Cities XL Developer Monte Cristo Closes This Week

Back in January we reported that Cities XL developer Monte Cristo Games would be ending its "Planet Offer" option (the subscription-based element that made the next-gen sim-building game into an MMO, of sorts) because of low subscription numbers. Many fans actually preferred the move, because they felt that the "premium MMO aspect" of the game wasn't worth a monthly subscription anyway. Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Monte Cristo Games announced that the developer will be closing down this week, according to a forum post by "Gregory_C" on the message boards (a building-sim fansite community).

"This is with deep regrets that we officially announce today the closure of our studio," the post reads. "As such Monte Cristo will close its door this week. We leave behind us a couple regrets but also, more important, a lot of good memories." The France-based developer explained that a yet-unnamed publisher "has shown up who will pick up Cities XL’s license, and who will continue to sell the game." The poster continued to write that the publisher will likely make itself known soon, and that the Monte Cristo team is "confident that we leave Cities XL in good hands." According to the announcement, current players should be able to continue logging in and playing Cities XL without interruption, at least for the time-being. To read the complete announcement as it was posted on Simtropolis, click past the jump.

Cities XL Planet Offer to End, Revert to Solo Game

Monte Cristo announced today that it will be ending the Planet Offer for Cities XL on March 8 due to a low subscription rate. Cities XL will continue to live on as a single-player game, but will sadly lose the MMO features that allowed players to interact with each other. You can read the full announcement after the jump.

A major change like this raises all sorts of questions, but Monte Cristo has already answered the big ones. According to the FAQ, no new content or patches will be published for the current online game or solo game until Cities XL 2011 is released. Also, the avatar mode will disappear since it's tied to the Planet Offer.

Monte Cristo Hosts Cities XL Photography Contest

Cities XL may take place in a virtual world, but Monte Cristo is hosting a contest that asks players to venture into real cities and take photographs for the chance to win an Alienware M15x Cosmic Black notebook. You have until Jan. 17, 2010 to submit your photos.

In addition to the Alienware prize, the players who take the most beautiful pictures and best Christmas pictures can win a Kodak digital video camera and a Nvidia GTX 260 video card. Check out the official rules for more information.

Four New Planets Added to Cities XL Galaxy

Monte Cristo just announced that four new planets have been added to the Cities XL galaxy: [US] Titan, [UK] Metis, [FR] Albiorix, and [DE] Belinda. This was done "in order to allow for an ever growing number of cities to be built."

Planets in Cities XL are persistent worlds that can be accessed through the multiplayer Planet Offer subscription service. Players can build up to five different cities on these planets, as well as trade and collaborate with thousands of players.

Holiday Decorations are Coming to Cities XL

Numerous MMOs are currently celebrating the holiday season with festive events, and Cities XL is no exception. Monte Cristo has announced that this week's upcoming patch will bring "some seasonal and permanent cosmetic enhancements to all cities" for both solo and online players.

The seasonal enhancements will come in the form of Christmas decorations on houses and streets, while glowing lights will be permanently added to lamp posts and headlights. Just think of it as a little holiday gift from the developers.

Second Cities XL Content Pack is Now Available

Monte Cristo announced today that the second content pack for Cities XL is now available. The biggest change is the addition of the bus system, which is the first mass transit system for the city building game. You can read all about the buses in this introductory article.

In addition, the patch adds a blueprint for a Megs-Ferris Wheel, New York City landmarks, and more content for both Planet and solo players. Solo players can even enjoy some in-game discounts for the holidays.

Video Shows Upcoming Bus System in Action

As we reported, Monte Cristo announced in a recent letter to the community that buses will be added to Cities XL in early December. According to a recent post, the system is now in the final stages of development. To prove it, Monte Cristo posted a video that looks over a dev's shoulder to show the bus system in action.

The video demonstrates that the system will allow you to identify your cities' traffic issues, easily build your own bus lines and manage them in detail. More information on how it all works should be posted this week, so keep an eye on the official Cities XL site for more information.

Next Patch Will Tackle Pollution, Add MINI Cooper

Monte Cristo published a letter today that gives players a glimpse at what they can expect to see in the future for Cities XL. It looks like pollution will be the main issue that is tackled in the next patch, which should be released early next week. The update will give mayors the means to fight the negative effects of pollution by building pleasing neighborhoods.

The new MINI Cooper car model will also be added to the game in next week's patch, and you can expect to see buses in early December. Another patch will be implemented before Christmas that will add detailed taxes per category and advanced graphical settings. Lastly, country roads, service vehicles and Chinatown-inspired buildings will be added to Cities XL in the future.

First Content Pack Launches in Cities XL

We reported at the beginning of the week that the first Cities XL content pack was right around the corner, but now it's officially live in the city-building game. These patches will be released on a regular basis to add new buildings and features to Cities XL.

Monte Cristo has added a lot to the game with this content pack. All players now have access to a new farm model, a high school and a Ford dealership, while Planet Offer subscribers get three new maps and three new Megastructures. Oh, paid subscribers also gain access to a set of buildings modeled around medieval England, so get ready to bring your Shakespearean cities to life with this patch.

Team Looks Back at Launch, Reveals Upcoming Patch

The Monte Cristo team just published a post-mortem look back at last month's launch of Cities XL in an attempt to keep players in the loop on the development plans for the city-building game. According to the letter, the teams plans "to regularly improve Cities XL with interface & ergonomics improvements, gameplay balancing and, of course, new content and functionalities."

The post also announced that the first content pack will be published in the upcoming days. The patch will introduce a set of medieval buildings inspired by Shakespearian England, three new maps (including Rio de Janeiro), additional Megastructures, and more. The next two content packs are already being scheduled. You can read the full letter after the jump.