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Maxis Software

SimCity photo
SimCity

SimCity feedback led to an offline The Sims 4


EA is 'making changes to the business practices that gamers clearly donít like'
Jul 24
// Jordan Devore
The disastrous launch of SimCity is over and done with. Emerging from the wreckage with two million sales and counting, Electronic Arts is considering allowing the game to be played offline like many of us originally wanted. ...
SimCity photo
SimCity

Developers leave Maxis to form new sim-focused studio


Jellygrade is a fun name
Jul 16
// Jordan Devore
A few notable developers who worked on SimCity have left Maxis Software to form a studio of their own with the intent to continue making simulation games. The studio, Jellgrade, has been formed by creative/art director Ocean ...
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EA considers previously impossible offline SimCity


Survey asks if customers would like it (no sh*t)
Jul 05
// Jim Sterling
According to a customer survey being sent to SimCity players and posted on Reddit, Electronic Arts is thinking about adding an offline mode to the recently released game -- a mode EA said couldn't be done because of reasons. ...
Darkspore DRM debacle photo
Darkspore DRM debacle

Server bugs make Darkspore unplayable, still up on Origin


DRM strikes again
Jul 01
// Steven Hansen
[UPDATE:] EA responded to a Kotaku inquiry about Darkspore thusly: Maxis continues to support Darkspore and its servers. We recently resolved a problem where players were having issues connecting to the game. The post in q...
SimCity Mac photo
SimCity Mac

Mac version of SimCity pushed back until August


Update 5 brings more bugfixes
Jun 06
// Joshua Derocher
Sad news Mac gamers: you'll have to wait another few months before you can get your hands on SimCity. The release has been pushed back until August, since Maxis has decided that it is "not ready for primetime yet." With the t...
Sims 3: Dragon Valley photo
Sims 3: Dragon Valley

The Sims 3: Dragon Valley lets you play with baby dragons


It's like The Sims Medieval, but not
Jun 03
// Joshua Derocher
The Sims 3: Dragon Valley is a new medieval-themed world available from The Sims 3 Store. A family has moved into town and they brought some baby dragons with them. There is a story between two quarreling families trying to ...
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Wolfenstein's New Order, EA Wars & Presidential Nad-Kicks


The Destructoid Show eats pizza and stays up late
May 07
// Max Scoville
Today's Destructoid Show is here to tell you all the worst news about video games. And also some good news, too, I guess. Wolfenstein: The New Order has been announced, and it has robots. Disney has handed over the Star Wars...
SimCity photo
SimCity

Maxis details SimCity's upcoming 3.0 patch


Looking to fix a majority of the road issues
May 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Maxis has revealed what SimCity players can expect out of the upcoming 3.0 patch. A majority of the update will focus on the road system, such as traffic, transit, vehicles, and so on. Air pollution, trading, and data layer i...
SimCity photo
SimCity

Will Wright: SimCity's server issues were 'inexcusable'


'I kind of did predict there'd be a big backlash about the DRM stuff.'
May 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Game Industry International caught up with legendary designer Will Wright who shared his thoughts on the train wreck of a launch SimCity suffered with all of the server issues players experienced when trying to play the game....
The Sims 4 photo
Yes, it's playable offline
In a short, rather bland announcement, Maxis has announced its next project: The Sims 4. It's due out on Windows and Mac next year, and that's about all we know at this time. I mean, it is The Sims -- not like folks need much...

SimCity photo
SimCity

SimCity's 2.0 update adds more bugs than it fixes


There's just too much poop everywhere
Apr 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The SimCity 2.0 patch was released this week and has fixed some of the issues people were experiencing. Unfortunately the patch has also spawned a ton of new issues, most of which you can learn about in this ever growing Red...

