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Maxis announces its return to SimCity

SimCity Concept ArtIf you’re a fan of SimCity, then the senior vice president of Maxis has shared some news that will surely make your day — SimCity will return to the PC next year, complete with a new 3D style and an interesting multiplayer mode.

The project is simply called SimCity at the moment, suggesting Maxis wants to forget about the previous games  — of which only a few have been made with Maxis’ involvement — and start afresh, and judging by the information we’ve been given about the game so far, it appears to warrant this new beginning.

Details on the game have been revealed during a special event at the Games Developer Conference, and also through an extended announcement video, where Maxis’ creative director and lead producer talk about the inspiration behind the game, and some of the features it’ll include.

SimCity’s new visual style has been inspired by “tilt-shift” photography, which produces a miniaturizing depth of field effect, and is visible in the trailer itself. Buildings will have mass and players will drop them into place in a similar way to previous games, except here, each will individually contribute to your city’s growth or decline.

Multiplayer

The pair continue by saying it’ll be possible to build cities focused around one particular discipline — manufacturing, technology or culture for example — then attract a particular kind of Sim inhabitant. While this sounds restrictive at first, it leads into SimCity’s new multiplayer mode rather well, as your city will integrate with other cities, presumably all doing different things, to create a larger, more complex world.

In the trailer, a polluted waterway causes a power outage, and the solution requires two players to work together to build a better power station that serves both cities equally. This collaborative aspect continues with the opportunity to trade and work together on more expensive and ambitious projects. It even works in reverse, as you can pollute the environment to make other players’ Sim folk sick.

Although the commentary in the video suggests what we’re seeing is in-game footage, there is a disclaimer at the end the standalone trailer saying it’s not representative of actual gameplay, which is a little unfortunate.

Recent SimCity games have been met with mixed reviews, however as this new edition sees Maxis return to the franchise after nearly ten years, anticipation is sure to be high. Any enthusiasm must be tempered for now though, as it’s not set for release until sometime next year.