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SimCity 5 Passed Off From Maxis

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the fly-be-free-little-game dept.

Games 170

CVG is reporting that Maxis, makers of the venerable Sim City series, has passed development of Sim City 5 to another company. The new developer, Tilted Mill Entertainment, will be finishing the game. In a departure from the series, it is not going to be a realistic urban simulator. President & Director of Development Chris Beatrice responds to criticism of that choice: "...I do not want to mislead anyone: This SC is not a realistic urban simulation, which I understand, to many, represents the heart of what SC is. No one is blind to that. And if you're just completely turned off, even angered by the mere notion of any game called 'SimCity' that is not a detailed, realistic urban simulator, I absolutely understand that viewpoint, and absolutely respect it. I do want to say, though (with no insult intended to die hard SC fans) that we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this venerable series, are extremely proud of what we have put together, and make no apologies about what we have managed to create. And while our past experiences (including contributions from many of you) certainly inform all our ongoing efforts, this SC is its own unique creation."

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Strange? (5, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424151)

Isn't it somehow deceiving to take an established franchise, just increase the number counter and then completely change the very core of the franchise?

I thought normal decency at least demanded you use a naming convention like Sim City: XXX.

I love the Sim City series and hope that it won't get dragged in the mud now in the newest installment. Caesar IV wasn't a very good game but there's always hope that a developer can improve isn't there?

I got confused (0)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424185)

are they calling it Sim City 5 or not? It almost seems as they are not.

Perhaps City Simulator :)

RTFA (5, Informative)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424275)

They are not going to call it SimCity 5. They are currently searching for a new name BECAUSE it will be so unlike the other SimCity games. The name they are working for SimCity Societies. What the hell the game is going to be about if it isn't a quasi-realistic city simulator is beyond me, but it looks like they are not going to just notch the counter up one. Think Fallout Tactics instead of Fallout 3. Though, comparing anything to Fallout Tactics is probably not a good way to reassure a fan of the original game.

Re:RTFA (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424357)

I'm probably one of the few people that liked Fallout Tactics, although it had almost nothing to do with the previous games.

Re:RTFA (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424617)

i other words, a better headline would have been "New Game in Development, Somewhat Related to SimCity"

Re:RTFA (3, Informative)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424933)

It sounds like it could be a multi-city management simulator with leanings towards things like Sim Theme Park (or even, for that matter, Civilization) where you have to keep the townspeople happy. Instead of doing the "micro"-management, you do it on a more macro scale. You provide the town the proper resources and the right zonings to build the town.......

If it's not, I bet a game like that would appeal to the same crowd.

Layne

Re:RTFA (4, Informative)

paganizer (566360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425285)

I found another review, that includes a screenshot.
http://www.1up.com.nyud.net:8080/do/newsStory?cId= 3160086 [nyud.net]
I'm getting the impression that this is essentially going to be the game city life, with integration with the sims 2 game.
which actually doesn't sound like a bad game. City Life got boring fast, this might not.

Re:RTFA (5, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427621)

My vote is for Sim City: Crystalline Power World, with lots of anime-spiky-haired disaffected youths in all of the council seats, and a galaxy police starship floating overhead whenever the yakuza get too organized.

Re:Strange? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424411)

If you RTFA, you'll notice it is NOT being called SimCity 5, but "SimCity Societies" because since it is such a radical departure they did not want to increment the number by 1, but rather give it a completely different name.

Re:Strange? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424541)

XXX ? O_o I think I've been missing out on the simulators lately.

Seriously, though, as others have point out, they are changing the name. I've seen a lot of the slightly-renamed spinoffs lately and I don't view them with dis-favor. They are rarely as good as the originals, but they definitely entertain. Mario is a good example, with all the spinoffs from that... Including the major one, Super Mario Bros. (Mario Bros was before that, for those who have forgotten.)

Re:Strange? (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425985)

Caesar IV wasn't a very good game

Why did you think that? I really enjoyed Caesar IV. There were definitely some weak points (anything relating to the military, mainly) but the core city-building parts I thought were excellent.

Re:Strange? (3, Interesting)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426091)

My favorite game in the Caesar series is probably Caesar 2, could just be nostalgic memories of the joy I felt the first time my city didn't go bankrupt. Caesar IV just wasn't as fun as Caesar 3, this is 100% opinion though, not some kind of truth.

Although if you read the reviews Caesar IV wasn't greeted as anywhere close to a game of the year competitor. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/caesa r4?q=caesar%20IV#critics [metacritic.com]

Re:Strange? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426369)

Now if only Square would think of that. Maybe they wouldn't have to come up with utterly retarded names when they actually do produce a true sequel. Final Fantasy X-2?!