Review: The Sims 3: University Life

Apr 24 // Joshua Derocher
The Sims 3: University Life (Mac, PC [reviewed]Developer: EA MaxisPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: March 5, 2013 (NA) / March 8, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $39.99   Any Sim that is a young adult or older can decide to go to college, and if they decide to go they will be transported out of the game's main town into a separate town where the college exists. Once in the new college town area, Sims can either live in dorms, get their own apartment, or join a sorority or frat house. Living in close quarters with lots of other Sims can be a major pain, just like in real life, and now Sims can annoy their roommates to clean up after themselves. The actual classes and studying function almost identical to current jobs and schooling that Sims can do in the regular game. Once a Sim earns enough credits to get a degree, they will be able to start out in their chosen career with a higher salary. [embed]252210:48290:0[/embed] The most interesting addition is the introduction of social groups with the Jocks, Rebels, and Nerds. Jocks are sport-loving frat boys, Nerds are book lovers who enjoy reading comics, and Rebels are a weird hybrid of punk and hipster. Sims can gain popularity with these groups in order to make more friends and open up new career choices such as Sports Agent, Art Appraiser, or Video Game Developer.   There are a handful of new personality traits, my favorite being "Avante Garde" since it's basically the hipster trait. Now your Sims can accuse their friends of selling out, drink organic beverages, flirt with the local Barista, complain about the mainstream, or enthuse about an obscure band. I love The Sims franchise, and this is a fun expansion, but it doesn't feel like it's worth $40 to me. I would think about spending $20 on it, but the cost of The Sims 3 has just gotten way out of hand. EA is really pushing the boundaries of reality if they are expecting fans of the game to continue to buy every expansion that comes out, especially when the expansions mostly contain stuff from earlier versions of the game. University Life is decent on its own as an expansion, but when you stack it up against the other eight for The Sims 3 it really doesn't jump out as being that special. It's better than Seasons, but it's not game-changing. If anything, this just serves as a sign that the series is getting long in the tooth, and EA needs to think about releasing a complete edition to make all of this stuff more accessible to more players.
Sims 3: University Life photo
Care for a game of juice pong?
The Sims 3: University Life is expansion pack number nine for The Sims 3, and it's essentially a re-hash of the University expansion for The Sims 2. If you decided today you wanted to start playing The Sim...

SimShady photo
SimShady

Upcoming SimCity patch will address top requested fixes


Servers will be down during this April 22, 1 PM PST update
Apr 19
// Allistair Pinsof
On April 22, SimCity will continue its arduous trek to becoming a game worthy of its name. The Update 2.0 patch will address "a number of top-requested bug fixes and improvements," according to developer Maxis. Along with som...
SimCity photo
SimCity

SimCity + toothpaste = $$$$$$$$$$!???!?!?!


You have to buy real products to get the new DLC
Apr 17
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
SimCity's latest stunt sees a tie-in with Crest and Oral-B tooth products, where if you buy specially marked packages of toothpaste and stuff, you'll be given a code to the new Attractions Set downloadable content. So what's ...
SimCity photo
SimCity

SimCity: Cheetah speed returns, Mac release June 11


It's kind of like the game I bought, now.
Apr 10
// Allistair Pinsof
"Do you like to play with Cheetah Speed?" SimCity's Facebook asks. "No, I prefer not having basic functionality that keeps the game from being boring and painfully slow!" But for the rest of you, you may be happy to hear that...
N!$$AN RULES!!! photo
N!$$AN RULES!!!

Free Nissan Leaf content paves way for greener SimCity


In news that I swear didn't come on April 1
Apr 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Guys, EA heard you. Your complaints about SimCity have finally been answered! "Why is my city so polluted and gross?" "Why would someone build a coal plant between a school and hospital in downtown?" "Why must my sims live su...

