Servers don't handle any of the computation done to simulate the city.
SimCity could be made into an offline game with very little engineering, a Maxis insider has told Rock Paper Shotgun.
Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw had earlier explained that servers were absolutely essential in the operation of the game, noting: "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."
Bradshaw added: "It wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team."
That all seemed pretty clear cut, but a Maxis source has told RPS that this simply isn't the case.
"The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing," the source explained. "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."
In fact, "it wouldn't take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff", the source concluded.
In the wake of the SimCity server issues EA has launched a Server Status website which is currently showing the all clear.
EA is yet to offer a comment on the insider's claim.