SimCity beta begins this weekend

Posted by CB Droege

The reboot of the classic city management sim is ready to test.

Sim game fans have been looking forward to a new SimCity for a long time, especially after the utter failure of SimCity Societies. And while potential players may not be looking forward to having to play on Origin, it’s still one of the most anticipated games of the year.

While its official launch is still a couple months away, a few lucky gamers will get the opportunity to play the game early in a closed beta event this weekend.

Selected participants will get to play the game for a one-hour no-saves session. They can play that hour as many times as they like, but they can get no further. The test will give some feedback to the developers regarding server load and getting it out to a wide variety of players with different levels of hardware will help them see if there will be any compatibility issues between the game’s engine and any specific hardware set-ups.
In addition, devs will be be testing the game’s online capabilities, including multi-player connectivity and cloud-saving.

Sim City is EA’s attempt to bring the classic game 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. 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. The new game just does this automatically.

Other features include more variety in nearly every facet, which is unsurprising, and a much more granular simulation, which I didn’t expect at first, but that I really like. There is actual environment simulation, and the residents and businesses are individually simulated, rather than running the world on algorithms.

Also, of course, there are the spectacular visuals, best appreciated when everything goes to hell.

SimCity is slated to hit the shelves in March 2013. EA’s Origin will be required to play. The game can be preordered now over on Amazon. You can sign up for the closed beta over on the game’s official website.