Re:Strange? (4, Funny)

Blob Pet (86206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427157)

Sim City: XXX = Sin City? ;-)

Re:Strange? (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427471)

They could just call it Sim City XI...

Fine by me (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424165)

Let's see... SimCity was amazing. SimCity 2000 was basically perfect. SimCity 3000 added more complication (especially garbage) and just didn't seem as well balance and put together as 2000. SimCity 4 was OK but dog slow on even the fastest of computers. Frankly, I'd be worried what Maxis would produce for SimCity 5.

We'll see what they do with it. I doubt I'll buy it. I still the think the game reached perfection with 2k. Heck, if I could buy a copy of SC2K for OS X I'd do it right now.

At least they are trying something new instead of just adding more things to manage (like the last two releases).

Re:Fine by me (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424657)

SimCity 2k and 2kSE are currently available for OS9 as abandonware at the macintosh garden.

http://mac.the-underdogs.info/ [the-underdogs.info]

Great if you have classic emulation installed or don't mind installing it.

Re:Fine by me (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424675)

My mac supports it, but I'm moving to an Intel mac this weekend. Since I'm going to end up installing Windows (for 3D games and such) I'll probably just put my old Windows 95 copy on there.

Re:Fine by me (4, Informative)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424739)

SC2k runs great in dosbox [sf.net] . and I've run the mac classic version under sheepshaver [beauchesne.info] without any major trouble (enabling sound makes it dog slow).

Re:Fine by me (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425035)

there is 32 bit windows ver of simcity 2000

Re:Fine by me (2, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424799)

We'll see what they do with it. I doubt I'll buy it. I still the think the game reached perfection with 2k. Heck, if I could buy a copy of SC2K for OS X I'd do it right now.

I've actually been thinking along the lines of what you wrote here. If there were OS X versions of SC2k and TTDLX (perhaps with some of the OpenTTD [openttd.org] improvements) I would buy them in a heartbeat. And if there were also modernized sets of artwork and other little things like that...

/Mikael

Re:Fine by me (1)

KingJ (992358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425829)

Thankfully, OpenTTD appears to work on OSX, have a look at their downloads page. In addition, OpenTTD is in my opinion far better than the original TTDLX.

Re:Fine by me (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426885)

Quite well, I might add.

Someone posted a link to OpenTTD on /. back in October, and I was hooked within about 5 minutes. It runs like a dream on a MBP 2.16/1GB/X1600.

Re:Fine by me (4, Informative)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427275)

I've had no problem with SC4 performance on my PC. It's an Athlon XP 3000+ (Barton) on an A7N8X Deluxe, 1GB DDR333, with Radeon 9600XT (8xAGP), running Win2k. It's not top of the line, but it was when SC4 came out.

The main problem with SC4 is that it's horribly unbalanced. You can't keep anyone happy without spending money that you can't recoup. Occasionally, your town will just stop growing. Period. The only way to get it growing again is to tear the holy living crap out of something, get everyone pissed off at you, then put it all back. This somehow elevates you to "awesome mayor" status, since Sims apparently have no long-term memory. The problem is, it also costs money that would've otherwise bought the hospital or police station that you actually need. So then your city starts growing again, but they're mildly pissed, and you're short on cash. Worst case (and unfortunately, also the most likely case), you'll have a population boom you can't afford. That spells imminent doom and decay for your city, and probably another growth stall. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Swinging the balance the other way is the "region" thing. You build a corner of a town with nothing but residential areas. Go to the town next to it and build nothing but industrial areas and power plants. Connect them with roads, and you get a happy, employed residential population with 0 pollution, and a polluted industrial area with 0 population to complain about it. Pump water in the residential area and pipe it to the industrial area and you can almost get a balanced cash flow in both areas (as well as clean water in a polluted area). Almost. The residential area will soon grow to unstable proportions, and the industrial area will soon be swimming in cash you can't transfer to the residential area that needs it. The water payments won't make it possible, either, so you're pretty much screwed at this point. I'd love SC4 if money didn't become such a limiting issue so soon.

And that's only made worse by the way city services shut down (teachers/doctors strike) when they're underfunded or overloaded. If you could just tell the citizens to make do with poor services, that'd be one thing. But if you try, the services shut down completely and everybody gets pissed. Yet another stupid balance issue.

Argh! I wish they'd just fix the old one. I'd even pay for a SimCity 4 v2.0 if they'd just fix it! Don't wow me with graphics or new gimmicks! Just make the already good game better! ARGH!!!

Not a real 'SimCity' (-1, Flamebait)

wiggles (30088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424167)

No Maxis? No Will Wright? Not SimCity. Maybe a gross childhood raping bastardization the likes of which make Jar-Jar Binks look like Lawrence Olivier, but not SimCity.

