On The Buses: Cities In Motion 2


Cities In Motion makes me feel queasy. Not the game itself, the title. Can you imagine how awful that would be? Buildings bobbing up and down, roads undulating as you tried to drive on them, children’s playgrounds drifting toward dangerous back alleys. And on a larger scale, York might crash into Harrogate, and there’d be carnage. Cities should stay perfectly still, thank you. But my cries are not heard by Paradox, who’ve just announced Cities In Motion 2.

Of course the motion is the games’ focus on transportation. I misunderstood for comic effect. Due some time next Summer, the plans appear to be to expand upon what made the first game popular, and do it better, with co-op and multiplayer. There will also be a day/night cycle, timetables, and what they’re calling “dynamic cities” – see, they’re going to start crawling around, Mortal Engines style. I don’t want to fall out of London!

The “teaser trailer” does no such thing, instead wasting everyone’s time with some maps apparently drawn in crayon. Don’t bother watching this:

Hopefully there will be some sensible footage soon.


  1. RedViv says:

    Well I, for one, would appreciate more Golden Age cartoon behaviour in my city. Let the buildings bounce, the flowers swing, the sun come down to chime in on our songs!

    • c-Row says:

      Or sad clouds and a sobbing sun if city management goes awry. If it’s over the top enough, if might just work.

      • RedViv says:

        With happy llamas jumping about. Maxis, go make it so.

      • The Random One says:

        Ha ha, a Cartoon Sim City would be excellent! Someone should actually make it, because otherwise I’ll be driven to actually make it myself, and I’m not very good.

  2. Howling Techie says:

    I enjoyed the first one but it was missing a few things that would have just made it. It didn’t help when they started selling those overpriced DLC things, especially when you could get some of them as free mods on the forum. But I’m a sucker for these kind of games, so I’ll follow the development anyway.

  3. Plopsworth says:

    Re: literally Moving Cities. Reminds me of Hannu Rajaniemi’s debut sci-fi novel, The Quantum Thief , where Mars is settled with moving cities mounted on platforms, with separate quarters mounted on platforms themselves.

    • Rao Dao Zao says:

      I’m thinking Zodanga of John Carter, but I’m the only person I’ve met who enjoyed that film (never read the book(s)).

    • Shinan says:

      For me it reminds me of Christopher Priest’s The Inverted World.

      Though I have to admit that The Quantum Thief occasionally was so confusing for me that I didn’t even know the city was moving!

    • shinygerbil says:

      Erm, how about Cities In Flight by James Blish? Featuring cities literally uprooted and turned into spaceships which zoom around the galaxy at near-light speeds. Actually a really good read, if I remember, although I read them a while ago now.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Bingo! That’s the one I was going to mention.

        …You ninja.

  4. MajorManiac says:

    The moving city you describe sounds like an amazing place for a game like Mirrors Edge.

  5. Rinox says:

    Being a bit of a public transportation fetishisht I tried to get into Cities in Motion so hard…but failed. I hope CiM2 will tackle some of the issues I had with the original, because it has serious potential to fill up a massive hole in my gaming heart.

    • Eich says:

      I failed too at first. The trick is to make a huge debt in the beginning and build a subway right away. Then reschedule when economy crashes for avordable interests. Works all the time. But the game becomes way too easy that way.

      PS: Also, never create a series of stops. Just let the subways commute between two stations.

  6. dE says:

    “Quick, we need video material for the trailer”
    “Didn’t we order Frank to do it?”
    “Frank’s busy cleaning the kitchen and making coffee”
    “Well damn. Any other suggestions?”
    “We have this Powerpoint from a couple of days ago…”
    “That will do… that will have to do…”

  7. TNG says:

    Maybe they’ll stop releasing features (want to build two metro stations side by side or crossed? Then buy DLC because we didn’t include it originally in the game and we are surely not just giving it to you for free on a patch!) and maps as overpriced DLC now and release a collection edition that actually has all the content?
    I played the open beta, liked it and bought the game but the lack of maps on release coupled with the overpriced DLC really disappointed me. I’ll probably just wait until they announce CiM3 so I can get a pack CiM2 with all the features and maps…

  8. ghling says:

    I liked the first game also, but it really had some issues (stucked trams everyone?) which make the game frustrating the longer you play it. I really hope they’ll make the AI better so the trains and trams don’t get stuck and don’t start all at the same station when you start a new line.
    Also, I never managed to create my lines in a way that they don’t get overcrowded over time, especially subways where you can only build a few stations. But then, it is just me, never learned something about public transportation more than just using it myself.

