One of the most popular requests from Massively readers is more coverage for MMOs that break the traditional fantasy or sci-fi mold. How about an MMO based on city building and municipal management? Cities XL from Monte Cristo Multimedia is an upcoming MMO that not only breaks the mold, but it takes the MMO genre into territories not yet explored.

To help celebrate today's closed beta announcement for the game, Monte Cristo has joined forces with Massively to provide an exclusive promotional code to help our readers get a better chance at being selected for closed beta access to the game. Keep reading below for more information on what Cities XL actually is, including an exclusive Q&A with the developers. Plus, we have complete details on the promotional code event, video trailers, a screenshot gallery and more!
So how does this promo code work? It's easy. Simply go to the beta sign-up page here, enter your information in the form and include this special Massively promo code: MASS99

This code will not guarantee you beta access, but will give you a better chance in the beta lottery. It's all very scientific with math and algorithms and all that, I'm sure. But why should you be interested in signing up for a Cities XL beta in the first place? Let's begin with the official press release:

CITIES XL™ is the next generation in city-building games, bringing online gameplay to the genre and allowing gamers to develop cities on realistic 3D maps using an incredible collection of unique structures. Would-be Mayors are challenged to create the right combinations of social services, leisure activities, special events and job opportunities within their cities in order to feed, employ and entertain their citizens. Realism will be pushed to the limit with cities that are bigger, more realistic and more sophisticated than ever before.

The game's optional online features and services will let gamers create interconnected cities on virtual and persistent planets. By combining a fantastic single-player game with the social and multiplayer aspects of an MMO, CITIES XL™ will shape the future of the genre by offering more variety, bigger cities and multiple gameplay layers.

Key features of CITIES XL™ include:
  • Online 'Planet offer', adding MMO gameplay to the city builder genre ; a world first!
  • State of the art 3D engine and high-quality graphics. Allowing both sky-high viewpoints for urban planning and street level view for pedestrian visits all seamlessly integrated for maximum enjoyment of life in the cities.
  • Literally hundreds of buildings and monuments based on American and European-influenced architectural styles.
  • Extra large and incredibly detailed 3D maps featuring a variety of terrains: mountains, hills, canyons, beaches and islands, all set in different climates from tropical to desert. Topography and terrain affect resources availability and city design.
  • Sophisticated transport system: players can define the number and uses of traffic lanes; while using bridges and tunnels to expand the size of their cities.
  • Realistic representation of the population. Citizens have a profile consisting of age, education and wealth. These profiles will affect what types of services and entertainment the player must make available to the city's inhabitants.
  • Self-sufficient global economy, balanced by price fluctuations and citizen demands throughout the game world.
  • On-going content production allowing players to regularly upgrade their game for free. (available both for online and solo games).
  • GEMs (Gameplay Extension Modules) will add brand new content and gameplay to the game. Allowing players to switch their mayor position for CEO seats ; from car dealerships to ski resorts, players will find a wide variety of businesses available that they can add in their cities. (At game launch time two GEMs will be available : Ski and Beach).
The 'Planet offer' allows players to :
  • Create interconnected cities on persistent planets, each consisting of thousands of players.
  • Trade with each other in a global economy and specialize their cities (industry, tourism etc).
  • Visit other players' cities, customize their avatar, create their blog and social network.
  • Participate in events and competitions in leaving, breathing worlds.
Well, press releases are great, but let's cut past the PR shine and get to the core of what this game is really about. In part two, we get to hear from the developers themselves as they answer 11 questions that players are most likely asking of a game like this.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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