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Exclusive: BeyondSims SimCity Interview With Maxis’ Jason Haber

BeyondSims has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Jason Haber, producer of the upcoming SimCity game which is coming in March 2013! Please bear in mind that Maxis aren’t allowed to speak about certain things yet.

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Hello! Thanks for doing this interview myself for BeyondSims, it really means a lot to be able to offer this to our readers and fans of SimCity! I guess we’ll start by introducing ourselves. My name is Daniel, and I am one of the webmasters and content writers at BeyondSims. Could you introduce yourself for the audience, please?

SimCity-Tornade

My name is Jason Haber and I’m one of the Producers at Maxis working on SimCity.

SimCity 4 is still alive thanks to the modding community, such as Simtropolis, do you intend to offer support for mods after the game has been released?

First of all, I’d like to thank all of the fans in our community that have kept SimCity 4 thriving for so long – they’ve really kept the spirit of the game and the SimCity franchise alive. We know that modding is a big part of SimCity,but with that said, right now we’re really focused on finishing the core game and releasing it.

At Gamescom, you announced SimCity World. Some players will want to not take part in these features as they prefer playing solo. Do players have the option to not participate in SimCity World and/or the global economy?

SimCity World provides a lot of new features to players, including Leaderboards, Challenges, the Global Market, and CityLog. Each of these drives new ways to engage with SimCity and are a lot of fun to participate in. All players are a part of this living system, but individuals can minimize the impact by finding all of their own resources within a city and/or buying from other cities within a region at a discounted price.

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We’ve heard that you’ll be able to trade resources with other players in your region. Can you go into more detail about what you’ll be able to trade? Will you be able to continue trading resources if you’re not playing?

Players can share between cities within a region in different ways: They can share resources, like water and power; they can share services, like fire, police and health; and they can share Sims as workers, shoppers or tourists. Players will also be able to buy resources from other cities within the region at a discounted price off the global market.

The artistic style of this game is certainly interesting; the game looks incredibly colourful and appears to have had a lot of thought put into it. Can you tell us what influenced the art style for this game?

Our Creative Director, Ocean Quigley, was the visionary behind the look and feel of our game. He’s created a world inspired by model railroads and tilt-shift photography. There are some great tilt-shift videos out there that we’ve used as our inspiration.

SimCity 1

Recently you’ve been releasing information about disasters in SimCity, which look pretty good so far! When a disaster occurs in a player’s city, will it affect surrounding cities too or just their city?

Disasters are a ton of fun to use in the game and they bring along some unexpected chaos and surprises. Stay tuned for more details.

One thing I have seen thrown around a lot is whether there will be bridges in the game and where we’ll be able to place them. Can you tell us if we can place bridges inside our city, or if they just link some cities together?

You certainly can place bridges within your cities! In fact, the bridges and tunnels in SimCity are awesome and really easy to use – just draw between cliffs or over rivers and you’ll have a bridge. You can make them curvy or straight and even have roads and bridges go over and under each other. I’ve personally had a lot of fun with these and I’m sure our fans will as well.

This SimCity game features cloud saved games. Why was the decision made to implement this feature as opposed to saves on the user’s computer, where they could save and load older games?

Having your game in the cloud means that you can access it from anywhere. Start a region at home, pick it up during your lunch break, and then go right back into playing while at home. SimCity features Multi-City Play, you are now playing multiple cities within a region, which we simulate on our servers.

In Europe, SimCity will feature physical collector’s editions in the UK, France and Germany. Each of these editions will have their own DLC set, such as the UK having the London set. Can you tell us more about these collectors’ editions? Is there another way for customers to get these sets?

In addition to these physical editions, fans can pick up the Digital Deluxe Edition from Origin. The Digital Deluxe edition of SimCity includes the UK, French and German city sets which contain country-specific landmarks and European-inspired RCI buildings.Head over to SimCity.com for the full details.

British City Set
British City Set

How many people can play in a region? Will myself and my friends be able to control more than one city in this region on multiplayer?

We’re still working on the exact number of players we’ll have in a region, but I can tell you we’ll have different numbers of cities in different types of regions. Players will have the option to play all the cities in a region on their own, share a region with only friends, or even open up a region to the public. Individual players will also be able to have multiple regions, so they can play with these different configurations.

Thanks for putting some of your time aside to answer the questions we’ve asked you today! We really appreciate it and are incredibly excited about the game. Roll on March 2013!

My pleasure! Thanks to everyone reading this for being such a great community – we look forward to getting SimCity into your hands and seeing the amazing cities and regions that you all will create!

28 comments

  1. The massive problem with the British set (and the german one too for that matter – aside from the fact they should be in the base game) is that they are mixing two very different architectural styles in terms of the landmark and the buildings that surround them. Elizabeth’s Tower is gothic revival whereas the surrounding buildings are mock tudor!

  2. richard says:

    “This SimCity game features cloud saved games.”

    “you are now playing multiple cities within a region, which we simulate on our servers.”

    well, one day EA will shutdown the servers and you will not be able to play it anymore.

  3. Vstarr says:


    richard:

    “This SimCity game features cloud saved games.”
    “you are now playing multiple cities within a region, which we simulate on our servers.”
    well, one day EA will shutdown the servers and you will not be able to play it anymore.

    This.

  4. UtterlyUnzipped says:

    I’m amazed how much of this new Sim City is copied from Cities XL Online… the whole World thing is a direct copy… and that failed miserably for monte Cristo…

    99% of Sim City Players want complete control of their cities but EA have made it clear now that no matter what you do, other Cities WILL influence yours:

    “_All players are a part of this living system_, but individuals can minimize the impact by finding all of their own resources within a city and/or buying from other cities within a region at a discounted price.”

    I honestly think this game will be a complete flop.

    I certainly won’t be getting it, my reason being:

    > Don’t want ANY other players influencing my cities.
    > Don’t trust EA to keep the servers going.
    > Don’t have reliable Internet.
    > Don’t want my games saved to the cloud.
    > Don’t like the dumbed down graphics.
    > Don’t like the dumbed down gameplay.

  5. richard says:

    Another bad thing related with the cloud saved game:

    probably it will be difficult to “mod” the game by the community. it’s an online game, probably you will not be able to install custom content like TS2 or TS3 because the server will simply reject or replace it. This feature will force people to buy only from Store.

  6. UtterlyUnzipped says:


    munch:

    if i am not able to save it on a train without internet (the only time i reqally play my sim games) then there is no point

    No you won’t be able to…


    Spon1Player:

    I believe the reason why Cities XL online failed was due to the subscription fee.

    That was part of the problem, certainly, but not the whole of it.

    People who play City Simulators tend to like total control of their virtual world so they can steer their cities in certain directions, other like to be able to create cities that are very aesthetically pleasing. Neither of these are possible with the new Sim City.

    It’s such a shame they are letting the franchise down so badly, you’d theink they’d learn their lesson from other games and Sim Societies!

  7. Chris says:

    I’m really excited for the mutiplayer. I want to run a city in a bigger picture, so I’m really happy about the region play and all that. SimCity 4 wasn’t doing enough of that for me. I’m glad Maxis has the guts to take SimCity forward like this. In fact, I wish things were even more radically different somehow. I play wishing the struggles were dynamic, not strictly to control the experience (and play pretend that things are happening). I dream of a Sims/SimCity hybrid game…

    I am curious what the cloud saves and all that means for when EA shuts down servers. I am not into gaming becoming something like disposable consumption.

    I would’ve tried Cities XL but I wouldn’t pay the subscription fee and heard the game wasn’t that great in general.

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