A few weeks ago the SimCity team took part in a Reddit Ask Me Almost Anything (AMAA) chat where we let fans ask us, well, practically anything. A lot of questions were asked and a whole lot were answered. So many, in fact, that it’d be hard to post them all here. So we recapped some of the interesting responses from the entire team below, thanks to awesome Redditor BetaKeyTakeaway. If you want to read the entire transcript broken up by each studio member (and you really should) check out his full post here.
Thanks again to everyone who participated in the chat. Look forward to speaking with you more as we inch closer and closer to the game’s launch on March 5th.
Senior Producer Kip Katsarelis
Q: Would you say this is a game for hardcore fans of the franchise or are we aiming to open it up to new players like Societies?
A: Great question! This is definitely a game for the hardcore fans. When we started this project, we looked at previous SimCity games and evaluated what made them great. We looked at fan sites, spoke with fans, looked at reviews, and looked at what the SimCity 4 community was up to. We wanted to make sure that we delivered on the core values of SimCity. Probably the most important pillar of the game has always been simulation and that's where we put the bulk of our efforts. We felt if we did satisfy our core audience, then why make it.
We also took into account that there is an entirely new generation of SimCity fans who may have played SimCity on mobile or console or maybe not at all. We wanted to make this game accessible to them as well. This is where the data layers and infographics came in. We wanted to present these complex systems in a friendly way.
At the end of the day, I think you'll find that SimCity is a game for everyone.
Q: Have you ever thought about making the game on a larger scale, where one person is mayor, then have friends control different departments?
Will people be able to make money from selling goods to each others cities?
A: Yes we have. Actually, that what the Region Multi-City/Multiplayer game is all about. You can control multiple cities by yourself our have your friends play alongside you. Each of those cities can specialize by placing certain businesses into their cities. For example, one player may want to create a tourist city, they would have a few options. They could add casinos, landmarks, stadiums or parks. All of this would attract tourists, which becomes their cities economic center. Your neighboring city may decide to prosper off this city by providing garbage service, police service, and more. Cities can and will make money by working together. It really opens up the possibilities of how you build your cities and regions.
Creative Director Ocean Quigley
Q: I'll just repeat my unanswered question from the one back in March: So, is this a remake of the first Sim City, a reboot of the series, or does your marketing team just not like the number 5? Are you contractually forbidden to call it Sim City 5? On the other hand, thanks for not naming it 5im City...
A: Given that we were doing a complete, from-the-ground-up rebuild of the whole thing (it's not an iteration of SimCity 4) It made sense to simply call it SimCity. We could call it SimCity 5, or SimCity V or whatever, but that just seemed clunky.
Lead Gameplay Scripter Guillaume Pierre
Q: Does the new SimCity the feature weather and seasons?
A: The water map evaporates during the summer months, which can affect how much water you can pump into your city. Then rain clouds dump water back in the map as they drift through the landscape.
I've tuned it so you get more clouds during the winter, a little less during spring and fall, and almost none during the summer. Confused about which season you're in? Just look at the color of the trees!
Q: Most of the [beautiful] gameplay footage so far shows cities built on completely flat terrain. To what extent can we build cities into hills?
A: Some cities have hills, other rivers going through them. We'd like each city to feel like a puzzle so the player can solve them any way they wish. For example, some people may want to put a large bridge to cross the river, while other may rely on a ferry system instead.
Gameplay Designer Dan Kline
Q: Will schools and education be something that cities can share? (As shown in the multi-city with fire stations)
If yes, will the same go for hospitals as well? I like the idea of large cities, which have lots of money, being able to support the smaller cities.
A: Yes! College students will drive to other cities, and kids will take school buses. Same thing for ambulances, police, fire trucks, garbage trucks, and plain-hard cash. We made a real effort to let cities share everything we could.
Q: Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized llamas or 1 llama-sized duck?
A: 1 llama-sized duck. Much easier to keep distance and avoid getting pinned down. Plus easier to trip up.
Software Engineer Xin Liu
Q: How does sim city combat the fact that different players will be online at different times, I don't fancy coming back to my city to find it destroyed and my coffers empty?
A: Your city simulates only when you're actively playing it so you don't need to worry about your city imploding while you're away.
Gameplay Designer Brian Bartram
Q: If you go broke in the game will you have the option to build Army Bases or Waste dumps for money, also will player controlled disasters be around in the game? But I'm glad to see Dr. Vu's back!
A: When you go broke you'll enter a special mode called "Budget Crisis" where we help you identify how to get back on your feet. Options include taking a loan, shutting down buildings to reduce expenses, and getting help from a neighboring city.
Software Engineer Richard Shemaka:
Q: Will there be splines needing reticulation?
A: Always! Seriously though, being the first 3D SimCity (and the first with curvy roads) means there's some serious spline tech under the hood. We've got a few old, grizzled engineers (including some from the SC4 days) making sure your splines are reticulated to perfection.