  9. Rich says:

    I got CiM for free for filling in something or other, so I can hardly complain. If I had put money down on it though, I would also have been miffed at tiny number of maps and vehicles that came with the game.

    Also, I appreciate that there’s a lot going on in the bigger maps, but bloody hell was it slow. Berlin was damn near unplayable and on my laptop, which is no netbook by the way.

  10. Rich says:

    …now I think about, since CiM is about running a transportation company, and not the city itself, why the hell do you have to foot the bill for the big things like tube lines yourself? Surely, even in super-capitalist Americaland, a city like New York pays a substantial amount of money up front to whatever company it’s giving a contract too.

    • The Random One says:

      That’s where your starting budget comes from, naturally. *whistles*

    • aklaft says:

      Not really, in the early 1900s transportation was pretty much all privately owned and financed. Nowadays, it’s different, but hey, its a game.

  11. nuronv says:

    Love the first one although I think it threw a few people off. Its often more like a puzzle game than a construction game. By the sounds if it that are tinkering with the formula quite a bit for its second outing

  12. yurusei says:

    Every time I hear the game’s main theme music I can’t help but think of sleazy shows and…. other things swaying in motion.

  13. Eich says:

    Transport all the people!

  14. Llewyn says:

    Harrogate is, I’ll have you know, a town. Merely a town.

  15. Bhazor says:

    If theres DLC I certainly hope it isn’t just locked off content.

    It would be a case of divide and disolve.

  16. Crius says:

    Cities in Motion 1: People need several DAYS to board buses. Bus can have around 20 seat and every stop have around 100 waiting passenger.

    Enough to pass away.
    It’s so hard to watch Transport Tycoon and update the graphic?

    • aklaft says:

      If your route has that many people waiting, you’re doing it wrong.

  17. Abbykins says:

    I’m intrigued by the mention of dynamic cities. After installing mods to fix the anemic capacities of the bus and tram cars, I enjoyed the first CiM, but once you got a good system in place there wasn’t much to do. Changes in city landscape would definitely fix that.

    I’m also hoping the passenger AI will be improved. I can’t recall the specifics now, but when watching individual passengers I was struck how boneheadedly stupid they were. The overcrowding at certain stops when many could simply walk two blocks sticks in my mind.

  18. jimbobjunior says:

    >>> timetables

    This is the single most frustrating thing about the original. It tries to avoid giving you too much to micro-manage, but without even basic timetabling all your buses just end up clumped together at bus-stops. Glad to see it will be addressed in this new game. Also, hope they don’t push the DLC as much in this one, I’d rather pay a little extra for the base game for regular updates.

    I’ll also applaud them if they do the same as last time a release a good demo.

  19. Didero says:


    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Hehe. I actually liked it. That abstract underground map is such a classic.

  20. Yglorba says:

    The original game was definitely fun, but it had a few issues:

    1. Placing tracks was often annoying. Tram tracks sometimes wouldn’t go in places where it looked like they should be able to; getting elevated subway tracks to connect the way you wanted was often a huge hassle.

    2. Once you realized the basic strategy (as someone else said above, take a huge loan at the beginning, build a big subway line down the center of the map between the main city centers), the game becomes easy.

    3. Some parts of the balance were weird. You could reduce the pay for all your workers to 1, which made the game trivially easy, and the only penalty was a reputation hit — which didn’t really make a big difference (any remotely decent lines would be overwhelmed with people anyway) and could be made up via advertisement much more cheaply than paying your workers.

    It was still fun, though, so I’m interested in what they make for the sequel. Hopefully they fix some of these issues.

  21. FriendlyFire says:

    I just want Transport Tycoon Deluxe 2012. Is that so hard to ask?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, there’s OpenTTD. Although to be honest I’ve gone off it since it started diverging from TTD around 0.6 or so.

      And Locomotion, which is a painful mixture of improvements and stupid regressions.