An Interview with SimCity Buildit Developers

Gamers are being invited into a rich world of fantasy and strategy with SimCity Buildit,  courtesy of EA Games. Boasting a range of twelve worlds and well over a hundred maps in its grimoires, SimCity Buildit should keep strategists immersed in its world for some time. The game invites a player to choose a city and use it to build the best out of it. All of the usual suspects from simulation games are present in the highly detailed environments — buildings, sims, and environment will all be cropping up in the towns and villages which players can explore, conquer, and design.

Of obvious interest to those of us who played out our fantasies with pen and paper RPGs, SimCity Buildit boasts a simultaneous gameplay mode. With 12 players each taking the role of one of the available cities to action. Although it’s not strictly real-time, it’s as close as anyone has come with a game as immersive as this. Is this the missing link that will conjoin the two similar but disparate genres of real-time and turn-based strategy?

SimCity Buildit is fully complete with the new hack system found. Basically we were just tweaking the artificial intelligence and the game balance to the end. We got a lot of good feedback from the demo that we released and from our own internal testers, and we’re quite happy with the final product we’ll release.

Simultaneous player mode. We really feel we got the feature to work in the game, and it provides a multiplayer experience we feel was somewhat lacking in other turn-based games on the market.

Primarily we designed it still as a turn-based game. So although it’s more similar to RTS, we still see it as a turn-based game that has something extra. Anything on top of the turn-based game is an extra. We have the standard turn-based crowd, and anyone we can snatch from the RTS crowd is cool. There is very fierce competition — a lot of people think that the RTS genre is pretty saturated, and maybe something like SimCity Buildit is something different to change that. It’s not an RTS game, but maybe some people who are sick of the cloning that is going on in that genre will appreciate something like this that offers more depth. We’ll have to see what happens.

There’s a few things. For example, I’d love to have made a random scenario generator. That is an important feature for hard-core players. We’d maybe like to release these as extras in the future, but not just yet. That might be looking a bit too far away. We’ll see what happens. Being honest it all comes down to how many game units have been sold. Plus, we’ve been working on this for so long, if anyone came up and asked us to do more it’d be like ‘No more!’

In terms of turn-based games, there are a few competitors that fall into the same category but the gameplay is different. Mainly I suppose there’s the add-on pack that will be out the same time. Plus, we’ll get competition from games like Cities XXL, but there is always this competition around the season.

Mainly the sheer size of the project. There’s so much customization, and although it’s very complex we’ve also added a tutorial to guide people in. We also really tried to get, in the sense of novels, this epic storyline feel. Console play would be very hard, so probably not. Even RTS games like Command and Conquer don’t translate extremely well to consoles. The mouse is not standard for those games. Also, SimCity Buildit will run in a very high resolution, which is very nice to see. On console all the little details would be lost. It’s not likely — I’m not saying no, but I’d certainly say it’s not likely.

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