Re:Not a real 'SimCity' (4, Interesting)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425153)

Hey there, Sparky. Maybe if George Lucas had turned his "vision" over to someone with talent today as opposed to talent 30 years ago, we wouldn't have ended up with JJB and company.

great (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424177)

That's just dandy coz its a boring as shit game anyway.

all your game franchise are belong to us (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424179)

I wonder what that meeting was like...

PHB: "Let's take a successful game franchise and change the latest title to not include what the game is best known for, but retain the same name. That way, anyone that doesn't know will still go buy it, and we can market it to a new segment, provided that the old fans dont read the new marketing before they buy."

What are people thinking? This would be like Quake 5 being in 2-d.

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424251)

That would be like releasing an FPS Final Fantasy...
Or a turn based RPG for Quake.

Actually, with the gradual changes they are making for each FF release, I can see the former happening and no one noticing.

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (1)

Slynderdale (959851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424451)

Umm, they already did. Ever heard of Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirge_of_Cerberus [wikipedia.org]

Its basically a Final Fantasy game based on FF7 made into a shooter.

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424611)

And don't forget the Doom RPG [wikipedia.org] .

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424307)

I have a hard time imagining WHAT the game will be, if not a 'realistic urban simulation'... FPS? RPG? 'unrealistic urban simulation'?

I tend to think the last one has to be it... It's going to be a tycoon game, rather than a simulator.

I personally had more fun with the first SC than any of the others. SC2K was a close second, and the others were just too complex to be -fun- for me. I don't enjoy micro-managing every single water line. Taking the game back to the core, and simulating the fun stuff instead of -everything- is what I'd like to see.

I am -very- disappointed that Maxis thought they couldn't handle it, though... and that someone else could do it better. That or 'sell out' is the only way to look at it.

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (1)

Lord Lemur (993283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424749)

I think Maxis is a bit to engrosed in Spore.

I was thinking the same thing, a tycoon game. :(

Would be nice if they would have done Sim City 5 in house, and just made a decent AI that you could give specific management tasks, boundries, objectives, ect. That way you could micro-manage as much as you want with out being forced to playing a trash disposal simulator. I think a more organic building and zoning process would have been good too. "Your sims want comercial here not residential, damnit!" Better use the GoToHell-acopter and start rezoning.

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (1)

Liberaltarian (1030752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424939)

PURE CONJECTURE: Well the actual name of the game, "Sim City Societies," makes me think it will be less micro-managing a city, and more macro-managing a region, or a small country. That way you'd be able to fool around with bigger picture fiscal policies, trade, laws, environmental issues, etc.

They could also make this a mostly online multiplayer game, too, where various cities/regions can reach agreements as to barriers to trade, connecting highways & rail, etc. We shall see... we shall see at E3.

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425687)

Aye, I didn't RTFA and didn't know the name of it when I posted that.

Did you play that SC-clone City Life that had the 6 different colors for different classes of people, and you had to plan the city to have them get along? 'Societies' makes me think they are trying to add that concept to Sim City.

I suspect we are all just being hopeful and the game will stink, though. -sigh-

Re:all your game franchise are belong to us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425087)

More like GoldenEye:Rogue Agent

It doesn't have to be horrible, though (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425575)

Just using a franchise for free mindshare doesn't guarantee a dud or "like Quake 5 being in 2-d", though.

Take for example World Of Warcraft: it has nothing to do with the gameplay of Warcraft 1 to 3, and pretty much just uses the same setting and franchise name. Ended up the best MMO by a damn huge margin nevertheless.

Or, you know, take any Mechwarrior game as an example. They took a turn-based tactics game played on a hex-board, and made a real-time FPS out of it. Even the weapons, if you look at the numbers in MW games, have really nothing to do with implementing the Battletech weapons with the same name. Didn't really end up bad games, though, and MW1 is still on my list of the best games of all time.

So it _could_ still be a good game. 'Course, it could also be crap, but let's wait and see.

As to why would they want to do that... maybe because they've done SC to death already. The changes between SC1 and SC4 have been really incremental, and more often in the graphics department than really being a new game. And some were fairly controversial if they made it a better game, or if they change the gameplay that much.

So, basically, you've already bought the same game already. Several times.

If it goes by the same formula again, there's not much obvious stuff which can be added this time, or not without doing more harm than good. (E.g., turning it into a micromanagement nightmare.) I mean, seriously, other than bumping the graphics resolution up some more, what would _you_ add in SC5?

It's not like RPGs, where you can just change the story for the next one, but leave the mechanics the same if they worked well. Here the mechanics _are_ the whole game. It's just a game of placing buildings and applying some formulas to them. And they already had several games to get the buildings and formulas right already. Just tweaking some reltionship to be juuust right in the 5'th decimal... doesn't really a new game make.

