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Remember when SimCity ABSOLUTELY HAD to be online? Not any more – fancy that!

Offline mode returns to historically offline game

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Gamers will soon be able to play Maxis's SimCity offline – despite the company's earlier insistence that the game absolutely had to be connected to the internet to work.

The turnaround was announced by Maxis studio manager Patrick Buechner in a blogpost on Sunday. He said Update 10 for the latest installment of the long-running urban modeling game series will include an exciting feature known as "Offline Play." This revolutionary technology lets a game work without a connection to the cloud!

Careful observers may remember that when the always-online, always-connected SimCity launched early last year, the cloud servers it relied on flaked out, rendering it unplayable. In response, Amazon temporarily yanked the game from its store after receiving more than 800 one-star reviews for the lobotomized game.

Maxis, meanwhile, insisted that the online components were fundamental to the game, and claimed at first that it simply wouldn't be possible to run the game offline.

Soon after that an enterprising bod ginned up a hack that let the game run offline. The next day Maxis published a blog on the topic: "Always-Connected and why SimCity is not offline experience."

In that blog post Maxis argued that the always-online component was not "a clandestine strategy to control players" (though it did serve as a form of digital rights management to combat piracy), and that the game "made innovative use of servers to move aspects of the simulation into the cloud to support region play and social features."

As many pointed out at the time, it was hard to see why Maxis didn't simply lop off the "region play" and "social features" for a less complex, local-only variant. Maxis did not respond to queries from The Register on this subject.

Now, about 10 months later, Maxis has brought the game offline.

"All of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection," the Maxis manager wrote. "Keep an eye out for more information on Offline shortly. We'll be releasing more information on how it all works." ®

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