Monte Cristo has decided to suspend the Planet Offer of Cities XL - the massively multiplayer, subscription-charging mode of the city-building game - because it didn't attract enough players.
City-building games are, for some reason, always welcome chez Rossignol. I'm not sure quite what it is about them, but the idea of constructing a vast, smelly metropolis somehow grips me, every time. So approaching Cities XL was definitely done with some enthusiasm: a fancy-looking city-builder with some new ideas, it fills a lot left vacant for some time now.
The concept is neat, too: the merger of the traditional city-builder - founded and developed by the SimCity games and expanded elsewhere - with the internet. Cities XL does provide an offline city-building game, but it also offers the player an option of going online and take their city-management escapades into "planet mode", where you populate worlds alongside other players, and take your work into a global economy. Ambitious stuff.
But let's start off with the fundamentals: the game as city-builder. The mechanical processes of putting a city together are solid - the maps are just about large enough, and the terrain can look fairly beautiful on a high-end PC. The construction is straightforward too: roads are placed with an elegant three-click system, although bridges are ludicrously fiddly to erect. Almost everything else is simply placed down with the same three clicks, and once you've selected the road formation from the menu, you zone your real estate. You can use this to create American-style strip blocks or rather more spidery formations as you see fit.
Atari becomes Bandai Namco Partners today and pin-points some release dates in the process.
French indie Monte Cristo has revealed the subscription rates for the optional massively multiplayer component of its forthcoming city-builder, Cities XL.
Monte Cristo has opened beta registration for its intriguing hybrid of city-building game and MMO, Cities XL.
You can sign up at the Cities XL website.
The developer has kindly offered a code for Eurogamer readers that will give you "a better chance of getting on the beta". Just enter "EURCXLBR" in the promo code field on the registration page when signing up.
Once, on my way back from a Starfox Armada preview, I was shot at by a frog flying a spaceship. Okay: that isn't entirely true - but I did get lost in London on my way to check out Monte Cristo's new urban planning MMO, Cities XL.
Cities XL is not an MMO game in the traditional sense of the term - but then, it's not traditional. Its ambitious aim is to exist simultaneously as an ordinary, offline, single-player city-building simulator, and online as a massively multiplayer version of the same thing, maintaining a completely player-dependent global economy and a community big and dedicated enough to make it work.