EA: DRM is a failed, dead-end strategy

Mar 28 // Jim Sterling
Call me a cynic, but when I see games presented as online services -- especially when those services fail to serve us -- I see little more than DRM dressed in a shiny new suit. It strikes me as convenient that these "services" also serve the exact same purpose as DRM -- controlling how the end user behaves, shutting down if failing to meet requirements, and providing extra hassle for paying customers.  I find it hard to believe anything said about SimCity lately, given the general air of distrust EA Maxis' claims about the game's online demands have fostered.  If SimCity can do it, I expect to see a fair few other games calling themselves MMOs for little other reason than to get away with an always-online requirement. It seems to be quite a popular thing in the industry right now, to dress up old bullshit business tactics as new things. You'll notice how EA's been calling games with online passes special editions now, downplaying the fact it's gated off the online portion to let us know we can get maybe an extra weapon at the same time. Sheep's clothing at its best.  So yeah, games don't have DRM anymore. They're just special types of MMO! EA: "DRM is a failed dead-end strategy" [GI.biz]
EA: DRM a failed strategy photo
Games boss swears EA Maxis decided on the SimCity online stuff
Electronic Arts may have been one of the last big wielders of SecuROM, and SimCity's online woes reek of it, but EA Labels president Frank Gibeau claims to hate DRM. According to him, such anti-piracy measures have failed, an...

SimCity video photo
SimCity video

A SimCity highway that will make you soil yourself


Weeeeeeeeeeee!
Mar 27
// Fraser Brown
Given the limited space that EA Maxis expects prospective city managers to construct in, one might be forgiven for thinking that there's not much room for bizarre experimentation in SimCity. This is not quite true, however, ...
SimCity sales photo
SimCity sales

SimCity has sold over 1 million copies since launch


It's the best selling SimCity game of all time
Mar 18
// Joshua Derocher
According to Electronic Arts, SimCity has sold over 1.1 million copies, making it the fastest selling SimCity game to date. About half of those sales have been for the digital version of the game.  It's interesting that ...
SimCity photo
SimCity

EA's free games for SimCity players includes SimCity 4


Plus Dead Space 3, Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3 and more
Mar 18
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Electronic Arts is trying to make good for all their disastrous launch issues with SimCity by offering select PC games free to players. Starting today, players that have activated their copy of SimCity should receive an email...
SimCity photo
SimCity

Subset offline mode didn't fit Maxis' vision for SimCity


Developer responds to SimCity backlash
Mar 15
// Jordan Devore
After a rather eventful day of people tinkering with SimCity in order to play offline, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw has written a "straight answers" blog post addressing the game's always-on design. Those hoping for a ...

SimCity can be played offline, according to anyone but EA

Mar 14 // Jim Sterling
[embed]248656:47560:0[/embed] This discovery follows reports by Rock, Paper, Shotgun that an anonymous insider is claiming SimCity never needed to remain online, and can actually go offline at any moment. While Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw claims offline play would require "a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game," faceless informants cry foul.  "The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing," claims RPS' source. "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 Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless." It's suggested the server doesn't even react to your gameplay in real-time, and that it can take a few minutes for it to check your session for hacks or cheats. The bottom line is that, according to those who aren't in Electronic Arts' thrall, it wouldn't take much effort at all to get your an offline version of SimCity -- barring, of course, the game's regional features.  But of course, Electronic Arts made a bold stand on this issue, and is expected to pridefully stick to its guns. All the while, its resolute determination to keep players online will continue to confirm something I think was obvious -- the always-online requirement was only ever a business decision, not one made to enhance the gameplay. The end goal was to keep tabs on players at all times, and control their behavior beyond the point of sale, because EA is terrified of its own audience.  It's DRM in sheep's clothing, and the longer EA decides to keep SimCity online, the clearer that becomes.
SimCity online workaround photo
Evidence mounts that 'always-on' requirement is total bunkem
There is mounting evidence that, despite EA Maxis' claims to the contrary, SimCity is wholly capable of being played offline -- a capability that would have saved buyers a week of hassle and tons of creativity now lost to ser...

