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Cities XL
is a city-building computer game for PC developed originally by Monte Cristo, and currently unsupported though the franchise is in the hands of Focus home Interactive. The game allows the player to create and manage cities, keep its economy running and care for the needs of the citizens. Monte Cristo released the game on October 9th 2009. In late 2010 Focus Home released Cities XL 2011, an expansion converting the game into fully Single player. Cities XL 2012 - an Expansion pack for CXL 2011 was released in October 2011.


The game contains these features:

  • 62 maps (30 in the original base game, 35 in Limited Edition, 50 in Planet Offer, 62 in CXL 2012) with realistic landscape, including real-life city maps like New York and Rio de Janeiro
  • Multiple management issues to balance
  • Elaborate transport road-building system, allowing construction of curved roads, Bridges and tunnels
  • Mass-transit, including Buses (released in early 2010 as a Planet Offer Content Pack, later included in Cities XL 2011) and Metro (released in Cities XL 2011)
  • Commercial service zones (aka Retail or Shops, which also include restaurants)
  • Trading features, allowing swapping resources between cities


History

As with most games, the first media attention the game got was from leaked images. The two images emerged on a blog post of a staff member of Monte Cristo. City-building fans hyped out and unofficially dubbed the game as City Life 2. It was later revealed in an interview that the game would not be a sequel of City Life, but a completely new game. City Life was a "test" for the real thing. The game was named Cities Unlimited in June 2007 to avoid confusion. A website was launched October 13th 2007 with user forums, Q&As and a developer's blog. The developers would regularly check the forums and use or interpret the ideas and suggestions into the game. On April 15, the game's name was changed to Cities XL.


On 11 September 2007 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. Da Silva stated "We want players to be able to not only to create “classic cities” but also to specialize and build the Key West, Aspen or Detroit of this world." A pre-released screen shot of an Aspen map confirmed that Cities XL would include snowy landscapes.


The first official trailer was released on 4 June 2008. On 26 June 2008, Philippe Da Silva stated that the game was in a playable-form from merging all the development team's efforts.


In September of 2009, a free demo was available to play in order to garner support and get potential customers familiar with the game. Players had to register accounts and were limited to 7 days of play per account. This demo introduced players to the online aspect called the Planet Offer. The demo had 20% of the buildings as the main game, limited the player to 1 online city (no offline cities) at a time and each city became unplayable once the population cap of 20,00 was reached.


The game was officially released on October 9th 2009, and featured two modes: Single player, available to play offline for free, but with limited features, and the Planet Offer, an MMO-style mode where players created cities on persistent planets, were able to trade resources, create avatars and visit each other's cities, and more. Many of the most interesting features of the game were reserved for Planet offer, available on a pay-per-month basis. The main idea behind this groundbreaking approach was to allow the developers the resources to support a persistent multiplayer game, and to allow further development of the game in time. Unfortunately, the Planet Offer prove unsustainable, and after several months was officially ended. Monte Cristo announced that they are working on converting the game into fully Single player, but the company went bankrupt before they could finish the work.


Focus Home Entertainment stepped in at this point, acquiring the rights for Cities XL. They finished Monte Cristo's work and released in late 2010 Cities XL 2011. This new version is fully single player, with all features from the former Planet Offer included and modified to suit the new mode. The game also contains various content improvements, new maps, new buildings, and a new transport system - the Metro. In December 2010 a patch was released, addressing various technical issues and generally improving performance and playability.


In May 2011 information was leaked in several European online shops about a new version of Cities XL. Later Focus Home confirmed that Cities XL 2012, an expansion of CXL 2011 is in the pipelines, set for release in October/November 2011.


Cities XL 2012 was officially released in October 2011. This expansion pack adds numerous new buildings, including the Mountain and Beach packs, 15 new maps, and Tools for modding. For now there are some problems with the new content the expansion delivered, but Focus Home is working on a patch to adress all issues.




System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements

For a desktop

  • Processor : Intel Pentium 4 - 2.5 GHz (or AMD equivalent) or higher
  • Memory : 1 GB (XP), 1.5 GB (Vista)
  • Video Card: nVidia GeForce 6600 GT / ATI Radeon X1600 or higher.256 MB minimum of graphics card memory



For a laptop

  •  Processor : Intel Centrino 2 with Intel graphics accelerator
  • Memory : 1.5 GB (XP), 2.5 GB (Vista)



For every type of platforms

  • Sound : DirectX Compatible
  • DVD ROM : 2x
  • Hard Drive : 8 GB of free space
  • Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP SP3 or Microsoft Windows Vista SP1
  • DirectX : 9.0c


Recommended System Requirements

For a desktop

  • CPU : Intel Core 2 or higher
  • RAM : 1.5 GB (XP), 2 GB (Vista)
  • Video Card : nVidia GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850 or better. 512 MB VRAM or better.



For a laptop

  • Platform : Intel Centrino 2 w/ nVidia or ATI GPU w/ 512 MB VRAM
  • RAM: 1.5 GB (XP), 2.5 GB (Vista)



For every type of platforms

  • Sound : DirectX Compatible
  • DVD ROM : 2x
  • Hard Drive : 8 GB of free space
  • Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP SP3 or Microsoft Windows Vista SP1
  • DirectX : 9.0c



Further information

CITIES XL™ , formerly known as "Cities Unlimited," is a city-building game that will take the genre into the next generation. The game features a ground-breaking transportation system, allowing the creation of curved roads, bridges and tunnels with unseen before freedom, and the creation of elaborate bus and metro systems with dedicated lines. A new resource system challenges the player to produce a great variety of goods and services, all of which are needed for the various aspects of life in your cities. Players must create the right combinations of social services, leisure activities and other job opportunities within their cities in order to feed, clothe, employ and entertain their citizens. Be it planning and building a new zoo, public park, residential neighborhood or transit system - there's always a fresh and exciting challenge for would-be city managers and mayors in CITIES XL™. Rather than just stick buildings on a map and watch a city grow, players will now have to work to integrate neighborhoods and various social classes while also managing the resource supply of the city.


CITIES XL™ allows gamers to develop cities on realistic 3D maps using an incredible collection of unique structures and monuments based on American, Asian and European-influenced architectural styles. The maps feature a variety of environments: mountains, hills, canyons, beaches and islands, all set in different climates from tropical to desert, Mediterranean to temperate. Some maps are also accurate representations of real-life cities, complete with their original street networks. The game's next-generation 3D graphic engine allows for near-photo-realistic quality, which brings the city-building genre into present day visual standards..


The game’s trading features allow players to create interconnected cities on virtual and persistent planets. Mayors can specialize the economy of some cities, producing great amounts of certain resources which are then being traded to other cities with shortages. Occasionally a Megaproject will be undertaken in a city, requiring the temporary concentration of resources and time to create a Megastructure, which will then attract crowds of tourists and benefit the city in many other ways. By combining a challenging social aspect with unseen-before engineering freedom and connect-ability that redefines the meaning and scope of regional play, CITIES XL™ will shape the future of the genre by offering more variety, bigger cities and multiple game play layers.


References

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