So what I'm getting to is: they have a choice between (A) selling a clone of one of their previous games, or (B) trying something new. They went with option B. And, honestly, I'd rather give them some brownie points for even trying, rather than damn them in advance. Sure, it may still end up a bad game, who knows? But, seriously, buying a SC4 clone in higher res doesn't sound too tempting to me.

It doesn't have to be seperate, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19426335)

"If it goes by the same formula again, there's not much obvious stuff which can be added this time, or not without doing more harm than good. (E.g., turning it into a micromanagement nightmare.) I mean, seriously, other than bumping the graphics resolution up some more, what would _you_ add in SC5?"

Merging SC4 with Sims 2.

Done before (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426429)

It's been done before too. The first I know of was Tropico, which is just that: all those hundreds of people have friends, needs, a personality, political opinions, etc, and they go about their daily lives trying to satisfy those needs. There have been a few other such games since, too.

Re:It doesn't have to be horrible, though (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427015)

popular doesn't equal best. Its a common mistake to think that as a group people can really pick the "best".

Re:It doesn't have to be horrible, though (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427303)

Take for example World Of Warcraft: it has nothing to do with the gameplay of Warcraft 1 to 3, and pretty much just uses the same setting and franchise name.

That was my first thought, too. Another successful example, going back a bit further, would be the Heroes of Might and Magic series. The Might and Magic games were single-player RPGs. The Heroes... games were turn-based battle strategy games. (I wish I could remember what game inspired the mechanics of Heroes of MM. Castle something?) Totally different type of game, but the spinoff did well enough they made 5 games in that series alone. Of course, the RPGs kept going as well, until the disastrous MM9.

I suspect one of the main things that has people up in arms is the idea that this is being considered Sim City 5, rather than a spinoff.

Re:It doesn't have to be horrible, though (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427703)

True, HOMM was actually nice.

In other news... (3, Funny)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424233)

Apparently, Doom 4 will be a turn-based strategy game, and Fallout 3 will be a dating simulator. ..... SERIOUSLY, WTF?????

Re:In other news... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424427)

Apparently, Doom 4 will be a turn-based strategy game, and Fallout 3 will be a dating simulator. ..... SERIOUSLY, WTF?????

Certain aspects of Fallout 2 could be construed as a "dating simulator".

Re:In other news... (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425065)

I can see it now..but it would be kind of hard to get a highscore, given the temptation of either selling your SO into slavery or "accidentally" unloading your machine gun into his/her back. Whoopsie! Sorry, dear.

I wonder what kind of game it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424271)

Any takers on the pool? First Person Shooter. Dollhouse (aka The Sims.) Puzzle Genre?

What else did you really expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424285)

from that master of the worthless sequel, Electronic Arts?? Fittingly the captcha for this comment was RUINED, kind of like what EA did to the video game industry.

Well... (2, Interesting)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424313)

IMHO, Simcity 3000 was the high point of the series. Simcity 4 introduced a lot of pointless features (U-Drive-It, anyone?) and micromanagement- if school coverage misses even a single home, the game nags you about it continuously, and there's no way to turn this off. With that said, I'm not particularly excited about this upcoming game either. Simcity Societies seems to imply a greater focus on individual citizens. Isn't that what we had the Sims, the Sims 2, and countless Sims expansions for? I am a bit saddened by these developments, as they threaten to destroy one of the most important franchises in the history of PC gaming.

Re:Well... (2)

Blibblob (868226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425619)

I hope it is the cancelled SimsVille. When I saw the trailer to that so many years ago, I'm not sure there was another game I was hoping for as much. It's the cross between the Sims and SimCity that actually looked pretty decent. Then again though, it still shouldn't be released as SimCity 5.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427553)

U-Drive-It was part of the expansion pack.

SC4 had all kinds of good stuff that SC3 didn't have. Like Regions. Regions are the best idea to hit SimCity in ages. Also good are the technical limitations that came along with Regions, allowing you to create a pollutionless residential area right next to a smog-filled industrial area, yet have neither town complaining about pollution (no pollution in the residential town, no citizens to complain about it in the industrial town).

The micromanagement thing is horrible, though. Why should the mayor have to order fire trucks to the scene of a fire? The school bus coverage thing is child's play by comparison. It's just one more aspect to design your city around, set the setting, then forget. Worse is when schools shut down due to a teachers strike from underfunding. Worse than that is when the same happens because of overcrowding (this essentially un-does any bus coverage settings you made and/or designed your city around). It doesn't scale back the effectiveness of the school... no, it shuts down. That's just stupid.

