SimCity Societies

It also makes them Obedient - note the capital O. Attitude Adjustment Centers, Secret Police, and Ministries of Thought all boost your people's Obedience, and building enough of them will even start to color your city. Your buildings become taller and more austere, lampposts have security cameras fitted, everything else gets painted gray, and finally the sky itself bleakens to reflect your city's mood - or lack thereof. Soon Men in Black are rounding up your most creative and happy Sims and "neutralizing" them.

Obedience is one of six Societal Energies the game models - along with Industry, Wealth, Creativity, Devotion and Knowledge - each of which is useful to keep your people going through the daily grind. So the game, you might think, is a case of balancing these different needs of your people to keep your city running. Nope. Societies is being made by Caesar IV developers Tilted Mill, and that was a game in which there was a visual overlay mode to see the infrastructure pathways from each of your citizen's homes to shrines of each of the nine deities they had to worship every day. They are, if anything, even geekier than Maxis. But far from bringing that taxing nerdiness to the already very technical SimCity series, they're rebelling against it.

Societies' complexity is under the hood, and tinkering with it to get the most horsepower out of your city is a fine art - but not a compulsory one. You don't lose the game if one of these Societal Energies drops too low; your city just becomes less efficient for a while. Tilted Mill wants to move away from the management model where the player spends all his time trying to keep the scales perfectly balanced. They'd rather give you more breathing room for creative expression and fun, instead.