Why SimCity Social is 'social city building 2.0' on Facebook [Interview]
"We're offering an all-new experience for players for building: social city building 2.0," SimCity Social producer Pete Lake tells us of EA's next big Facebook game. A tad grandiose, but Lake's claim is a fitting one. Playfish and Maxis aren't reinventing the city-builder on Facebook by any stretch of the means. They want to give the genre a much-needed upgrade.
The number one social game on Facebook for what seemed like forever was industry leader Zynga's crown jewel, CityVille. But since the city simulator fell to second place--to a poker game of all things--the validity of Facebook's ever-popular city-builder genre is now in suspect. That's either brilliant or terrible timing on EA and Playfish's part, but depends entirely on the execution. According to Lake, there are two ways that SimCity Social will give the genre a version update, as it were.
"One is [that] you're building these cities that are full of life and soul," Lake says. "As in the classic SimCity games, you're not placing every single building yourself. You're growing your city over time [all the way] down to the way you want your houses. They will grow and reflect the population that's moving into your city."
Lake promises that the way in which players build their cities is more organic than in previous city-building games. By placing attractions and decorations in your city, more visitors become citizens. As your city's population grows, unfortunate events will begin to occur, like fires, crime and health scares, that only you can fix. Or not--it's entirely up to you, but you'll have to deal with the consequences.
"The citizens in your city will react to the way you're acting as a mayor. I can try and make them happy and build parks, so maybe I want to clean up the buildings, or maybe I want to build a fire station--or not," Lake explains. "That's visualized in the lives and reactions that you see minute to minute in the city, and you see the little Sims. If they're happy, they'll come out and start cheering and [throw] parades for you. If they're miserable, you'll soon know about it as well"
SimCity Social players that prefer to be a benevolent mayor will earn rewards and content that's different from those those opt to run their city as a tyrannical mayor. For instance, evil mayors will earn buildings and decorations that show as much. In fact, the idea is for players to create a city that matches their personalities. The same goes for how players interact with their fellow mayors, a nod taken from EA's very own The Sims Social.
"You can visit your friends ... and you can interact with them in a number of different ways, whether you want to be good or a little more mischievous. So, I can go [place] cars or I can go and help plant trees in the park," Lake explains. "These actions then build over time to form solid, lasting, changeable relationships with my friends. And all through this we're unlocking new rewards and special gifts that we can then send to each other."
"With social city building 2.0, [we're] offering players a way to interact with their friends in a city-playing game in a way they never have before. The city will react and live full of life and soul as they've never seen." We'll just see about that when SimCity Social launches on Facebook in "a matter of weeks."
Are you excited about SimCity Social on Facebook? Do you expect this to revitalize city building on Facebook? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.