As many of you may now know, SimCity 5 is slated for release in early next year. Maxis is promising us a glorious and grand return of the title, with amazing new game play and world set up. Yet, they now have some major competition in the city building and simulation genre. SimCity’s cheif competition is Cities XL, which first appeared in 2009 to fill the city building and simulation void left by Maxis and EA when they chose to take such a long break from the franchise. It offers users a full 3D world that could be zoomed into street level and panned 360°, as well as multiplayer capabilities. Cities XL offers and entire globe full of city locations and a variety or maps to choose from, with stunning new and updated graphics it brought to us everything that Sim City 4 couldn’t or hadn’t.
Cities XL introduced a new and deeply interactive trading and resource network that could be both useful and annoying. The complex trading system allows a player to trade with the other cities they have or the built in corporation for resources that their city needs, or they can trade their excess resources for cash. Preplanning for resource usage is a must when building your city in Cities XL. As an example; unlike Sim city 4 you cannot simply place farms were ever you’d like, but instead must place them in fertile areas of the map, or purchase food tokens from another city. From what I’ve seen and heard the new Sim City will have a similar resource set up across the region. Cities can supply each other’s needs so long as they have the workers and buildings to.
Cities XL lacks the ease of play that Sim City has always had in its ability to zone large areas and as the game progressed forward it would grow and develop on its own. While Cities XL does offer an auto fill option it lacks the ability to rezone those plots to a different density or type unless you destroy everything there first. One of Sim Cities Major draws even now is its ability to create the landscapes for you cities and even your entire regions. While Cities XL offers some amazing landscapes it lacks the overall ability to make your own unique environment. SimCity is offering us a new dynamic game play with not just intercity trading and economy but regional environmental effects. With a new glass box simulation engine SimCity takes a huge step forward the city simulation. A step forward that Cities XL might not be able to compete.
So far Cities XL has released a new version and or expansion pack for their game every year since 2009, their most recent being Cities XL 2012. Focus home interactive, the current owners of the Cities XL franchise, have yet to announce a Cities XL 2013. If Focus home Interactive choses to continue the Cities XL franchise, at least for 2013, and they could be SimCity’s biggest competition and I look forward to playing both in the upcoming year.