Earlier this week concept images for what were purported to be SimCity 5 hit the Internet and raised the hopes of many of us of a certain age. For those two young to know, SimCity is a city-building simulation computer game. The last version, SimCity 4, was released in 2003. The game allows you to build terrains, layout a city, and micro-manage it as the city’s mayor. Think Minecraft, minus the creepers, and add a team of advisors that constantly complain about things like air pollution, education funding, traffic congestion and power consumption.
Forbes reports SimCity 5, scheduled to be released in 2013, will take on an environmental slant:
Online and social elements where if you put a lot of polluting power plants near your borders, your friends might start to get some smoke rolling into their suburbs. You might even start to contribute to global CO2 levels.
Watch a city outgrow its power supply in this trailer for SimCity 5
News of SimCity 5 was announced as part of the Game Developer's Conference "Games for Change" track. According to Kotau, this new feature that takes the environmental impact of your city is called "Social Flow." The term describes how the choices and advancements you make in your city will affect neighboring cities.
While the ability to customize buildings looks interesting, I hope the game takes organic farming into consideration. Trying to build a bucolic farming community in SimCity 4 was nearly impossible because farms polluted surrounding lakes and rivers. I hope MAXIS realizes it doesn't have to be that way anymore.