Well, that was fast. For some time now, Maxis has claimed that to turn off two of the biggest dings against SimCity, those being the persistent online connection and the small city lot sizes, would require an extensive engineering effort to replace. As this video shows, however, it's only a matter of accessing a debug menu before you can play offline indefinitely and modify the region's highway structure. Maxis, you have some 'splainin' to do!
If you were trying to play the game last week, you may have encountered moments where the game let you play despite a dropped connection to the servers, yet somehow your city was unscathed when you returned. As it turns out, it appears that there's an arbitrary twenty minute limit before the game simply boots you that's not tied to any internet recovery tool at all. To think that I had defended Maxis and given them the benefit of the doubt when it came to these matters. I truly believed them when they said it was really some kind of hefty thing to change these things. Per the video, you still aren't able to build any other structures outside of your city's defined area, but it might simply be a matter of time before that's figured out, too. Maxis and EA had no comment about the matter when Eurogamer contacted them.