The original Cities in Motion launched in February last year to significant critical acclaim and a surprising response from the strategy videogaming audience. While on the surface you may find it hard to tell the difference between Cities in Motion and any number of transport simulators, Colossal Order Ltd. had developed a product more akin to SimCity: there is reality in Cities in Motion, but it’s a very light-hearted version of the real world. Transport simulators are made to be a realistic interpretation of the actual; Cities in Motion is intended to be a fun interactive experience.
Just as was the case with the original Cities in Motion, the goal of Cities in Motion 2 is to provide adequate transport for your city, for which the demands will change dramatically depending on your citizens; students will prefer cheap methods, for business men it should be functional and luxuries are best reserved for those with money to burn. Unlike the original however, cities will now grow dynamically depending on your responses to these demands. You can now control the road layout and your population will follow: should you decide to build a road from an industrial, area leading out of town and cap it with a bus station at the far end, it’s likely that new residents will begin to move into premises along this new street thanks to the coupling of public transport and job availability.
Meeting these demands is made considerably easier than in the original title thanks to the attention that has been paid to the user interface. No longer a complicated menu structure that demands the player invests numerous hours before finding its nuances, Cities in Motion 2 features a floating menu system that allows players to position each control point wherever they may wish, delivering feedback on their decisions as well as the necessary options for adjustment. Given this refinement, players can easily navigate between existing lines and areas, finding those that need work and are being neglected. The interface has also been streamlined considerably, with one simple, immediate menu for each type of transport, and one further for each route and subsequent timetable.
Of course, the ability to adjust timetables directly is a new feature being introduced in Cities in Motion 2, working in harmony with the new day/night cycle. Each day is twenty four minutes long, and players will need to take into account all of the cyclical aspects of transport planning that come into play during that timeframe, with the morning rush being an immediate example that nearly every player will be able to relate to.
In addition to prettifying the menus and their structure, a considerable amount of attention has been paid to the in-game visuals. Without beating around the bush, Cities in Motion 2 is one hell of a lot prettier than the original title. Working traffic lights, a fluid road laying system, new depots for each mode of transport that each look very different – including metro stations that can be built below ground level or as a structure raised high above the pedestrian areas – Cities in Motion 2 has the potential to become every bit the sequel that fans have been asking for, and that goes hand-in-hand with the multiplayer gameplay.
While Colossal Order Ltd. were keen to emphasise that nothing has been cemented at this point, the studio has been listening to the fans and is currently working on integrating two online gameplay modes: co-operative and competitive. These could potentially work hand-in-hand with the new map editor mode, which allows players to create their own scenarios on top of the twelve currently planned to be included in the campaign. While there’s no telling how the development team would choose to implement a multiplayer gameplay mode, Electronic Theatre would certainly be enthusiastic about the opportunity to operate neighbouring cities in a similar fashion to the upcoming Sim City reboot, in which the progress a player makes with their city affects the demands placed upon yours, potentially bringing into play two brand new transport requirements: commuters and tourists.
Cities in Motion 2 remains a long way from release, currently aiming at a Q2 2013 date. In that time Colossal Order Ltd. are aiming to deliver an open beta for the product and assured Electronic Theatre that a demo version would also be made available. The team’s wish for these assets is to include the proposed multiplayer gameplay modes at this stage to allow them an airing prior to release; a shrewd assertion for a team of any size, let alone Colossal Order Ltd.’s respectably small gathering. No dates have yet been set for these earliest playtest opportunities, but you can bet Electronic Theatre will be first in line to jump aboard when Cities in Motion 2 comes around.