen so far! Note that none of these are in-game screenshots. Apparently, SimCity 5 has an all-new, 3D engine called “GlassBox” which will allow viewing the city from any hieght and any angle (a huge improvement over SC4’s fixed-perspectives), but it’s not yet developed enough for them to broadcast to the world.
Click on the screens to view the full-size versions.
What can we expect?
Here’s a short summary of some of the topics/features discussed:
- Freeform roads (yay!)
- A whole new 3D engine (aka GlassBox), with fully free-roaming camera
- Multiple online modes
- Global leaderboards and achievements
- Trade deals established between players online
- Upgradable buildings
- More fully developed individual citizens
It’s that last point that sounds extremely interesting to me. The German->English translation wasn’t perfect, but it seemed to suggest that the game would model the behavior of individual citizens in great detail: i.e. when you zone a new residential area, see the construction crew moving in to build a house. Then when it’s done, see a new family drive in and start unpacking. If an individual citizen loses his job (say you ‘accidently’ bulldoze his company), he could become homeless and live in the park as a begger. The population can interact with each other directly, too: a late-night trucker cruising through the streets (on his way to an industrial zone, maybe) will act as a deterrent to arsonists!
Well, according to the interview, the game is currently around 30% complete, and is scheduled for release some time in 2013. With any luck, we’ll be finding out more information, as well as an official announcement, at the upcoming Game Developer’s Conference on March 6th.
User cjdamon042 on Neogaf posted a full translation of the GameStar article. Original thread on Neogaf.