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SimCity Interview: "aim for something different each time you play"

EA Maxis' producer Jason Haber on class and conflict in virtual cities

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Just say an industry collapses in my city. Will there be a flight of my population to another city in the region, which it will then need to respond to?

Not quite. Once your sims start to abandon one city, they're just going to leave the region as a whole. That's what likely will happen.

Can SimCity be played aggressively? Can one player aim to wipe out or handicap another person's city?

That may be the most polite way someone has ever asked that question! [laughs] There is a little bit of that: you could intentionally try to create a lot of crime in one city, or a bunch of pollution in a city. That influence will be felt, but it won't be to the extent that people can grief your city per se. It's much more subtle. The goal there is to simulate what would happen in the real world if you lived next to a super dirty town and you were a clean town. You'd have to learn how to deal with it.

What does it mean to 'win' SimCity?

I don't know, it depends on who's playing. Again, that's one of the beauties of playing this kind of game, is that you can set your own wind conditions. I find that when I'm playing multiple cities I have different wind conditions for each city I'm playing, even within a region. I do sometimes have regional goals that I want to work on, like a great work, or to have my region rank really well on the leaderboards. But every time I play I aim for something a little different. The game really accommodates for that.

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I noticed zoning is free now. Is SimCity meant to be a bit more accessible than previous games?

It's certainly one of our goals to make this more accessible than previous SimCity games, especially the last few in the series. But we're mostly doing that through things like data layers and the mayor-to-sim interaction, and also through making the interface more friendly. When it comes to things like zoning and where your expenses are, part of that is trying to balance the hourly rate of running your city versus just the raw expense of doing things. In some ways it's more realistic, you have to think a bit more. If you didn't have that you could just sit there and build up your treasury and do anything.

Will there be DLC and expansions?

Right now we're really just focused on finishing the core game and making it great, but we'll see.

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