Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Simcity Societies", or rather "The Sims Society"

EA released SimCity Societies yesterday. SimCity Societies was expected as the next iteration in the SimCity Franchise. However Societies, according to die hard fans, is nothing like a "SimCity" game.

A "SimCity" is a game loosely consists of a formula of micro managing aspects of city planning, follow graphs/charts of your progress/failure, adapt to any changes, and then watch the evolution of the city you created. Thats the definitive game style which has evolved over the years and reached its pinnacle in SimCity 4.

Begrudgingly, I actually agree with those die hard fans, to an extent.

I would agree that this game really shouldn't be called or even branded a "SimCity" game. The feeling I get is that its more of an off shoot of The Sims.

The game itself feels more akin to "The Sims" in which you place down pre-made, non evolving objects, to see how your sims "interact" with those objects. Where as in a "SimCity" game you are placing down certain objects and then seeing how those objects react to the inhabitants(called sims), not the other way around.

As I stated in the title, the game really should be named "The Sims Society" and branded with "The Sims" brand. In general my opinion is that this EA is just using the "SimCity" brand (for good or evil hasn't been determined yet, but leaning toward evil of course!) to sell copies.

I think the game has merit in of itself and its unfortunate that they tried to tie it to the "SimCity" franchise. I'm sure in the end this was a cause of some clueless marking decision based on a focus group.

With that said, I have certainly enjoyed playing the game since purchasing it. I would even recommend the game to others who like playing any of The Sims games, and the games expansions.

*Factoid* Back in the day, I even helped with the beta test/release of the one failures in "The Sims" franchise called The Sims Online! Pizza's anyone? That game was one of the precursors to "Second Life".

I would only preface any recommendation with If you are expecting a "SimCity" game experience then your likely going to be disappointed, but if your expecting a more expansive The Sims experience then you'll be pleased.

Also the game is very beautifully rendered. The only true nit I have so far is the inability to regulate the volume of the sims speech, which is a type of gibberish. Yah you can turn it off entirely but i'd prefer a control to soften it at times so you can still hear your sims if you'd like and at other times, e.g. cheer squad, zone the gibberish out

Googl'n around, I did find a video, on the website game videos, reviewers/editors of another site 1UP casually talking about the game experience.

Inter spliced in the video are a few comments from Rob Humble, the head of the Sims Division at EA. He explains their thinking on this take on the franchise and how things ended up where they did. However Rob even admits that

this may be an an off shoot, and if the game isn't received well by the SimCity community that "it'll be back to basics for sure" in the next version of the franchise.

I for one would like to see this game evolve on its own track, but would also like to get a "back to basics" SimCity experience with evolving buildings, water pipes everywhere, trash burning plants, and AI tweaking galore, and of course more buildings and effects to choose.

Frankly I think there "could" be some crossover from each of the different game audiences. So I can imagine a Sims<>SimCity audience bridge if anything.

Ok enough chatter, here is the video:

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