Cities XL (formerly Cities Unlimited) is city-building simulation computer game under development by Monte Cristo, which has prior development experience in City Life. It is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2009. The game allows players to shape cities, manage the economy and care for the needs of city inhabitants. Players can also take their game online and interact with thousands of others on massive persistent planets.
Cities XL aims to provide bigger, more realistic and more beautiful landscapes. The terrain is composed of heightmaps, textures and a normal map. Instead of creating new tools, Monte Cristo relies on existing third-party tools like EarthSculptor, World Machine and GeoControl to generate unique realistic terrain before importing it into their terrain-editing software. In addition, middleware like SpeedTree has also been used to make the game look better.
In June 2007, a screenshot of a new city building game from Monte Cristo was posted in a company worker's personal blog. However, it was later revealed in a community website interview that it won't be called City Life 2 and was initially named Cities Unlimited to avoid confusion. On April 15 2008 it was announced that Cities Unlimited official game title would be Cities XL.
The new game will be likely to contain better graphics and more features taken from a thread asked on a City Life community earlier in the year. For example, it has been confirmed that Monte Cristo is working hard to eliminate the building repetition problem that plagued City Life. The developer has said it will focus on graphical and economical realism, transport, and variety through building numbers. CitiesXL.com (formerly cuplanet.com), the game's official website, was launched on October 13 2007 with more information.
In an interview on September 11 2007 Philippe Da Silva announced that Cities XL would include a large variety of maps and landscapes, which would allow players a greater depth with the types of cities they wanted to create. Da Silva stated "We want players to be able to not only to create “classic cities” but also to specialize and build the Key West, Aspen or Detroit of this world. A pre-released screen shot of an Aspen map confirmed that Cities XL would include snowy landscapes.
On June 26, 2008, Phillipe Da Silva blogged on a development version of Cities XL, done in late May, which merged the various development teams' efforts. The game is in a playable form only starting mid-June.