EA Shuts Down Maxis

EA Shuts Down Maxis

Just when you think Electronic Arts might not be as evil as they once were, something comes along to remind you that they, are, after all, EA for a reason. Maxis Emeryville, the studio that Will Wright created that gave us SimCity and The Sims is now no more. Like Westwood and Bullfrog and other studios before it, a venerable development house that has created some of the classics in PC gaming is now no more is now another EA casualty.

News is filtering in as various ex-Maxis employees come clean on various social platforms like Twitter. From a financial perspective, it’s no real surprise that the studio was in danger, since their last SimCity game experienced a disastrous launch that soured the entire franchise going forward. Of course, directives like “make a game online only so as to keep piracy and profit margins under control” sounds more like an executive directive rather than one that would come from the developers themselves. Executives, however, are usually the last ones willing to go to the chopping block for terrible mistakes. That’s why employees are for.

It’s a sad day, but at least Maxis had a good run. They created a lot of classics, and it’s too bad that they’re the latest venerable company to be sent off to die. Hopefully, BioWare’s not next.

You Can Now Play Sim City Offline

You Can Now Play Sim City Offline

The controversial 2013 reboot of SimCity has released a long overdue feature: offline play. EA announced today that a new downloadable update will let players enjoy SimCity without the need of an Internet connection.

“We’ve listened to our players and today we are delivering against their most direct feedback with the release of the new single-player mode,” said Patrick Buechner, General Manager of Maxis.

Players can access this feature through a free downloadable update. The update adds offline play, the ability to build multiple cities on the same file, and the option to turn off the auto-save function.

When first released, the title’s always-connected experience caused many servers to crash, making it almost unplayable for the first week or so. This caused many to question EA’s efforts to prevent piracy of their games.

Offline play was originally announced back in January. You can read about the original announcement here.

SimCity Is Going Offline…In A New Mode

SimCity Is Going Offline...In A New Mode

The SimCity reboot is finally letting users play without connection to the Internet.

The news came this morning by way of Maxis General Manager Patrick Buechner, who explained the patch. The feature will be a free update to all SimCity players, adding a Single Player Mode. This mode lets players access the main game without an Internet connection, which was previously impossible. There will be also be other features included in the new update, which you can check out here.

Originally released last year, the title had extensive server issues upon launch, and the always-online function pushed many fans away.

A date has not been set for the update, but Buechner says “we look forward to getting Offline for SimCity into your hands as soon as possible.” We will have more info here on CGM as more details arise.

The Best and Worst of 2013 — Brendan Frye

The Best and Worst of 2013 -- Brendan Frye

With the end of the current console generation, never has there been a better time to be a console gamer. All the new games released are polished and are using the hardware of the PS3 and XBOX 360 to the fullest. Yet it is a PC port that kept my attention most this year, Diablo III. Even though it was only a “port,” Blizzard had made enough tweaks to the overall experience that it felt like a new game. The couch co-op option was a new and fantastic way to play the experience. The new drops and overall streamlined nature of the experience makes it one of the best dungeon crawlers to date. They have fixed all aspects that made the PC version cumbersome and made a masterly crafted game that everyone who loves the genre needs to pick up.

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The experience of sitting down with up to four friends made Diablo III oddly one of the most social games I have played in recent memory. Everyone worked together to face a common enemy, all from the comfort of the couch. The fact it was a top down experience, rather than the now ubiquitous FPS made it much easier to play with more people, no one’s experience seemed compromised to allow for more players and the ability to replay the experience countless times made for days of enjoyment. I for one am excited to see what Blizzard does with the expansion and to see how the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the games come out. If Blizzard keeps this level of quality up with console development they will be a force to be reckoned with not just on the PC.

The Most Disappointing:

Where Diablo III on consoles exceeded expectations, SimCity failed to meet even the mildest of them. The overall experience was hindered by server issues that not only stopped many gamers from being able to jump in and play, but as EA started to fix the issues, features of the game were turned off. Beyond the issues at launch, some core aspects of the game made for an experience that let many players, including myself down.

The choice to make the map smaller meant it became a necessity to rely on neighboring cities for select resources. This also hindered the always fun city sprawl that SimCity is known for. But when you get right down to it, the fact the core game was so good made all these issues more apparent. I wanted to sit there for hours and play the game, yet the bad design choices made it such a tedious task to play, I eventually had to put the game down and have only picked it up a handful of times since. Yes with recent updates, the game is getting much closer to the experience fans deserve, but with so many people given a bad taste by the launch, it may be too little too late for Maxis and EA.

 

CGM Podcast March 08, 2013

CGM Podcast March 08, 2013

This Weeks CGM Podcast the crew are joined by Phil Brown and they go over all the latest news stories that hit the comics and Gaming circuit. Phil talks all about the new James Franco Movie Oz the Great and Powerful along with a much better film Stoker. In the news the crew talk about Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, The news around the Justice League franchise and studio closure. Brendan talks all about SimCity and Wayne goes into detail at why Tomb Raider was good but still let him down.

Read moreCGM Podcast March 08, 2013