SimCity – revival of a classic
One of the granddaddies of the simulation genre, SimCity returns next week...
It may have been overshadowed in the popular gaming media by the likes of the FPS and third person genres, not to mention sports, RPGs and online multiplayer, but the simulation game has been around for a long, long time. It was once the marquee attraction for the gaming world, and has, perhaps, never hit a higher point than the long-running Sims series of games.
But, long before the Sims babbled their way onto people's screens, or off-the-wall efforts like Sim Hospital and Sim Ant saw the light of day, there was SimCity. One of the first and certainly most successful simulation games around.
First released by Maxis in 1989 and developed by Will Wright, SimCity gave players control of a developing city, and granted free reign over the entire budget and development of the urban sprawl. Everything from roads, sewers, water lines, emergency services, housing developments and so on were planned and built at the armchair mayor's whim. Okay, so many players just wanted to watch the world burn, and built up a city just so they could destroy it, perhaps no more satisfyingly than SimCity 2000's alien invasion, but for those who relished the chance to flex their strategic and planning mind muscles, the game was perfect.
Move on 24 years and several versions of the title and although the simulation genre may not be a prevalent as it once was, SimCity has just as much pull as it ever has, and, thanks to the upcoming revival of the game, which is due to arrive next week, creating you very own city will be even more engrossing.
Making use of the new GlassBox engine, SimCity will reproduce a living, breathing city in a much more realistic and dynamic way than before. Instead of a simple statistic and animation-based world, the new SimCity will make use of 'agents' individual units that will make up the city. These will include workers going about their daily tasks, in turn creating traffic jams and he like, and they'll also include such elements as water and power, which will be dynamically redirected and demanded as the city grows.
The zoning system will no longer be a simple grid-based system, but will be a much more involved and flexible affair that will make for more realistic city layouts, and more than one city will be possible in any one game, as interconnected urban areas will be available.
SimCity will be released on PC and Mac on March 5 in the US, March 7 in Japan and Australia and March 8 in Europe. While you wait, have a look at some shots of the game below, as well as the Digital Deluxe Edition trailer, which highlights some of the new city types, including some themed on Great Britain, France and Germany.