A new video containing gameplay footage of SimCity was recently released on Amazon, of all places. You can view it here or on any SimCity product page listed on Amazon.
There’s a lot of new content in the video but one thing has really jumped out to everyone. That’s our first real look at region view. Here it is.
Click for large view
This screencap has been causing a stir. There’s been skepticism about the new game’s regions and the size of cities from the start. Developers weren’t saying a lot about the topic and the few glimpses we had of the game indicated that cities might be extremely small compared to previous incarnations of the franchise and particularly SimCity 4. Players were also unhappy because it appeared cities could not be directly adjacent to each other.
Unfortunately, this screencap goes a long way towards confirming the concerns of die-hard fans. Here we see four cities, all of which are built in the confines of the same, small plot size and all of which are not adjacent and, in fact, cannot be adjacent. The cities don’t even hint at visual realism.
Electronics Arts released a new screenshot on the new SimCity’s Facebook page late last week. It was notable because, unlike earlier screenshots, it was actually pretty decent. It appears to be a city that was built normally rather than one obviously pre-constructed for a pretty shot. This may or may not really be the case – we have no way of knowing – but it’s at least refreshing to see something plausible.
I decided to do a comparison between it and SimCity 4. Below are the screenshots. On the top is SimCity 4 and on the bottom is the new game. Though you could probably have figured that out yourself.
Click each screenshot to open a larger version
Here are a few things I’ve gathered from the new screenshot.
Maxis and EA’s announcement of the new SimCity seemed to come out of nowhere. Fans had been yearning for a new title, yet no word came. Then, suddenly, the re-boot of the franchise was announced. And it appeared to already be quite far along its development cycle.
SimCity is an important game for Maxis, for the city builder genre and (of course) for franchise fans. This is a relatively sparse genre and those games that are released usually don’t offer the complexity and scale games in SimCity line. Yet, as always, a new game means new gameplay mechanics – which causes controversy.
This in-depth SimCity preview covers everything we know about the new game. If you’d like the full scoop – rather than just scattered bits and pieces – you’ve come to the right place.
SimCity 4 remains one of the best city builders in the genre. It was so good, some might argue (myself included) that it basically shut down competitors for years. Why try? How could a developer hope to make a better game?
Though excellent, the game is a bit of a departure from its predecessor. It by far does the most to live up to the “sim” (i.e. simluation) in the game’s title. Previous games in the series were far more abstract and ultimately focused on pure fun, which is why SimCity 2000‘s end-game involved launching gigantic city-buildings into space. Some reviews of SimCity 4 actually criticized the game as being too unlike previous titles in the franchise. It even appears that this game will live on after the release of the SimCity re-boot due in 2013. That game appears to be smaller in scale and a return to simplicity.
SimCity 4 is anything but simple. It is an extremely complex game. And, because it is now nearly 10 years old and supported by a vast community of modders, it’s even more intimidating. Where can it be purchased? What version is the best? What mod should be installed? This guide, the first in a series, will help new players deal with all of these issues.
City Builder Central is a blog by Matt Smith, aka Von Dion. Matt is a freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. He is an author at Digital Trends and MakeUseOf. Previous employers include PC Perspective, Bright Hub and Games Radar, among others.
You can contact Matt by emailing email@example.com.