by Marjolein Verheij
previewed on PC
Cities in Motion 2
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the bedroom of Paradox’s suite at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near Gamescom, wasn’t the big poster of Cities in Motion 2 on the easel, but a head with cool purple hair that turned out to belong to Karoliina Korppoo, Lead Designer at Colossal Order. Betraying her ‘loud hair’, she was quiet during our hands-off so that CEO Mariina Hallikainen could do all the talking while she did the clicking.
I’ve never played the first Cities in Motion game, but after seeing the Cities in Motion 2 pre-alpha build in action, it is easy to see why it has such appeal to simulation fans. If you liked the original game, there is good news, as Cities in Motion 2 will have even more options to manage transportation in your city.
Perhaps the biggest changes in Cities in Motion 2 are the changed time period and the passing of time. Where the original had players go through 100 years of transportation history (1920 to 2020), the sequel is all about modern transportation. In addition, the in-game day cycle has been lengthened to 24 real-life minutes so that you don’t rush through the years at such a speed that the game is over in mere hours. A major advantage to decompressing time is that players can be given more control over time tables. You can customize bus, tram and metro schedules to the minute and change their behavior to work differently during rush hour and off-peak periods of the day to fit your city’s needs. This way, you can add an extra tram that only drives between 7am and 10am or have a bus that primarily services an industrial area skip a few runs while people are at work. If that level of detail sounds a little daunting and combing through timetables and schedules is not your thing, you can just use the default schedules, but it will affect your earnings somewhat.
City layouts are far more dynamic this time around. In Cities in Motion, you had to build your transit system around fixed roads that would never change but now you get to build the road network yourself. If you create enough ways for people to travel efficiently and quickly, housing and commercial development will pop up automagically, which in turn means adapting your routes and transportation types to fit the ever changing needs of your citizens. Make the wrong choices and transportation will grind to a halt, make the right ones and your city will flourish and people will flock to your metropolis.
To help the player keep track of all the transit lines, the lines of the different types of transportation are color coded. Red lines are the trams, blue lines the buses and green lines the metro trains. Transfer stops can be created where travelers can switch from bus to tram to metro and back.
Many of the required changes were a little too awkward to implement in the existing game engine. Colossal Order has abandoned the engine they created for the original game and is now using the Unity engine. An upside of this is that the engine is capable of crisper graphics too and that multiplayer is easier to implement. While we didn’t get to see it in action, we were told there will be both a versus and a co-op mode so players can either work together to create large, efficient transportation networks together or try to beat each other in a race to become the biggest transportation mogul in town.
I left the hotel bedroom (weirdest location ever to get a game demo) feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the many options and features that the game offers, but also confident that Cities in Motion 2 will be a fantastic transport simulation that will please fans of the original game and pull in some new ones to boot.