The more I see of Electronic Arts’ SimCity reboot, the more I like it. I was skeptical that Maxis could pull off such a thorough reinvention of the series, but as layers are peeled away, we see how they’ve turned SimCity from a grid-based simulation based on a number of abstractions to a game in which roads and zones can be planted freely and each aspect of the city is modeled piece by piece, not unlike how strategy games Of Olde like RollerCoaster Tycoon handled individual tourists.
In this newest video, Maxis reveals early city building play and, forgive me, but I could not be more excited. Rather than merely place a power plant in the middle of an empty field and build infrastructure around it, you build your cities here around existing infrastructure and location. The landmass you start at, similar to SimCity 4′s mega-grid thing, is already lined with existing lines. In the case of the video, a thick highway and a rail line, both of which designer Stone Librande hangs his city onto as he builds his ‘burg. Unlike previous games, utility services like water, power, and sewage are handled along streets since all zones are built off of streets, discouraging you from creating weird compositions of colored zones and power lines that won’t ever work. I won’t spoil the whole video, but I’m super giddy about what’s going on here.
And water tables? Oh my god, send me to heaven now.