While everyone seems to sort of agree that this year’s E3 was fairly lacking of any epic announcements, that doesn’t mean everyone had a bad time. Say what you will about the rest of E3, but for the SimCity reboot, it was a good week. This isn’t just my opinion, even though I happen to agree, but the opinion of many it seems who have seen the game or its popular trailer. SimCity is one of those titles that everyone seems to be able to agree on, it always has. The trailer for the game was released a few days ago and if you’ve been watching their YouTube series on how their new GlassBox engine works then you’ll be happy to see that the visuals, as promised, have greatly improved.
Machinima sat down with SimCity 2013 lead producer Kip Katsarelis at E3 to go through the basics of the GlassBox engine as well as what the team hopes to accomplish with the newest iteration in the franchise. Because it’s technically not a sequel, more of a reimagining, the team at Maxis is hoping that this will be the game people think of whenever the word SimCity is mentioned. Compared to its predecessors, the GlassBox engine has completely redesigned how the game functions which I guess is why they’ve spent the time explaining how the engine works to the community, well that and it helps to create some buzz.
Artistically the game looks like it was built from a model set. Who here has seen Beetlejuice? When I saw the trailer for SimCity the first thing I thought of was the model town that Alec Baldwin’s character is building in their attic; lots of handcrafted details with a sort of Leave it to Beaver feel. While the only citizen living in his model was Beetlejuice himself, SimCity’s looks like it will have hundreds, if not thousands of them, living in a city created by the player.
I may have over exaggerated when I said that everyone was happy with the game. While I’m sure most are happy with what they’ve seen gameplay wise, some aren’t so happy with how we’re all going to have to play it; online, all the time, even in single player. This means no saves, which means no destroying your own cities for the heck of it. There will be a cheat mode that will allow you to build a city quickly if you feel like destroying it, but somehow, it doesn’t have the same punch as destroying your own city and then quickly reloading it to tell your citizens you’re sorry.
All-in-all, SimCity is shaping up to be a release that deserves our attention, even if they’re messing with the formula. While I’m not psyched about a reduction in single player fun, I am encouraged by what I’ve seen and hope that they’re multiplayer shapes up to be worth it. The full interview is below for those itching to catch a peek.