SimCity Offline is Official
On the SimCity Blog yesterday, Maxis Emeryville General Manager Patrick Buechner began his post rather matter of factly: SIMCITY OFFLINE IS COMING! Yes, SimCity owners will finally be able to play the game without an Internet connection once the free Update 10 rolls out later this year.
By all accounts, the actual game has gotten rave reviews from critics and users alike, but the Always-On requirement was a huge black mark against the game, causing many people to stay away. The new offline mode is just as you'd expect – saved games are stored locally so "you can save and load to your heart's content." That had long been a trademark of the SimCity franchise until this new SimCity came along, so it's certainly great to see it back. Somewhat surprisingly, the blog post implies that any of those saved games can also be loaded up in multiplayer at any time – so Maxis is taking a very Torchlight-approach to offline play, which is nice to see.
This offline announcement also comes on the heels of another SimCity Blog post that had Maxis officially supporting SimCity modding. Both announcements should be well received by current owners, in addition to encouraging others to finally get on board. It also means that, shall the SimCity servers ever go down again, owners will still be able to play the game they purchased. One consequence of offline mode may be that multiplayer will be less populated, which will not be good for those that actually enjoyed that part of the game, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
There is no release date for Update 10 yet, but it will enter testing soon.
Source: SimCity Blog