Simcity gameplay footage gambles it all away

Simcity is back under old management.

After the failure that was Simcity Societies – the first game in the franchise not develioped by Maxis, EA is rebooting the franchise, and taking it back to its roots, while simultaneously expanding the technological edge significantly.

To this end, they’ve handed the reins back over to the development studio who handled some of the greatest simulation games of the genre, Maxis.

This video takes the viewer through the beginnings of building a great city:

The choices made here are odd, and potential players not familiar with the franchise should note one does not have to dump waste-water out in the woods – it’s possible to make more ecologically sound ways to deal with sewage and garbage. In addition, you don’t need to build a gambling empire, there are lots of options in terms of growing your city. From the press release that accompanied the video:

SimCity is about endless choices.

Ultimately you can do whatever you want, focus on growing your population, increasing wealth or even build a city that looks like your hometown. Whatever your motivation, you have to the power to experiment with a number of different strategies.

How you choose to play will influence your city, the neighboring cities and the lives of all the Sims across the region.

Some clear differences to note between the previous Simcity games (Societies doesn’t count) and this one include the more organic nature of the city layout. This has been happening slowly since the first Simcity which was on a strict grid, and each iteration since has been a bit more granular in the way roads and rail can be laid out. In Simcity 4, there were still some strong restrictions to how roads and such fit into place. I remember distinctly the frustrations of trying to place hi-way ramps in that game, and here it practically fits them for you. The roads the narrator, producer Stone Librande, place seem like they may begin and end anywhere, and can be drawn onto the landscape as if with a brush.

Also notice that a lot of the manual labor of the game has been removed. If you played any of the previous games, you eventually learned that the only water strategy that makes sense is to simply run water pipes under all of the roads as a way to get water to all properties. Occasionally there might be need to run water somewhere without a road, but rare, and really, it just created additional work. Of course, I didn’t notice it at the time, but now that I see this system, it makes a lot more sense, same with the power-lines.

Of course there are a lot more building types, road types, transportation methods, and pretty much everything else. The world is also more granular. There is actual environment simulation (like that water-table stuff). and the residents and businesses are individually simulated, rather than running the world on algorithms.

All this combined with the addition of multi-player through the Simcity World features, makes the game sound like it will be the sequel Simcity fans have been waiting nearly a decade for.

This trailer is from this year’s E3 back in June, but it shows a few more of the features in detail:

Simcity is slated to hit the shelves in February 2013. The game can be preordered over on the official website. Unfortunately, it’s looking like EA’s Origin distrobution platform will be required to play.