Maxis has 'no intention' of making SimCity offline

Mar 11 // Jim Sterling
"The good news is that tens of thousands of new players are streaming into the game every day and the confidence our fans have shown is truly humbling," she wrote. "I can’t begin to explain the way a development team feels when something you're proud of is threatened at launch. Our biggest fear was that people who love this franchise would be scared off by bad reviews about the connectivity issues. "But you put your faith in us. You bought the game with the understanding that we’d quickly fix the server issues. For that support -- that incredible commitment from our fans -- we are deeply grateful. As the general manager of Maxis, I want you to know that we cherish your faith in us, and the love you've shown for this franchise." All very touching stuff, but these grand displays of humility ring rather hollow for me when it was so obvious SimCity was going to be unplayable at launch. We all pretty much called it, and I refuse to believe anybody at Maxis or Electronic Arts would be so dense as to have not called it too. Once you cross a point where what you're doing is so obviously detrimental to a game launch, and you do it anyway, you waive the ability to craft a believable apology.  SimCity's bullshit wasn't a mistake. It was the result of a decision that had to have factored in the frustration of launch day buyers, and deemed that frustration an acceptable risk.
No offline SimCity photo
Claims the problems are 'almost behind us'
While SimCity's DRM-in-sheep's-clothing continues to cause playabilty issues, EA Maxis has declared its intent to keep the game tied to a server. The company will do "everything it can" to make your game playable, but that do...

SimCity freebie photo
SimCity freebie

EA to offer free PC game for SimCity players


So it's come to this
Mar 08
// Jordan Devore
After a disastrous launch week for SimCity, Maxis and Electronic Arts are going to offer a free PC game via download to players as an apology. "On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email ...
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Deadpool, Dead Space & Dead Tired Of SimCity's BS


The Destructoid Show got sent home from school today for cursing
Mar 08
// Max Scoville
Hey everybody! Here's today's Destructoid Show! I'm guessing you guys have heard about all the nonsense going on with SimCity, so if you're sick of it by this point, I apologize. There's a new trailer for Deadpool, which I'm ...
SimCity photo
SimCity

Petition demands the removal of DRM from SimCity


And all future games too
Mar 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
SimCity is broken. Players aren't able to connect to the servers, and without that connection you virtually cannot do anything with the city building game. Fans are rightly outraged, taking to various social media outlets ...
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EA: SimCity's broken because it's just too much fun!


Users blamed for wanting to play the game too much
Mar 08
// Jim Sterling
In what has to be the most incredible display of PR spin seen in a videogame crisis, an Electronic Arts spokesperson has claimed SimCity's notoriously awful DRM setbacks are a result of the game being just too gosh-darn enjoy...
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SimCity Metacritic user reviews are brutal brutal brutal!


'This is SimVillage'
Mar 08
// Jim Sterling
Big game releases these days are almost always going to be subject to some literary abuse via the outlet of Metacritic user reviews, especially when a major publisher like Electronic Arts is concerned. In the case of SimCity,...

