SimCity Boss On Game's Failure: 'This Is On Maxis. We Own It.'

After fielding some 1900 questions in a 45-minute Twitter Q&A, Maxis, the maker of SimCity, directly answered about eight regarding the game, which has been inaccessible to many since it released last week.

"This is on Maxis," said Lucy Bradshaw, the studio's boss, in response to a customer's allegation that publisher Electronic Arts required SimCity to always connect to the game's servers, even for the fundamentally singleplayer modes of the city-building simulation. "EA does not force design upon us," she said. "We own it, we are working 24/7 to fix it, and we are making progress."

Additionally, Bradshaw said Maxis more than doubled its server capacity on Friday and added more today. But again, it's "just not possible" to let the game revert to an offline, singleplayer mode because, as has been said before, SimCity depends heavily on cloud computing, taking place on a computer other than the gamer's, to run the simulation.

The remainder of her responses debunked previous rumours that EA's Origin service would ban someone who demanded a refund, and pleaded with customers to stick with the game.

"Anything you would like to say to die hard fans of the franchise who will not buy this game due to a tarnished image?" asked @AAPL_Geek.

"I sure hope that after we right this ship, you will give the game a try. It is really good, worthy of the brand!" Bradshaw replied.


    Honestly, I think Lucy Bradshaw should be commended for her dealings with this situation. You'll find it hard pressed these days to have someone who has a significant position within a developer taking charge of the backlash and talking with the fans.

      Haha - heeey, Teemo is my main, nobody else is allowed to play him.

      Seriously? What she's doing is a necessity. Framing this as a, "oh, at least she's courteous enough to speak to the fans" isn't exactly bless worthy.

      It's like saying a drunk driver hit and killed a person "but at least he's sorry about it."

      I realise the damage isn't as fatal as that, but let's be honest, the fires are spreading, and she's doing what she can to keep up. She's got no other option.

        Yeah, and it's not exactly like she's giving any new information either. A chatbot could do the same thing.

        IF complaint(*single-player*) THEN response(server-calculation-bullshit)

        Get an overly-cheerful script-writer and you're set.

          That sounds like a language I would like to learn to code in ha ha

    Funny, I could have sworn my connection to the Sim City servers were lost, the game was carrying on fine.

      yeah mine constantly loses connection then regains it while im playing with no issues.

      I've noticed a number of simulated elements where the data itself seems to freeze even though the game keeps animating it when the server connection is lost. There does appear to be at least some reliance on the server side for updated data, though how much is unclear.

    So Maxis have been making Sim City for a while now, it's kind of their thing.
    Did they not consider that people would get mad about online only? Did they not learn at all from the industry around them?

      I suppose in their mind, they thought it wouldn't be a failed launch, they got the game right for what it is.

      Everyone always thinks they can do it better than the last guy. They will have had this planned before Diablo 3, but even when that had some troubles they would have looked at it and said "that won't happen to us, our plans are better". Instead, whoever got blamed at Blizzard for Diablo 3's early issues is going around saying now "YOU SEE HOW BAD IT COULD HAVE BEEN? We did WAY better!"

        Online games have server issues at launch, they always have. Blizzard's handling of the Diablo 3 server issues was solid, despite the ongoing perception, with the majority of issues solved in the first day and the servers working for everyone within two. My issue with EA isn't that they made an online game and ballsed up the first two days, it's that they ballsed up almost the full first week. To me, that shows that while Blizzard had extra servers ready to go in case shit hit the fan, EA had no contingency plans whatsoever to handle if their servers weren't up to scratch.

        Server issues for an online launch, I can tolerate. Lack of planning for a contingency that should have been seen as inevitable is much less tolerable.

          I'd say it was pretty far from "solid". People were having big problems with D3 more than a week after launch.....just because you didn't encounter them doesn't mean others didn't.

            If I only used my own input to come to that conclusion you might be right, but fortunately I didn't.

              Then I have to wonder what input you did use, because there don't seem to be many people who agree with your assessment

                This thread isn't really going anywhere, but I usually use the internet for input on things like this. There was an exception in certain parts of Europe (and caused by third party datacenter issues, not software or provisioning issues), which I didn't mention in my original post, so I suppose the word 'everyone' wasn't strictly true. Replace with 'the vast majority' if you prefer.

                Last edited 13/03/13 9:42 am

                  Fair enough. I just hope they all learn that 'always connected DRM' can cost as many sales as piracy.

                  Last edited 13/03/13 9:59 am

          My issue with Sim City is the same issue it was for D3. They made a single-player game I enjoyed, then made the sequel an always-online for absolutely no benefit to me, but instead a shitload of downsides that didn't exist before. Worse, because they're apparently worried about piracy. Jesus fucking Christ, I've probably only bought Diablo 2 + expansions three times (lost CD keys/scratched discs, etc), I guess that's not enough in this digital age.

          Fuck these people, they'll get just as much callous disrespect and disdain from me as they show to me with their corporate-mandated design choices.

    Maxis take responsibility for failed Maxis game..... stop the presses.

    I just don't get why Maxis couldn't have taken a few clues from the wide diversity of MMOs that have encountered and solved these problems over the previous 15 years.

    It's absurd that we should encounter this kind of issue when there are tens of millions of MMO gamers not experiencing them every day. It's the 21st century for Gods sake!

    “EA does not force design upon us,”
    I'm sure they don't make things pleasant for you if you ignore them either.

      Hasn't there been enough anonymous interviews with developers and ex-developers to assure us that the publisher will almost always force design decisions upon them.

        Exactly. Whether or not they technically forced them, if EA is funding and publishing your product and they say jump...

      Yeah that doesn't sound like EA at all. It's pretty much common knowledge that EA loves to "encourage" it's developers to make design changes like the dumbing down and introduction of micro-transactions in Dead Space 3.

      Mind you, they're talking about the people who pay their salary ....their "Boss" if you will, and people in that position are hardly likely to say "Yeah we didn't want to, but they made us do it".

    While the design and back end of the game is Maxis, aren't the servers that are used for the game owned and maintained by EA?

    As many of you may be aware, Lucy Bradshaw is a woman. A HUMAN woman. In fact, there's nary a single raccoon or beaver operating in the upper echelons of both Maxis and EA. Beavers and Raccoons have long been the subject of discrimination in the workplace and guess what; people noticed.

      Heeey this isn't a Hernandez article! Your discrimination facts still stand, however.

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