If they'd just fix SC4's stupid bugs and logic faults (and the micromanagement issues), I'd buy an upgrade. Oh, and throw in seasonal graphics like the SNES version. And if there's time and budget to spare, upgrade the graphics and allow higher resolutions. Release it as SimCity 5. I'd buy it.

I Hate SimCity (1)

Gojaroo (987220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424317)

My stupid cities always eventually went bankrupt.

Re:I Hate SimCity (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424695)

My stupid cities always eventually went bankrupt.

That's just the realism of the game showing up... It's people building arcologies and walking hand in hand into the sunset that's not going to happen :P

Re:I Hate SimCity (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424735)

When they go bankrupt you connect roads, rails, pipe and anything else to the edge of the map, build a neighbour city and leech

Re:I Hate SimCity (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426671)

Yes, it was the cities that were stupid...

;-)

Re:I Hate SimCity (5, Funny)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427857)

My stupid cities always eventually went bankrupt.


Marion Barry [wikipedia.org] reads Slashdot? Who knew?

Just can't win with some people... (5, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424341)

Gaming is constantly being dogged by how unoriginal it is and how most major games are just slightly prettier rehashes of older ones, and how evrything these days is a formulaic sequel. So Maxis have changed that. They've actually decided to try something new with an established series, even using new developers to do so, and what do they get? "Waaah! It's not a REAL SimCity", "Maxis have ruined my childhood memories". Boo-fucking-hoo. They've tried something new. So what. Everything from Simcity 2000 has been basically the same game anyway, so if you're really that intent on playing the same old thing you've already got three games to choose from. For everyone with an open mind, well maybe they'll find something fresh and slightly original thanks to a developer going out and doing something different with an established franchise for a change. If it sucks and the new concept tanks then you be damn sure Simcity 6 will be back to the old formula again, so it's worth the risk isn't it?

Re:Just can't win with some people... (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424503)

Nobody's complaining that they're "trying something new". The complaint is that they are taking an established name (SimCity), and increasing the version number (4 -> 5), which would imply that it is substantially the same game with some improvements. But wait, it's not substantially the same game. It's a different game that they apparently feel that they need the built-up reputation of the name "SimCity" to get people to buy it.

Re:Just can't win with some people... (4, Informative)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424633)

Nobody's complaining that they're "trying something new". The complaint is that they are taking an established name (SimCity), and increasing the version number (4 -> 5), which would imply that it is substantially the same game with some improvements
From TFA:

According to an unamed EA exec, the reason behind the Societies name is that it's "completely different from SimCity 4, so they're trying to come up with something different than just calling it SimCity 5."
As you can see they're not just calling it "SimCity 5", they're going out of their way to give it a variation on the name, which is line with the variation on the theme (after all, it's still going to be essentially a community-building simulation of sorts). There's no evil conspiracy here.

Re:Just can't win with some people... (2, Insightful)

MvD_Moscow (738107) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425039)

If it's a community building game, why does it include the name Simcity? There is certain core aspect of the gamplay that makes any given simcity game a simcity game. EA are just leaching of Simcity's branding in order to make a mediocre game that is more accessible to the average gamer. If it's not a simcity game, don't call it simcity societies, call it "Urban Socities" or SimSociety. I wish EA never bought Maxis, before the purchase they where much more willing to make interesting new games. I still play SimTower from time to time, too bad nowadays all you see is "Simcity Lite" and Sims X + Expansion Packs. Though hopefully Spore will prove me wrong.

Though I guess that's the way everything is supposed to be, EA's approach is much more financially successful judging from the state Maxis was in before the purchase. Too bad that EA's approach leads to shitty spinoffs, cough C&C Generals cough.

I can't believe Will Wright let EA do this, Simcity was his masterpiece, his claim to fame. I guess he got bored of the city building thing and he prefers to work on Sims expansion packs nowadays.

Re:Just can't win with some people... (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427983)

Why does the game matter? Why is it a big deal if this game is called Simcity 5? Why is it a big deal that Final Fantasy 11 was an MMORPG? They're names, people. It doesn't matter AT ALL. Even if they were all named "Game 1034", "Game 1035", "Game 1036", etc, the games wouldn't be any less fun to play.

Re:Just can't win with some people... (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424535)

The point would be that franchises should stay mostly the same and you should innovate with new franchises. That way if the innovations fail it won't reflect poorly upon the franchise.

Most of the people that liked Game 1 will probably like Game 2 even if it's just a marginally improved Game 1 with better gfx. Some game play doesn't need to be innovated or improved, it's already good as it is. The problem arises when Game 2 has Worse gameplay then Game 1, sadly that seems to happen often.

