Electronic Arts has made it official - SimCity is back.
The announcement of a new SimCity isn't a complete surprise, as rumors of the game first bubbled up back at the end of February when a couple of European outlets reported that Maxis was working on a new addition to the franchise. And while the new SimCity looks an awful lot like the old SimCity in many ways - build a city, make it grow and then, hopefully, do awful things to it - it's also quite clearly moved light years beyond its predecessors.
The huge growth in computing power over the decade since the release of the last game in the series - SimCity 4 in 2003 - means that SimCity will be able to do things that developers of previous iterations could only dream of. The game will be a "full, bottom-up simulation," according to Creative Director Ocean Quigley, and based on the look of the announcement trailer the level of detail will be nothing short of astonishing.
Lead Producer Kip Katsarelis also confirmed that the game will, as rumored, support multiplayer action. "This is the first truly multiplayer SimCity," he said. "What makes the multiplay unique is that cities are actually connected, so the choices that you're making at the city level have a rippling effect across the region and the greater SimCity world."
In a bit of a surprise twist, SimCity - no numbers or anything, by the way, just SimCity - will be a PC exclusive, but alas you will not be able to import your Sims 3 sims into the game; Maxis wants the focus of the game to be on "the soul of the city" and control of "the greater landscape [rather] than the individual sim." SimCity isn't scheduled to come out until 2013, but you can get a heads-up on what's in store now at simcity.com.