Video: SimCity prepares for disaster

Posted by CB Droege

EA has posted a video for its upcoming city-builder simulation that showcases the natural, and not-so-natural disasters set to be unleashed in the game. 

After the failure that was Simcity Societies - the first game in the franchise not developed by Maxis - EA is rebooting the franchise, and taking it back to its roots, while simultaneously expanding the technological edge significantly. To this end, they've handed the reins back over to the development studio who handled some of the greatest simulation games of the genre, Maxis.

Some clear differences to note between the previous SimCity games (societies doesn't count) and this one include the more organic nature of the city layout.

This has been happening slowly since the first Simcity which was on a strict grid, and each iteration since has been a bit more granular in the way roads and rail can be laid out. Also, a lot of the manual labor of the game has been removed. If you played any of the previous games, you eventually learned that the only water strategy that makes sense is to simply run water pipes under all of the roads as a way to get water to all properties.

Of course there are a lot more building types, road types, transportation methods, and pretty much everything else - in keeping with the granular theme noted above.

In addition, there is actual environment simulation, and the residents and businesses are individually simulated, rather than running the world on algorithms. This makes it somehow a little more sad when disasters strike. In the past, a disaster was simply a wreck among the algorithms, which dipped population numbers and caused buildings to have to be rebuilt. Now that each individual sim is tracked and simulated, one will be able to see lives effected by these disasters that one may have been keeping track of, by name, since birth.

Imagine: A fire breaks out in a high-rise downtown, and the firefighters can't make it in time. The building burns to the ground, killing all those inside. In SimCity 4, this would only mean that the skyscraper would have to be rebuilt, which the player/mayor doesn't even have to pay for. In the new game, where each person in the city is individually tracked, you'll see a more granular impact; people who weren't in the building at the time, or who escaped the fire will be out of work for a time at least, and they won't be paying taxes. Some houses in the suburbs will go abandoned or go up for sale as the person living there has passed on or the family can't afford to live there anymore.

This new video goes over how the disasters work, and what some of the disaster options are, alongside some further explanation of some other features:

SimCity is slated to hit the shelves in March 2013. The game can be preordered over on the official website. Unfortunately, it's looking like EA's Origin distribution platform will be required to play.