EA revives Sim City for 2013 launch — with curvy roads

Electronic Arts announced tonight that it will bring the beloved franchise SimCity back with a new game scheduled for launch in 2013.

The game will give fans of the long-dormant franchise — and there are probably tens of millions of them — something to look forward to. SimCity and its variants have sold 30 million copies since 1989.

Lucy Bradshaw, head of the EA Play label, said in a press conference at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, that you can wield much more power over everything from individuals in the game to the global label.

“We will do this with the Maxis tradition of playing with a sandbox,” she said. “It is a game first and foremost.”

The game will have a new physics engine that will “blow your minds” in case you want to set loose a dinosaur in your city. You can connect cities with your friends, but if you pollute your air, the neighboring cities will suffer. You can also go online and compare your city with those created by players around the world. EA’s Maxis division is responsible for making the game.

The company didn’t show game play, but it did unveil a trailer for the game. The title will feature ultra-realistic graphics with simulated people, cool-looking water, skyscrapers with reflective windows, fog, clouds, and everything else that a modern graphics engine can deliver. The game will be in full 3D graphics.

The game will also teach social responsibility, so EA announced the game alongside an event promoting the charity Games for Change. If you run out of resources in the game, the logical consequences will follow. That’s an environmental message aimed at teaching everyone about scarcity and trade-offs. You could still build your dream city, but it may be costly for the environment.

“To me, that is as exciting as it is profound,” said Davis Guggenheim, creator of An Inconvenient Truth, in an interview on stage at the event.

On a lighter note, Bradshaw said the game will feature curved roads as she showed a picture of San Francisco’s Lombard Street, the world’s most crooked street. Past veterans from SimCity 2000 and SimCity 4 will be working on the game. (They’re the ones who made the roads all straight).