Re:Just can't win with some people... (3, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424783)

The point would be that franchises should stay mostly the same and you should innovate with new franchises. That way if the innovations fail it won't reflect poorly upon the franchise.
I disagree. By your logic any existing franchise will only ever implement features that have been seen before in other games. In my opinion the worst thing that can ever happen to a game series is for it to become stale and unadventurous. After all, it's the innovation and originality that creates all good series' in the first place. To lose that quality out of fear of hurting the franchise is just crazy. If trying something new means that every once in a while a franchise gets a black mark on it's name, well that's fine by me. That's the cost of creating something great.

Sounds like that old sim village concept (5, Interesting)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424349)

This could actually be a cool game. Combine the best aspects of The Sims and Sim City and you could have a huge game. Things like building your city also effects your sim. Say you build a garbage dump next to your sims house. Then the house value goes down and your sim itself starts changing. You decide to nock down a school, your sims kids grades start going down because of class overcrowding. This can be a huge game, Basic city building with basic sim management but heavy interaction between the two. Open yourself up to a new idea and you will see the potential in this.

Re:Sounds like that old sim village concept (2, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424481)

Actually all that was in Sim City 4. It basically simulated the lives of every single little Sim in your city. You could even place up to five Sims for you to keep track of personally.

Re:Sounds like that old sim village concept (1)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424555)

NOt really there was alot more to simville. Also simcity 4 didnt have your sim change to how you built the city . Yes it would complain about no job and stuff but it wasnt full interaction. This would have a city full of them. Not just 5 people.

another example (1)

White Yeti (927387) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424743)

That also sounds like the PS2 game Metropolismania [wikipedia.org] , which is heavy on interacting with your citizens.

hmmm (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424361)

Judging by the state of the game industry, the new one will somehow be a WW2 FPS.

Re:hmmm (4, Funny)

lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425649)

I can see it now. Imagine a lifelike city full of sims that have their own constantly changing and evolving lives. Imagine that you are one of them, exploring the city, interacting with its people, making friends and enemies, having a job, maybe making a little romance. What is this city? Paris. Occupied by the Germans. And you are a brave member of the resistance. Can you take down the occupiers by night while keeping your business and home life in shape? Keep your bank books in the black while keeping your radio equipment and firearms well stocked and hidden? Explore this and other simulated occupied historical cities in Sim City 5, coming soon!

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425777)

Or even more likely, an MMO WW2 FPS. Sad times ahead!

no, no ... futuristic FPS. (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426447)

... as a sequel to RoboSport [mobygames.com] .

(of course, a FPS would completely screw up that game)

Now, if they could figure out how to make a FPS out of Marble Drop [mobygames.com] , I'd be scared.

Talk about disappointing (1)

SpelledBackwards (587772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424395)

Wow, the SimCity games are some of my most fondly remembered games. I played all of them to death except SC4 because I didn't like it at first. Eventually it grew on me. I remember greatly anticipating SC3k's release and rushing out to the store and buying it. Hell, it had some of the best music of any video game I've ever played. And now they think they can move away from "realistic urban simulator" and expect a die-hard fan like me to take them seriously? Well, the term is "die-hard", not "die-impossible"... and I think they just killed me.

Revival of Simsville, perhaps? (1)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424397)

Sometime around 2002 I think, Maxis had announced a game called Simsville, which was supposed to combine elements of Simcity with elements of the Sims. The game was canned, and we got Simcity 4 instead. Could this upcoming game be a revisiting of the Simsville concept, maybe?

Re:Revival of Simsville, perhaps? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426817)

Sometime around 2002 I think, Maxis had announced a game called Simsville, which was supposed to combine elements of Simcity with elements of the Sims. The game was canned, and we got Simcity 4 instead.

I think that morphed into Wii Sims, which has house building aspects, but is more like Animal Crossing.

You should see the building demos.

Then what is it?? (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424443)

This SC is not a realistic urban simulation, which I understand, to many, represents the heart of what SC is,

Huh!? Then what is it? I couldn't find anything on that in the story.
What genius PR is this -- to have the officials tell what it isn't, and not highlight what greatness it is.

First looks at the game in US Games for Windows mag show a fully 3D world, with a colourful environment and a Theme Park-style fairground bustling in the foreground.

OK, then I get an idea how it might look, but I still don't know what kind of game it is...
I checked Wikipedia too and it's supposedly integrating with The Sims, but IIRC, even SC 4 did that, so...?

"Simcity Societies" (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424445)

I'd like to point out that the game will be called "Simcity Societies", not "Simcity 5". Although I'd like to see a real sequel as much as anyone else, I don't think this naming scheme is very deceitful.

Theft and lies (2, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424527)

"...I do not want to mislead anyone: This SC is not a realistic urban simulation... this SC is its own unique creation."

