Video Game Buzz: Sim City 5

Sim City 5, BITCHES!

What the $#@%… it appears we may be finally getting Sim City 5!  I know… it’s exciting…

How did this happen?  Sim City 5 has been such a long time coming; I’ll be honest, I’d begun to believe that I’d never see another Sim City game.  In fact, until the game is officially announced, promoted, and released, I still can’t help but be skeptical.

Why so reluctant?  Well, Sim City 4 came out in the beginning of 2003, and its expansion pack, Rush Hour, was released at the end of 2003.  Rush Hour’s release also marked the virtual end of support for the game, with no more patches being released afterward.  This was unfortunate for us fans of the series, since the game suffers from a still yet unpatched memory leak which can break the game.

I need to admit that technically a sequel was released in 2007.  However, Sim City Societies was a whole new manner of game entirely, developed by a studio other than Maxis (original developer of Sim City, The Sims, and Spore) to try and reinvigorate the series.  I, along with many other gamers, despise this game.

So here we are, almost 10 years since Sim City 4, and it would have seemed that all hope for a true sequel has long since been lost.  All of the sudden, though, there is all this buzz around the game’s announcement being right around the corner.  Hmmm, interesting—let’s take a look at where all this greatly awaited buzz is coming from!

The build-up goes as follows:

  • Sim City Societies flops, the series appears to truly die
  • Cities XL comes out to feed the hungry simulation fans, seemingly proving that city simulation games are still desirable and supportable.
  • In 2010, Sim City 4 is re-released on the digital distribution platform Steam.  Hey, apparently Electronic Arts hasn’t completely abandoned it!
  • Zynga’s CityVille hits Facebook.  In 2011 it even surpassed FarmVille as having the most active online users of any application to the date.  “Hey EA,” we began to think, “you know you want to cash in.  Give in to the dark side and give us a new Sim City!”
  • Recently, EA started an official Facebook page for Sim City 4.
  • Hermain Cain’s “9-9-9”  plan created buzz around and exposure for Sim City 4, since the game shipped with his particular economic policy built in by default.

Now it seems that EA itself is trying to actively promote some buzz around Sim City 5.  A big head in EA Public Relations teased a big announcement of something big from Maxis at the coming Game Developers Conference with a tweet.  A few days later, some apparently leaked screenshots of Sim City 5 cropped up on the web.

Sim City 4 was a wonderful game—I still play it, actually—but I have wanted this since before Sim City Societies or Spore.  I want Sim City 5 so badly that I am actually afraid to get my hopes up because it will crush me if all of this buzz and hype is for nothing.  EA will be streaming its GDC even on March 6th, and I plan on watching it.  No amount of pessimism can change the simple fact that I am more excited about this than any other game announcement in the last 5 years, easily.

UPDATE: Maxis executive Lucy Bradshaw has apparently confirmed that Sim City 5 is in fact in the works.  According to her, we can look forward to a 2013 release.  It is apparently built upon the GlassBox engine, which has been developed from scratch to support the game.  However, Electronic Arts has still yet to officially confirm the title.  I’ll keep the updates coming.

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