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SimCity: Societies Preview

August 20th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 6 Comments · City Builder, Electronic Arts, Gameshark, Preview, Tilted Mill

The fruit of my brief trip to EA Headquarters ten days ago can be found now on Gameshark.

A lot of people will not like this game. Societies turns its back on so many SimCity assumptions that the hardcore city building audience will be astonished. Not that this is a bad thing. I agree with Rod Humble and Will Wright that the SimCity franchise had strayed too far from its toybox city roots.

I have other concerns. At this point, it’s not clear how strong the NIMBY effect will be. In the alpha build, I can stick a county prison by an elementary school and no one cares. Your people don’t make specific demands of you, something that I think would help in the whole “goal creation” problem that I experienced in the freeform play.

On the plus side, lots of terrain types and a nice range of buildings to draw from.

This was an alpha build, of course, and the Tilted Mill design team wasn’t on hand to answer any questions. (They were doing prep for Leipzig.) Maybe I’ll try to get them for an interview on the blog.

I’m proud of myself that I didn’t ask Rachel Bernstein for an autograph. The name might not mean a lot to you, but she was an Executive Producer, Designer and Programmer on Imperialism. She doesn’t have the longest CV, but anyone associated with that tiny piece of brilliance has a special place in my heart.


6 Comments so far ↓

  • Scott R. Krol

    Hmm, interesting: “They were doing prep for Leipzig.”

    As in Battle Of? I checked out their website to see if they had a Nappy game in the works but couldn’t find anything, so now I’m curious if that’s what you’re referring to or is Leipzig something totally different?

  • Troy

    The big game convention in Leipzig.

    Sorry I wasn’t more specific. It’s become such a huge industry event that I assumed the reference would be universally understood. I’ll fix that.

  • flashman

    So….Sim City Societies is to the last couple Sim City games as Sid Meier’s Railroads was to RR Tycoon?

    Do you think that’s an appropriate comparison?

  • Troy

    That’s not a bad comparison as far as the design intention I guess. Just as Firaxis wanted a railroad game that had more railroads and less tycoon, Tilted Mill is making a city builder that is more sandbox than detail oriented.

    This in no way speaks to the quality of the final product, which is still months away. The EA reps there were very solicitous of comments from the fan community and, once they got past the “what is this thing?” reaction, they had a lot of input that sounded useful from where I sat.

  • Krupo

    Man, I just hope the game they’re developing doesn’t do an SMR-like shot at the gameplay.

    I can imagine it now… sure, you build a city but it’s only the size of one neighbourhood because they nerfed the size of the maps. I’m sure they won’t SMR it, but I had to bitch a little about the tiny SMR maps… :p

    Sounds like an awesome experience!

  • Krupo

    Wooo – I just read your article – that sounds damned interesting/exciting. I’m actually looking forward to that. :)

    Venues and that whole income generation instead of taxes thing sounds brilliant. I like the look of it.