Review: SimCity

Mar 08 // Joshua Derocher
SimCity (PC [reviewed], Mac)Developer: MaxisPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: March 5, 2013MSRP: $59.99 I really wanted to love this game, and my initial impressions were positive. I liked the way the screen looked, how detailed the city is, and how easy it is to access information. The graphics are modern and use hip things like tilt-shift and custom filters that make everything look like a photo from Instagram. The old full-screen graphs and charts have been replaced by easy to read overlays that match what you are currently doing. If you click on, for example, the police icon not only can you build new police stations, you can also see where your current stations are, how many crimes are committed in a day, and how many of those criminals you catch. Another good example is the road icon, which allows you to build or upgrade roads while letting you see what's currently going on with traffic. If you do feel the need to access more information, you can pick from around 20 different overlays that show stats ranging from hospital coverage, tourism income, property value, population density, to the location of natural resources like ore and oil. The biggest feature that has been talked about endlessly since SimCity was announced is the new road system, and yes the roads are cool. Power lines, sewage pipes, and water pipes have all been tied into roads, so now all you have to do is connect everything to a road and it works. It might seem like they are taking away control from the player, but I can't think of any reason why I would need to build a city and not give it all of these necessary things to function anyway. It makes building the city faster and easier, and I never felt like I was missing anything by not placing something like power lines manually. The roads can also be curved now, which is nice but it's not very efficient. The downside to the new road system is that zoning density is tied into what type of road you use. If you use little dirt roads, the building density is low. If you upgrade to a high-traffic avenue then you can expect skyscrapers and apartment buildings to grow near it. I found this to be annoying because if I had a traffic issue in an area that I wanted to be at a lower density, I was screwed. I had to choose between living with the traffic jams, or watching my suburban development turn into massive complexes. This is one instance where I wish I had more options and it's not game breaking, but it is annoying. My personal favorite feature is the way that everything has a sense of place and people actually exist. They really go to their jobs, they have to travel to school in order to become educated, and firetrucks need to drive to fires to put them out. You can watch as policemen chase down robbers, and if your city's traffic is a problem you can also watch as the robbers escape. SimCity has evolved past just graphs and numbers representing what's going on in your city, and it makes this really feel like a "next-gen" iteration of the series. Your hospital isn't just balancing out some impersonal number, it's treating sick people that you can see. Everything feels alive and connected, and it's fun to watch things happen. Individual buildings can be updated with small adjustments to make them more useful, which is a great way to make things better without only adding more buildings to your city. If crime is a problem you can add more police cars to the station, or add a prison expansion to increase the criminals you can detain. Schools can be expanded with new classrooms, casinos can add rooms to house more tourists, and public transportation can be upgraded by adding new buses to help reduce the wait. The game at its core is really good, almost great, but it's held back by some odd things that I still fail to understand. For starters, the map size is really small. I was able to fill it up after playing for only a few hours, and after that the only way to keep playing is to either start another city or increase the density until everything is a block of towers with traffic problems. I'm used to older SimCity games allowing me to create massive cityscapes, and this feels like a tiny fishbowl of a city. Server problems aside, this is the biggest problem with the game. After a few hours I was stuck and had nowhere to expand to. The reason behind the small map size could be technical, since I can understand if the way every citizen's life is actually simulated is very taxing on the system, but it could also be contributed to the fact that they want you to build up the region as well as the city. The second one seems more likely to me since everything else in the game tries to make you painfully aware of other cities and players.  A region is where your actual game is happening, and it can hold between three to fifteen cities, either controlled by you in a private session, with friends, or open to the public. Regions grow over time with buildings added to cities, such as headquarters for industry or education offices for the town hall. This unlocks better options for the city, and for the entire region. It's impossible to afford all of these buildings in one city, and they would probably take up half the map with their physical size. You have to play with more than one city, and that's rather annoying since only your active city is growing and fully functioning. It can take a long time to build up a few cities, and I would much rather create one mega-city than a handful of tiny cities anyway. Having to play in a region could be interesting, but it comes across as a cheap way to encourage multiplayer, or "enhanced online single-player," whatever that means. The concept is intriguing, but it doesn't really deliver in a strong enough way for me to be willing to sacrifice single-player or the ability to have one mega-city. In the open region I tried it soon became ruined by pollution