|Despite prior protestations to the contrary, Maxis and EA's city construction kit Sim City will see a patch for offline play. In an official blog post today, Maxis announced that the Windows version will have the online-only requirement purged in Update 10 of the embattled title. It it not clear when the same functionality will be extended to the OS X version of the game.
In the post, Patrick Buechner, general manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio admitted that "yes, Offline is coming as a free download with Update 10 to all SimCity players. When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an Internet connection. We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it's as polished as possible before we release it. So, until then … testing, testing and more testing. As one of the final steps, we're putting Offline into the hands of some of our most hardcore players, the DevTesters. This group of volunteers is going to put Offline through its paces before we release it."
It is unknown when patch 10 will be available, or what other improvements will be included, if any. The blog post didn't make clear if the same offline mode will be extended to OS X users, or on what timeline that it can be expected. Larger cities will not be implemented at this time, despite the user demand for them.
During the troubled launch of the title, Maxis senior vice president Lucy Bradshaw cited design decisions, as well as the game having to "offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud" as reasons why an offline patch wasn't possible. Bradshaw claimed that "it wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team."