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Cities XL
File:Cities XL.jpg
Developer(s) Monte Cristo
Publisher(s) Monte Cristo
Series Cities XL
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • AUS October 8, 2009
  • EU October 8, 2009
  • NA October 9, 2009
Genre(s) City-building game, massively multiplayer online game
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Script error

Cities XL (originally Cities Unlimited) is a city-building computer game developed by Monte Cristo as a sequel to their earlier game City Life. It was originally scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2009, but was eventually released on October 8, 2009.[1][2] The game allowed players to play online and interact with others on massive persistent planets, and to work together by trading resources or building blueprints in order to satisfy the needs of city inhabitants. However, on March 8, 2010 the online service was closed and the game became single-player only.

Focus Home Interactive acquired the franchise in June 2010 and released Cities XL 2011 on October 14, 2010.[3] The third installment, Cities XL Platinum, was released on February 14, 2013. A new version, Cities XXL, was announced on November 15, 2014, and released on February 5, 2015.[4]

Gameplay

Beginnings as MMO

Cities XL allowed players an option to play on a persistent online virtual community known as a planet which required a monthly subscription fee. As a member of a planet, players were able to build their cities in a virtual world populated by other subscribers, trade resources such as electricity with other players, work together to create structures such as the Eiffel Tower, and visit other cities as an avatar and host events.

On January 27, 2010 Monte Cristo announced due to a low subscription rate they would be closing the multiplayer online service, and they did so on March 8, 2010. A patch was released on the same day allowing players to use buses in single-player mode, as they had previously only been available in multiplayer mode.[5]

Zoning

File:Cities Unlimited.jpg

The game offers the designation of three types of building lots: residential, commercial and industrial, each of which can have a different density. Residential lots are furthermore distinguished by four social classes: unskilled workers, skilled workers, executives, and elites. Before designating building lots, players are required to select which class of residents may live there. The social class chosen for a lot will not be modified by the simulation.

To create building lots, players can zone an area of the map in which, upon confirmation, individual building lots will be created by the game. Players can also plop building lots individually. A Mass Placement Tool has been announced in previews allowing players to select tags that define what categories of buildings they want to see created when outlining an area of lots.[6]

Transport

Cities XL allows players to create a road network of a variety of road types at many different angles and curvatures. Bridges and tunnels are also part of the simulator. Other transport options that were planned to be included in the game were trains, ferries and subways.[7] An add-on introducing buses to the game was released in December 2009.[8]

Gameplay Extension Modules

An unimplemented feature known as Gameplay Extension Modules (GEMs),[9] also referred to as Game Enhancement Modules,[10] were features, such as a ski resort or a beach, that would have been implemented into a city and managed in extra detail by the player. For example, in a ski resort GEM, it would have been possible to add ski lifts, restaurants, shelters, and ski-trails. It was planned that when a player was managing a GEM the main city simulation was stopped, but successful management of GEMs could help enhance a city.[11]

Development

Terrain

File:Cities XL world screenshot.jpg

The terrain is composed of height maps, textures and a normal map. Instead of creating new tools, Monte Cristo relies on existing third-party tools like EarthSculptor, World Machine and GeoControl to generate unique realistic terrain before importing it into their terrain-editing software. In addition, middleware like SpeedTree has also been used for in-game afforestation. In an interview on September 11, 2007 Philippe Da Silva announced that Cities XL would include a large variety of maps and landscapes, which would allow players a greater depth with the types of cities they wanted to create.[12] A pre-released screen shot of an Aspen map confirmed that Cities XL would include snowy landscapes.

3D engine

Monte Cristo has made a 3D engine that allows lower-range PCs to run the game. The player may not have all the graphic options fully turned on but still get better quality visuals than City Life.

Release

In June 2007, a screenshot of a new city building game from Monte Cristo was posted in Philippe Da Silva's personal blog.[13] However, it was later revealed in a community website interview that it would not be called City Life 2, and was initially named Cities Unlimited to avoid confusion.[14] On April 15, 2008 it was announced that Cities Unlimited official game title would be Cities XL.[15] The game was released on October 8, 2009 in Oceania and in Europe, and on October 9, 2009 in North America.[1][2] Two different versions of the game were released, a standard edition and a limited edition. The limited edition contained extra content including additional landmarks, additional maps, and a poster.[16] A demo was also previously available.[17]

During the development of Cities XL, Monte Cristo maintained a developer blog and internet forums on their main website. Prior to the game's release, both the blog and user forum were closed and removed from public view. The company had stated that the community was not to worry, as they have "saved all of the good posts", and would continue to maintain a presence on websites such as Simtropolis.[18]

Monte Cristo shut down in May 2010 following poor sales of Cities XL.[19]

