Brick And Mortar: CitiesXL 2012

Nice erections.
The conspicuous failure of CitiesXL’s attempt to be an MMO does not seem to have put a dent in the progress of the series, with CitiesXL 2012 returning to the topic of fashioning spectacular modern conurbations on October 20th. It’s more of an update than a wholly new game, adding hundreds of new structures, new maps and landscapes, and new difficulties to challenge your countryside-flattening ambitions.

The new trailer, below, has about a minute of footage to show off the shiny, shiny cities. Mmm, that concrete dream.


  1. caddyB says:

    I have to say that text on the screenshot made me laugh.

  2. Prime says:

    It looks gorgeous. I’m seriously tempted.

  3. Bhazor says:

    The MMO reboot failed? Good!

  4. Lukasz says:

    Can you build little farmer towns, college towns, mountain villages etc. or all of your cities will turn into shanghai.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Well, it is called ‘cities’ rather than ‘hamlets’…

    • BooleanBob says:

      HamletsXS is a confirmed 2013 expandalone. This will be followed by the free DLC, HamletsExcess, which sees drug dealers and pimps move into your village.

    • Kollega says:

      I recall playing the demo for the original, and you can indeed build small towns without them turning into Shanghai if you want to.

    • Nalano says:

      ‘Shanghai’ implies densely-packed development. This just offers a bunch of Le Corbusier-esque Towers in the Park. I would love to build Shanghai.

    • simonh says:

      The towers-in-a-park look is just the preference of the trailer maker. If you want to you can certainly put skyscrapers wall-to-wall. If you build an extensive subway system you can also make the necessary minimum of streets be tiny one-way streets for maximum density. :)

    • Nalano says:

      No, I recognize those square plots as being exactly the same as in earlier iterations of Cities XL. You cannot do a proper street wall due to how the buildings are situated in those square plots.

      Cities XL suffers from the same problem early iterations of SimCity did: It makes every city look like suburban Los Angeles. The only difference now is Cities XL will also allow you to do suburban Denver and suburban Miami.

    • simonh says:

      It’s true that you cannot make proper street walls, but those aren’t really a feature of Shanghai either. Once you’ve unlocked the densest lots (or enabled expert mode) you can make an all-skyscraper city if you want. It’ll certainly not look suburban.

    • Nalano says:

      Puxi is still lots of densely-packed office and apartment buildings and shikumen compounds. Not everything has to look like Pudong CBD.

      But FFS, you’re splitting hairs.

  5. HexagonalBolts says:

    It does look stunning, I so wanted to by the first one but was put off by all the bad press. Does anyone know if the offline version of the original was actually any good? I hope they’ve cast out the MMO micro-transaction rubbish, tightened it up, sorted the original problems, and then hopefully we’ll have a whopper of a city builder.

  6. Bostec says:

    Do you plant a brick? In the future, all cities will grow from the ground.

  7. CaLe says:

    Do I have to lay down water pipes or my people riot?

  8. tripwired says:

    double post – sorry

  9. tripwired says:

    CitiesXL 2011 was awesome (still is – go buy it!) so I’m looking forward to this one.

  10. WMain00 says:

    It’ll be interesting to see whether there is actually any major improvements over the last one, or if it’s just an incremental update. I’m not sure If I would recommend another £30 into this game if it isn’t offering anything better over the last one.

    • Lukasz says:

      apparently if you have the previous one you pay less for this one. but i guess that’s only for steam.

    • SlyDave says:

      If you own the original Cities XL, you can upgrade to Cities XL 2011 at 50% off on the Steam Store.
      And if you own Cities XL 2011 you can get 61% off Cities XL 2012.

      So yeah, whilst it is basically an incremental release, if you do upgrade, you aren’t putting down £30 each time, but rather £11.69 – so the price of an expansion pack then – that’s a pretty good deal right there.

    • simonh says:

      Just checked the price for Cities XL 2012, in Sweden it’s only 140 SEK/£12.6 including shipping, that’s pretty cheap!

      It’s good that they recognize that it’s an incremental update and reduce the Steam price for 2011-owners, but Steam’s ridiculous base price compared to retail kind of nullifies it.

  11. Chaz says:

    It all looks too “nice” and clean for my liking. What about the environmental and social impact of these big cities? Where’s the pollution and the grimey poverty stricken slums, the drug fueled crime, the protest marches and riots? Put all that stuff in and it might actually start to look interesting.