So why the frak call it SimCity? If you want to make a non-urban-simulation game, come up with your own damn franchise, or at the very least steal a franchise that has something to do with your game. Call it "The Sims: Cities" if that's what you're going for, but don't steal an existing franchise that is based on urban simulation for your non-urban-simulation game.

Re:Theft and lies (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424681)

And in a stunning reversal, I've changed my mind. Commenters I just now saw have pointed out that this game will be the less-deceptively-named "SimCity: Societies" which seems fine, especially considering, as other commenters have pointed out this is quite likely an attempt to kick-start the creativity that has been so stagnant in the gaming industry for so long, and as such I probably should give it some benefit of the doubt.

But god damn that press release in the original article is so poorly spun.

Next time I will RTFC before I comment. Mea culpa.

Re:Theft and lies (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425331)

Not poorly at all. They probably want the die-hard SC fans to run around saying, Sim City 5 without the simulated cities, WTF? before making the realization you've just made and sheepishly deciding to give them a chance because of the misunderstanding.

SimCity 4 (1)

p_quarles (1094847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424613)

Just an FYI for those who didn't care for the latest game in the series --- once you install some of the mods from the fan sites it becomes a completely different game. More features, less need for micromanagement, and much more realistic commute times and job patterns. One of the best things about SC4 was the improvements implemented by the community. I'll be sorry to see that go.

A well needed reboot (2, Interesting)

dtolman (688781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424757)

The move away from pretend "realism", is only a good thing. Simcity 3 and 4 replaced all the charm of Simcity and Simcity 2000, and just stuffed them with larger sandboxes and more things to micromanage.

Lets hope this developer just brings back Simcity 2000, and spiffies up the buildings - definitely the best of the series - and the cities in that actually did feel real (spontaneously appearing churches, more rewards, more realistic disasters, and less repetitive buildings), as opposed to Simcity 3 and 4 - which were less than the sum of their parts

I want fulley custem roads in simcity 5 (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425077)

The road system in simcity 4 rush hour add on was ok but it was missing a lot things.

In other news... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425201)

Microsoft Flight Sim's new version will be a departure from a realistic depiction of aviation. It will now involve licensed cartoon characters, power-ups, and an edgy hip-hop soundtrack.

Well, shit! That might even work as a product but why call it Microsoft Flight Sim? Why not just call it Microsoft Flying Rap Cartoons and everyone will be happy?

Maxis already has a tradition with the sim games. Each sim game is completely unlike the other. SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, and then the Sims. All different. They could have called it SimTown and people would know off the bat that this isn't meant to be SimCity.

Re:In other news... (1)

lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425747)

Too late [wikipedia.org] . They can't just hijack such a much loved and praised franchise as SimTown! (Disclaimer: I have never seen or played SimTown.)

Re:In other news... (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427839)

In that case, maybe it could be a planetary conquest game called Invader Sim. Nobody will think there's a problem with a name like that, right? *beware the nickelodeon deathstar*

The only SimCity I need is right here: (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425657)

SimCity Classic [ea.com] . 'nuff said.

Simcity 4 - Transporation Simulator (1)

bigkahunafish (708759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425659)

I have used most of the Simcities as a sort of transportation simulator. I always liked to see how my road designs contained traffic. Simcity 2K was just terrible with roads. Simcity 3k was better, but had just lousy highways. Simcity 4 has more realistic roads/highways but still lacked the customization that I wanted. I want to build custom on-ramps. I want to create the lousy intersections that people deal with in real life. Alas....it seems they are taking this Simcity to a Sims level. I never did like the Sims; well, I did like building houses. Thats about it.

Eff SimCity (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425791)

Gimme fricken Spore already!

Spore! Spore! Spore! Spore! Spore!

Re:Eff SimCity (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426757)

Gimme fricken Spore already!

They delayed the product launch.

But Spore will be on the Wii, the Nintendo DS, as well as the PC.

No word on the Mac, but maybe I missed the announcement.

And noone said if they have a SimCity for the Wii ... think of how much fun it would be to be an Alien crushing a city ... oh, wait, that's another PS2 game, where you take their spinal cords and brains, never mind ...

All I want in SCX (3, Insightful)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425851)

A really good terrain editor with *fine* control.
The ability to create roads exactly the way I want. No more auto-rotating onramps.
A checkbox that gives me unlimited simoleans.
A way to specify what type of store/office/house gets built. I like to build cities/neigborhoods that look how I want them to. I don't care what the sims want.

None of this will affect the way anyone else plays the game, BTW. You could still let the game run itself like it always did.

Re:All I want in SCX (1)

amohat (88362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427485)

That's basically my beef with SimCity 4.

They went for ultra city simulation but:

a) I don't agree with their politics of how the city needs to evolve. They programmed the city to require that it start as a little farm town, heavy industry, financial center, etc.

