Author: Jay-Rey (@jay_Rey)
Over at Kotaku, they just posted an article about the difficulty the Sim City team had to make the latest release of the game franchise to work offline. Sim City has been a sore topic for gamers since its rocky release in march that seemed to be plagues by bugs and server issues. Many people blamed the need for Sim City to be played online. After 6 and a half months of work, the development team seem to be ready to release an update or a new version of the game that will work offline.
I like to get the pulse of the readers, and found this gem in their comment section:
I already know that hate I’m gonna catch here but fuck it.
I’m an EA developer. I didn’t work on this game. But I know plenty of people who did.
I get it’s fun for all of Kotaku’s commenters to say “Nah fuck EA they coulda done this from day one but they’re money grubbing fucktards” or something along those lines. Well isn’t that just so fun, except it’s wrong. EA doesn’t develop the game, Maxis does and did. This misconception of what EA does is really fun and kind of annoying. EA is just the funder of Maxis. EA doesn’t exercise creative control over anything Maxis does and you wanna know why? Because when Maxis was acquired by EA Will Wright maintained complete creative control over Maxis in exchange for EA funding his development of The Sims and getting Maxis as a subsidiary. So what does that mean? If it wasn’t for EA none of the sim city’s after the very first would’ve existed. None of the Sims games would have ever existed. Maxis was right on the verge of bankruptcy and EA kept them alive but Wright maintained complete creative control.
Fast forward to today and throw in the “EA made them sell out” mantra that everyone likes to use, then promptly take it and put it in a place where the sun don’t shine if you actually believe that. Get it through your head this game was never intended to be a sequel to Sim City 4. Sim City of this year was meant to be an evolution of Sim City like X-Com Enemy Unknown was an evolution of the original xcom. XCom may borrow things from the originial but it is it’s own game with new ideas and gameplay mechanics. Just as Sim City is still a city builder but it has evolved. For the longest time Sim City was trapped in its own little bubble. It was just about you and your own little city. So Maxis decides let’s stretch this out and make it something bigger. Let’s make everyone affect everyone. Lets do something daring. But what does everyone decide to see instead, “WTF YOU HAVE TO BE ONLINE FOR THIS!?” Gamers always cry about how there’s not enough innovation. How it’s the same game time after time. Wanna know why that is? Look in the mirror. The moment we deviate from the norm and try something unconventional you massacre us. So we stick to what we know will sell.
EDIT: Oh and I just saw some screenshots of videos of the SKIDROW no patch release. Actually try playing that POS and let me know how far you get and how the experience is. When nothing works that’s basically what the original game would have been like with an offline mode.
Check out the full comment thread here. It is mixed, as you would expect of the internet, with agreement and disagreement. Some folks are understanding to the plight of a developer and the people who work on a game for months on end. Other’s are angry consumers, who aren’t wrong in their opinion that if you release something, it should work.
This was a huge blow to the trend of always-online-connectivity. Microsoft made several changes to their newest console in response to the overwhelming negative feedback they received after last years E3. And then got a lot of backlash for continuing to stunt the growth of video gaming by just giving us better statistics, and not a better experience.
As gamers, we are a fickle crowd. Many of us have played since the cartridge days, since the text adventure days, and many of us will play well into adult hood. As gaming continues to advance with technology, huge shifts in the industry are bound to occur. It will take the bravery of a company to do something truly new and innovative, and the patience of the community to help usher in the new. We could have been the pioneers, and instead opted for another decade of the same.
What do you think? Is EA the villain everyone thinks they are? Or are gamers too judgmental without knowing all the facts?