Cities XL 2011

Template:Main

On June 25, 2010 it was announced that Focus Home Interactive had acquired the Cities XL franchise, and that a new version of Cities XL titled Cities XL 2011 would be released on October 14, 2010. New features included more buildings and maps, improved public transport, an enhanced tax system, and better trading options.[3]

Cities XL 2012

Template:Main

On July 11, 2011 the franchise's developers announced a new version of Cities XL titled Cities XL 2012. It became available on October 20, 2011 as a standalone game.[20] The new version includes new structures, new maps, a starter guide, opens the game to modding and allows players to share their mods. It is fully compatible with Cities XL 2011 version with a discounted upgrade available.[21] It was also simultaneously released as an expansion pack or update of Cities XL 2011.[22]

Cities XL Platinum

Cities XL Platinum was released on the February 6, 2013, an expansion pack for Cities XL 2012 which adds 50 new buildings and new maps.

Cities XXL

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On February 5, 2015 the franchise's developers released a new version of Cities XL titled Cities XXL. It features enhanced logic, and a few new buildings, with a new style for the user interface.

Reception

Template:Video game reviews

Cities XL received average reviews.[23] IGN described the game as having "pushed the genre in the right direction" with its "friendlier learning curve" compared to the SimCity series. The review praised the ability to add curved roads, and the "gorgeous" graphics, however, the multiplayer feature was described as "shallow" and the subscription cost was questioned.[24]

GameSpot praised Cities XL for "taking a city builder online", but described the multiplayer feature as "limited and overpriced", and the single-player mode as an "afterthought". The review criticised the limited trading options in single-player mode and commented that the graphics were "bland".[25] 1UP.com also criticised the trading features of the game, and while the review did describe the graphics as "fantastic", it concluded that Cities XL was being "dragged down" by a lack of features.[26] Aggregate review websites give scores of 68.27% on GameRankings,[27] and 69 (out of 100) on Metacritic.[23]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 CITIES XL. Gamesindustry.biz (2009-10-08). Retrieved on 2009-10-11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 News Staff (2009-07-17). Cities XL PC release date confirmation. GamingExcellence. Retrieved on 2009-10-08.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Focus Home Interactive announces Cities XL 2011. Focus Home Interactive (2010-07-04). Retrieved on 2010-09-21.
  4. Template:Citation/make link. Facebook. 15 November 2014. https://www.facebook.com/citiesxl/photos/a.443000032579.245539.14668807579/10153050020132580/?type=1. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  5. Faylor, Chris (2010-01-27). Cities XL Multiplayer Shutting Down. Shacknews. Retrieved on 2010-09-24.
  6. GamingShogun Talks Cities XL with Patrick Marchal of Monte Cristo. GamingShogun (2008-08-05). Retrieved on 2009-09-08.
  7. Dirk (2009-09-23). Interview with Monte Cristo. Simtropolis. Retrieved on 2009-09-24.
  8. Callaham, John (2009-12-08). Take the bus in Cities XL's new free content pack. Big Download. Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
  9. Monte Cristo Cities XL review. Expert reviews (2010-01-06). Retrieved on 2010-09-24.
  10. Campos, Jason (2008-08-26). Cities XL First Look. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-07-09.
  11. Dirk (2009-04-24). CitiesXL First Impressions. Simtropolis. Retrieved on 2009-10-02.
  12. Jirnsum (2007-09-11). SIMphoni Exclusive! Veil Slowly Lifts on Cities Unlimited. SIMphoni. Retrieved on 2009-04-18.
  13. Philippe Da Silva (2007-06-11). City Builder games, where should the genre go?. Philippe Da Silva. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved on 2009-04-18.
  14. Cities XL Q&A. Simtropolis (2009-04-23). Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  15. CITIES XL. Gamesindustry.biz (2007-04-17). Retrieved on 2007-04-18.
  16. Schuster, Shawn (2009-08-09). Cities XL Limited Edition box contents revealed. Massively. Retrieved on 2010-09-24.
  17. Think massive, think online, think Cities XL. Gamers Hell (2009-09-01). Retrieved on 2010-09-24.
  18. Mathew (2009-09-03). Simtropolis - Cities XL website - first impressions. Monte Cristo. Retrieved on 2009-10-10.
  19. Priest, Simon (May 28, 2010). Cities XL developer Monte Cristo Games closes doors "this week". StrategyInformer. Retrieved on September 25, 2010.
  20. [1] Cities Xl 2012, Release Date
  21. Cities XL 2012 unveiled with. images!. Cities XL Official Website (13 July 2011). Retrieved on 11 October 2011.
  22. Cities XL Download Center. Cities XL Official Website. Retrieved on October 11, 2011.
  23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Metacritic
  24. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named IGN
  25. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GameSpot
  26. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 1UP
  27. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GameRankings

External links


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