But at each stage it has to suffer growing pains to get to the next with crime, pollution, terrible schools, etc.

In fact, they reject the utopian premise. They require a city to have ghettos and chronically underfunded schools and police and the like. Which leads me to:

b) I want to create my utopian city! Fine, inject your scurrilous agenda into the sim. But give me an arcade option. Like the driving games that will cut slack on all the too-realistic physics and just have fun careening around like a madman.

Yes, checkbox for unlimited money. Turn off all your advanced forced-poverty algorithms. Give me a simple formula to work with, like the previous versions, no incessant micromanaging required. Mark it as such, so competitions aren't skewed.

I want to play God, godammit, on my lunch break and not suffer the stress and indignities of an real-life mayor!

How could Maxis/EA miss this?!? No wonder version 4 tanked, my whole family have been SimCity nuts since day 1 and through the years but we completely reject v.4.

(ps: Please, if there is a god, don't integrate The Sims with SimCity in any way, shape, or form? Please?)

Open Source SimCity-alike? (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426081)

Is there an open source SimCity-alike game around?

One that is like the original SimCity even, with updated graphics for hi-res screens would be cool. I don't even need the isometric graphics of SC2000, although water and subways would be appreciated.

If not, who's with me in creating one? SDL? OpenGL (in 2D, allowing for smooth zoom ins and outs and effects)? Hell, it's probably easier to do 3D buildings and map textures than do the 2D artwork, but we could keep a GTA1 style perspective...

Re:Open Source SimCity-alike? (2, Informative)

p_quarles (1094847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426823)

There are two, actually: LinCity and LinCity NG (more graphically advanced). They both need work, so if you have skills, go at it.

Re:Open Source SimCity-alike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19427291)

Lincity and Lincity-NG, although YMMV as far as playability goes.

Re:Open Source SimCity-alike? (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427787)

I looked a while back (after discovering OpenTTD [openttd.org] ) and found nothing. I was hoping there was someone as enthusiastic about SC/2k/3/4 as the rather lively Transport Tycoon community.

Maxis no longer exists (4, Interesting)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426143)

In 2004, Maxis was fully absorbed into EA. So to say that SimCity is being passed from Maxis isn't completely correct.

I agree with others that the series has steadily declined since SC2k. Unnecessary complications, and performance issues in the case of SC4, turned the series into a mess. The SimTropolis.com community (basically the hardcore fans) use SimCity 4 as an art tool more than anything, crafting these beautifully detailed cities using custom content. But as an actual city SIMULATOR, SC4 collapses under its own weight; it's simply not fun to play. SC2k's strong point is that it can be as simple or complex as you want to make it, appealing to casual and hardcore players alike. However I fear that SC5 will be outright dumbed down.

Also note that there's a correlation between SimCity's quality and Will Wright's involvement with the series. He was hardly involved with SC4. And with Spore consuming most of his time, I doubt he'll have a hand in SC5.

My biggest concern is with Tilted Mill Entertainment - best known for the mediocre Caesar IV. Will they be good stewards to one of PC gaming's most venerable series? But to TM's credit, they are actively talking to the SimTropolis community and addressing concerns from the playerbase.

I view SimCity Societies (SC5's current name) like The Sims Life Stories: part of the overall "family" of SC games, but not a true and true sequel. EA and Co. says differently, but as a long-time fan I'm not convinced.

SC2K and forward (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426659)

I bear some of the blame for that. After hacking the encoded SimCity city files to figure out how the blocks worked (a core block surrounded by enabler blocks) in a double-byte hex scheme, I came up with functional ideas for solar, wind, hydro, and other power sources as well as new bridge and transportation types (they didn't implement ferries, sadly). And Will and his team implemented them.

I did base them on reality, of course.

Perhaps the addition of all this chrome overloaded the simplistic base model.

So, maybe a more simplistic method, more akin to Wii Sims, is what is needed for SimCity in the future.

Re:Maxis no longer exists (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427173)

Am I completely alone in loving the additions in SimCity 3?

Re:Maxis no longer exists (2)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427749)

No. I go so far as to actually like most of what SC4 had.

Tilted Mill (1)

PopeJM (956574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427211)

Tilted Mill made Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile which is a great city-building Ancient Egypt game, I'd suggest everyone who likes building ancient or cities in general to check that one out. It had nice little features like having families who were contiguous and you could see what occupations they held over time. They also did away with that whole Caesar/Pharaoh thing of needing to place streets juuuuust right to get the maximum efficiency out of your city so one would be more able to create interesting looking cities. Besides, I always thought that was an unnecessary feature. I believe Tilted Mill also made Caesar IV which brought back that street thing and was generally a game that I did not enjoy. However, it will be interesting to see what they do.
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