and crime due to what other players were doing. One bad city can ruin everyone else's cities with its spread across the region, so I can't imagine ever looking to play with strangers online. I can only see myself playing with other people I know have a clear goal, how to play, and that we all can focus on cities that compliment each other. Good stuff can spread across the region, too. One city can volunteer fire trucks or police to other cities to help out, and it's even possible to create a giant trash town that is filled with giant dumps for everyone. It's an interesting idea, but it's somewhat flawed in the delivery. Since everything is happening on servers, and there are problems online you might lose trash coverage. I tried to see how well things worked across cities by trying to run two cities at once, and I found that it wasn't a reliable way to play the game. Things seemed to break. Workers failed to show up at their jobs in the city next door, water flow stopped at times, police didn't show up, and my city's education went downhill as they stopped getting on the bus to travel across the region. This could all be due to the server issues, or the game could actually be broken in this regard. Either way it's flawed. I felt like I should have been playing with other people, and it's difficult to play with one city alone. A single city is tiny and it can't do a lot. Eventually you run out of space and you can't upgrade any more without depending on resources coming from another city. Things like achievements, leader boards, and friend's lists are pushed to the foreground to try and convince me to play online. It seems like more of an issue to play alone than with others, and SimCity doesn't really need that. It could be cool, sure, but don't force it on me. I haven't come across anyone that wants this from the series, and the fact that the online portion of the game is broken makes it a complete nightmare. So many things felt out of my control and dependent on EA's servers, which is something that I could forgive if it actually worked the way it was supposed to. Sadly, it doesn't work very well at all. Over the past few days since launch, I've spent a good chunk of time trying to connect online. If I did manage to connect, the game would have issues interacting with the other cities in my region and sometimes I would lose entire cities due to things failing to be saved correctly. There isn't anything being saved locally on your computer, and their servers aren't up to the task of maintaining the load. I shouldn't have to deal with this to play in my own city alone. People are connecting the server issues to the similar bumpy ride that Diablo III experienced, but SimCity is definitely experiencing a much more terrible launch. If players waited for four hours they could connect to Diablo III, which is awful but at least you could play eventually. SimCity doesn't always have a login queue, so all you can do is exit and try relaunching the game again hoping that it will work. Even if you do manage to get online there is a good chance things will go wrong, and you might even lose your entire city due to a server crash. It's the worst launch I have ever experienced. Diablo III might have had a rough launch, but people had faith that Blizzard would be able to fix the server issues. I don't have that same faith in EA. Their current fix is disabling game features like achievements, leaderboards, and even removing the fastest game speed to try and alleviate the load on the servers. They are taking things away from us in order to fix their problem, and that's really unfortunate. I want to like this game, but there are a lot of things wrong with it. Maybe they'll fix the servers, and maybe people won't run into issues down the line. Maybe they'll make the maps bigger, and maybe they'll figure out a way to back up some key data onto your machine instead of on a broken server in space. The possibility is out there for this to be a really good game, but it's based on a lot of maybes. It's too many game breaking issues and too many problems. The constant DRM is an annoyance, but the real issue here is the fact that everything is happening online. SimCity has always been a single-player game, and now it's a fully online experience. Nothing is saved locally and when I lose my save game due to online issues it makes me cranky. I was desperately trying to get time in playing this week, not just because I am reviewing it, but also because it seemed like fun. I love games like this. All the time I spent playing on Tuesday was erased because of server issues. After trying to connect for hours this morning, I was shocked to find that my most recent saves were gone, and over six hours of playtime was wiped away. There is some promise for this to be a good game, but promise alone isn't enough. Even if they do manage to get their servers back online and functioning, I still know that if something goes wrong on their end I will lose all of my saved games. My cities are at the mercy of EA's servers and my Internet connection, and while there are some nice things to be found in SimCity, the need to always be online and feeling forced to play with other people ruins the experience.  I wanted to like this game, I really did. At first I started to enjoy it, but soon all I found was frustration. I can't recommend this game to anyone, and I don't want to play it anymore myself because I am afraid of seeing all my efforts lost due to server issues. It's a decent game if it worked right, but the online dependency, forced multiplayer, and DRM ruin it. 
SimCity review photo
The splines aren't reticulating
I love the SimCity series. I played the first one for countless hours growing up, and my younger years were filled with endless play sessions of SimCity 2000 and 3000. I wanted to like the latest SimCity. The visual style loo...







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