Word is spreading online that Maxis is developing SimCity 5, without series creator Will Wright. The game is reportedly only 30 percent done, some concept art was made available but in-game screenshots aren't available yet. Slated for a 2013 launch, SimCity 5 will deliver a a more advanced graphics engine and a multiplayer mode.
If accurate, the new engine allows you to pan in close enough to read the signs on stores, or zoom out for a more traditional SimCity overhead view. Those buildings will be upgraded as you progress; catching 10 criminals upgrades the police station, for example. Roads can actually wind instead of being locked to a stiff grid, and you'll find complex relationships between various factors like population density and land value. Keeping an eye on crime will help quell the risk of fire and increase the value of land. Events in your city will be reported in the local newspaper in both single- and multiplayer.
That multiplayer mode lets you manage your areas cooperatively, and visit friends' cities to share resources and territory. You can visit a fellow player's City Hall to make an agreement that will spur job growth. The game will also offer global leaderboards for factors like economics or production of raw materials.