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SimCity's Offline Mode Launches Today

EA's currently going through required server maintenance to allow players to finally play without an online connection.

Offline play is about to become available in SimCity. Get hype?
Offline play is about to become available in SimCity. Get hype?

We learned back in January that Maxis was working on an offline patch for its heretofore online only city building game, SimCity. At the time, we didn't know when that patch would become available, only that it was being worked on. Now, just a bit over a year past the game's launch, that patch is about to go live.

A representative from Maxis posted a note in the official SimCity forums today announcing that Update 10 (which comes with the aforementioned offline play) would be migrating out as of 6 AM Pacific time, which would result in a few hours of server downtime. An update to that post at 7:20 AM Pacific noted that the team's QA department had begun checks to make sure everything was working correctly. It's apparently expected that the update and servers should all be live sometime in the next few hours.

Assuming the offline mode works as intended and everything goes smoothly, this update will allow players to create cities and regions free from a connection to the game's online servers, which initially buckled following the game's launch. Initially, Maxis had previously claimed moving the game offline was "not possible" due to its infrastructural design. Still, fan outcry was strong, especially in the early months of the game's launch, when server reliability was at its worst. Eventually the developer acquiesced to the idea of reworking the game to not require online checks any longer, and the Update 10 patch was made public earlier this year.

Releasing this patch a full year after launch might end up being too little too late for players who ditched the game due to online frustrations, but there's something to be said for a developer actually making good on fixing a problematic design. As Maxis outlined in a blog post on their official site, reworking the game this way was apparently no small effort. Still, is that effort enough to bring back players who have had their fill? I suppose we'll see soon enough.

Alex Navarro on Google+