Cities in Motion 2 Preview (PC)

I’ll be honest, whilst I did like the first Cities in Motion game, I felt the basic concept limited it slightly, and ultimately didn’t take it very far. The fact then that they’re working on a sequel was a surprise – albeit a pleasant one. Cities in Motion 2 so far looks like it’s going to be offering more of the same, but with several key improvements derived from community feedback, and their own vision for the game. Sadly, the team being so small (and as far as I know, same goes with the profit margins), it’s looking more like incremental and small updates, but updates all the same.

Just as a quick re-refresher – Cities in Motions is basically a Mass Transportation & Business simulator… a bit like Sim City or Cities XL, except it’s just to do with traffic. In the original game the cities were modelled after real cities, especially with how they looked fifty years ago (you could start in the 1950’s if you wanted) although any development was fixed and predictable after multiple playthroughs. Apart from that though, you had various social groups and you had to create transport networks that meet their needs, and you need to make money.

Cities in Motions 2 works along the same lines, but with several key differences. We’ll start with the biggest one: the cities. We’re told they’re still modelled after historical cities, although you no longer have to start in the 1950’s (all modern times), they also evolve dynamically in reaction to your decisions and where you develop, and as the player you’re also allowed to plant your own road in order to help focus growth in certain areas. This in turn will provide new areas with which to invest transport networks in, which will probably promote more growth, and so the cycle goes on.

Another change is Time Tables – unlike in the previous game you can now set specific time tables in terms of when buses run, how many run etc… to try and cater for night-time conditions (there’s a day/night cycle now, by the way), busy and light periods… whatever effects how many people use your service, really. Even though this adds to the micro-management, it also adds to the realism, and there’s no need to worry if you’re not interested in that stuff – there are several key pre-sets which will be available to you, so it’s not like you’d have to start from scratch. In addition to this, all lines need depots now as well to service their vehicles – each depot can service up to five or so line’s worth of vehicles.

Let’s see, what else can we tell you, there’s going to be competitive and co-operative multiplayer, although details on these areas are a little sparse right now. There’s going to be working traffic lights, new vehicles, a new more intuitive UI for the business portions of the game - although no changes to the actual management mechanics as far as we are aware, apart from new zoning ticket prices feature. Helicopters and other aerial forms of transport have been done away with completely, and the team are currently trying to focus on getting Metro, Bus and Rail down perfectly first. Saying that, they were also keen to show off the improved engine that allows for bigger maps, and the one they showed us had a massive great lake in the middle, so we imagine boats etc… will be coming back as well.

As we said at the beginning, the team’s size (barely more than a handful of people) prevents them from doing anything major, and speaking to them at Gamescom it’s clear that there’s more they would like to do. Cities in Motion 2 is going to come with a campaign mode that features 12 scenarios, as well as the customary sandbox mode to compliment the new online features they’re developing as well. There’s also going to be more quests and focused tasks pull you through and direct gameplay, which should feed into the dynamic evolution of your host city.

Hopefully by ‘trimming of the fat’ and focusing on modern times and a handful of key transportation methods, Cities in Motion 2 will prove to be a far superior game that allows them to go on to bigger and better things. Much like when we saw the first game at a similar stage in development, we like what we see so far, but ultimately it’s whether the gameplay holds up in the long term that will be the real test. We don’t know what this is going to mean for DLC either, as the whole ‘historical cities’ thing doesn’t really work anymore with the dynamic evolution. Cities in Motion 2 is due out on PC sometime during Q2 2013.

Most Anticipated Feature: Seeing what the online modes are, maybe you have to compete against each other in terms of business?

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