    • WMain00 says:

      You’re better going to Sim City for that. Cities is all about making pretty cities that you can zoom down to street level in and wander around.

      Honestly, I’d give anything for Sim City’s advanced city building with Cities graphical abilities.

    • crazydane says:

      And SimCity Societies was so bad. ARGH. The Cities series doesn’t really have the magic that the SimCity series had for me.

    • TLGAthena says:

      Cities XL for the graphics..

      But if you want even a remotely competent city simulator, you’re still going back to SimCity 4, the traffic modelling and economic ripple effect hasn’t been captured correctly by Monte Cristo -yet-. Give them time and they might well bottle the magic dust that made SimCity so gosh darn addictive.

  12. hosndosn says:

    I tried making this my spiritual successor to the (dead?) SimCity series. But it just felt… too superficial, too sterile. When I went back to SimCity 4, I suddenly found all the things I missed. Not that I could point them out exactly…

    To be fair I played an older version of this, but it doesn’t seem like they fixed what bothered me about it. Or if that could even be “fixed”, it rather seemed like a core design issue.

    • PatMan33 says:

      Agreed. Sim City just has a certain charm about it that no other city builder can match.

      I’ve also tried Cities XL and the game doesn’t feel right. It seems like they kind of skim over the core elements that have defined city builders and then make us spend all our time doing things that don’t really matter or make sense. The zoning system from Sim City is great. Not sure why everyone feels like they have to reinvent the wheel with these games.

    • triple omega says:

      I think it’s three things that are missing/wrongfully implemented:

      1) Gritty look/Charm. Cities XL’s worlds look like a 3D model made for a building project. Simcity’s worlds look like fictional mini worlds.

      2) Pressure/challenge. Simcity has a lot of aspects that require not only your attention, but also planning ahead and gathering information to make the right decisions. Cities XL is for 90% just an incremental experience.

      3) Variety/change. Simcity forces a lot of change in both focus and strategy. When citizens start demanding better forms of public transportation for example, you are forced to shift your focus away from simple busses. Sometimes these things do happen in Cities XL as well, but again it is an incremental experience most of the time.

      Personally I’d much rather have Simcity 5 with a multi-city system that actually works and some other gameplay improvements, then Cities XL.

  13. danimalkingdom says:

    Do you think if I played this video to my girlfriend this music could become ‘our song’?

  14. Megadyptes says:

    Sim City 4 forever. 4ever? fever? Sim City fever yeah!

  15. li says:

    When do we get a game with these landscapes and buildings together with the industrial and transportation model of a simutrans?

  16. nimzy says:

    Thanks for reminding me that I still have CitiesXL (the MMO failure) installed on my computer. I uninstalled it right away. Somewhere between the car ads (I still had to pay money and they were making money on advertising?) and the fact I would have had to pay a considerable amount of money to simply be allowed to co-exist with other players I instantly dropped the game.

  17. Cooper says:

    Biggest problem in cities XL is widening roads.

    If you find a road at capacity, you can knock down adjacent buildings and widen it – BUT – the space then left cannot be filled with buildings of the same type, meaning there’s no longer a need for such a large road.

    The ‘Zoning’ of SimCity allowed you to simply remove one or two rows of the zone to extend the road, allowing at least some re-build where the old buildings knocked down were.

    Sure, that kept you stuck to a grid, but there has to be an half-way alternative?

  18. Nyst says:

    I miss the puzzle-style gameplay of old city builders. Every building had it’s advantages and disadvantages, and the fun came from creating combinations that pleased everyone.
    A citybuilder should be more then just income balancing and plonking down buildings; a city is a living, growing thing, and it should reflect that.

  19. Dozer says:

    Those airports are TERRIFYING. You’ve got the death-spiralling helicopter at 0:36, and a near recreation of the Tenerife airport disaster twice later in the video. I think I need to lie down…

  20. zhmmpp says:

    top good games item,welcome to

  21. Froibo says:

    A game set 2 months in the future… interesting.

  22. Sire says:

    Have they fixed the horrible memory leaks? After the city grew to a medium size, me (also verified by a friend) could only play for about an hour before the game slowed down terribly. Every little action had an increasing delay. No patch for over a year, for a game-breaking bug, WTF?

    Edit: Apparently, not fixed. Don’t buy.
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