All I can say is it took them long enough. 10 months since the North American launch of SimCity and far longer since the complaints about the online DRM started pouring in to Maxis and EA, SimCity is finally getting an Offline mode in SimCity Update 10, a free update currently in development.
One of the biggest (among the numerous) complaints people had about SimCity was that because it was an online only game that saved automatically, players could not destroy their city or make huge mistakes and then rollback to an earlier save file. In SimCity Update 10, “because your saved games in this mode are stored locally, you can save and load to your heart’s content,” says Patrick Buechner, General Manager of Maxis Emeryville. Hallelujah!
“Yes, Offline is coming as a free download with Update 10 to all SimCity players. When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection. We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it’s as polished as possible before we release it. So, until then… testing, testing and more testing. As one of the final steps, we’re putting Offline into the hands of some of our most hardcore players, the DevTesters. This group of volunteers is going to put Offline through its paces before we release it.”
Offline mode is going to open a lot of doors for the modding community, who, with luck and perseverance, will be able to make SimCity the game it should have been a year ago, by restoring the missing features from SimCity 4, increasing the lot sizes and who knows what else, all without “compromising the integrity of the Online game.” Hopefully the modding policy won’t interfere too much.