Remember when EA told us all that SimCity wouldn't function without an internet connection? That's not strictly true, and a clever modder has seemingly proven as much.
Since its retail debut, SimCity has been widely harangued for its lack of functionality. The problem stems from the game's ostensible requirement that all players must have an active connection to the internet to enjoy what would otherwise be seen as a largely single player experience. This idea has been slammed over and over again by fans and critics ever since it was first revealed, but EA and developer Maxis stuck by their story, claiming that the internet connectivity was both necessary and beneficial to players.
Of course, once the game was released and EA's servers buckled under the strain of people simply trying to enjoy their newly-purchased game, the online requirement quickly became a noose around the title's neck. Despite this, EA continued to beat the same drum, saying all the problems would disappear once the server issues have been sorted out.
Unwilling to let a new game go to waste, a modder calling him or herself "UKAzzer" decided to do something about EA's scheme. By accessing SimCity's "secret" debug mode, UKAzzer was able to negate the game's prompts demanding players connect to the 'net. Normally after 20 minutes without an internet connection the game would boot players back to the main menu. As you can witness in a video UKAzzer uploaded to YouTube (see above), by removing the prompts, UKAzzer has effectively removed the game's online connectivity requirements.
Further, UKAzzer was also able to edit his or her city's freeway system in ways that the game normally wouldn't allow you to do. It's a neat trick, but it pales in comparison to the removal of the frustrating online issues.
Combined with the news we reported recently on a Maxis employee who claimed that the online scheme simply isn't necessary, this video drives home the point that SimCity does not inherently require an internet connection. EA has yet to officially comment on this (and our inquiries were met with a boilerplate "no comment), but we don't expect the company to reverse its stance on the game's most controversial feature.