An anonymous source who worked on SimCity has said that the game's controversial always-on requirements aren't required for the game to function and that implementing an offline mode "wouldn't take very much engineering."
Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun, the source said that Maxis' claim of SimCity requiring its servers to compute important information outside of the game's connected social features was untrue.
"The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing," reports the source. "They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they're doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they're not doing anything. I have no idea why they're claiming otherwise."
SimCity requires a constant connection to its servers in order to function.
Previously, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw said in an interview with Polygon that "we offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud."
Responding to Bradshaw's claim, the anonymous source says that "it's possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I'm clueless."
The source also details that SimCity's servers actually take several minutes to process information back to the user. "This is why they disabled Cheetah mode, by the way, to reduce by half the number of updates coming into the queue," the source adds.
SimCity's online requirement saw the game's launch last week mired by connectivity issues, with many users unable to play at all for the first few days. Maxis has repeatedly maintained that it wouldn't be possible to easily implement an offline mode without hobbling the game.
The anonymous Maxis source, however, reports that a SimCity offline mode wouldn't actually require that much work. "It wouldn't take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff."