SimCity’s always-online requirement is in service of gameplay, according to Maxis’ general manager Lucy Bradshaw.

The Internet-only nature of the game allowed for a choice of how people played it – connected with friends or solo – she said.

“I think the opportunities it affords in terms of gameplay are so significant, that if we’re not going to push in that space and stay on these little self-contained islands that we’re not going to explore new gameplay,” said Bradshaw.

“I think that what we wanted to do was give SimCity a context. In the past Sim Cities were these kind of isolated little islands, they had their own closed economies. What we wanted to do was put you, in a sense, where you had kind of motivation and purpose and context.”

The recent Diablo III launch debacle and the occasional failure of other always-on servers didn’t faze the Maxis boss.

“I think that’s why we have to be really, really good about the service that we provide. Electronic Arts is investing quite a bit in making sure we’re locked and loaded,” she said.

“If you’ve seen some of our recent launches they’ve been really quite flawless. Battlefield had huge amounts of players and stayed extremely stable, and think SWTOR was one of the most absolutely stable MMO launches.

“I don’t want people to have to tolerate bad connection or downtime. The asynchronous multiplayer aspect to what we’re doing allows us to be very graceful in how we address any kind of hitches,” said Bradshaw.

SimCity will maintain its connection through EA’s Origin service, and is due out on PC in February 2013.