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Monte Cristo closing

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#1 Gregory_C

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 05:32 AM

Hello everyone,

This is with deep regrets that we officially announce today the closure of our studio. 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…

But then what of Cities XL’s future ?
A publisher has shown up who will pick up Cities XL’s license, and who will continue to sell the game. This company will surely make itself known soon. We are confident that we leave Cities XL in good hands.

Current players shouldn’t be worried though! The solo game will keep on working and the online login system, mandatory to launch the game, remains in place. There is no change there. The Cities XL website also remains online, although obviously the online support is now longer available and we apologize for this.

One last time all the Monte Cristo team members would like to wholeheartedly thank the Cities XL players and community members who so dedicatedly took part in the life and evolution of this wonderful project.

We do hope that Cities XL has many more great years ahead of itself!

Signing off,

- The Monte Cristo team.


#2 IntoxiNation

IntoxiNation

Posted 25 May 2010 - 05:41 AM

Very sad news. The news of the publisher picking it up to continue to sell the game makes it sounds iffy on CXL 2011. Hopefully I'm just being pessimistic.

Thanks for the update Gregory and take care!

#3 Stef42

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 05:49 AM

This is indeed sad news, as stated many times before: the concept of Cities XL is great!

Still, this is a good thing. I certainly hope that the new company will show up soon.
I, also, believe that the future updates on Cities XL will never come, giving the fact that the new company might release a completely new game, to make money.

Good luck Gregory_C, I hope all the employees at MC can find a new job

#4 mntoes

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:12 AM

Sad news indeed. Good luck to all at Monte Cristo.

#5 Chiverito

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:24 AM



#6 mproca

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:32 AM

I hope u will be all oky...

I will forever miss the trains in CXL and you...


#7 Skimbo

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:39 AM

Well, this was to expect after all this silence.......

Good luck at finding a new job, Gregory.

I love Dragons!


#8 Aaron95

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:47 AM

I read this in the german forum.
Very sad news

I hope you will find a new job, too

#9 Mysteryous

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 07:29 AM

While this is very sad news, I feel there is a lesson to be learned here. While Cities XL was a very good game to begin with, the idea of having to pay for addons (such as mass transit, and an incomplete system at that) really discouraged a lot of people; myself included. This feature was already fully implemented in Sim City 4 at no additional cost, so people who were wanting a newer game felt betrayed that you had to pay for almost every aspect of the game. On top of that, the room made available for players to develop custom content seemed to be nothing more than a closet. Other than sandbox mode and overlaying the map with street patterns of actual cities, I have yet to see any player made content that is really exciting. As far as I know, players are not allowed to make transit systems, buildings, or even minor things such as cosmetic changes (such as putting the stoplights on the far side of the intersection). And this game came from a company who said that they were listening to the players. If MC were listening to the players of SC4; Cities XL would have a plugin system as open as SC4's plugin system, not to mention look and feel like a much desired new version of SC4. Custom Content would have caused simtropolis to fork and create a separate site just for Cities XL custom content. But that has not happened. Instead, MC decided to take a risk by closing the vast majority of custom content options and having everyone pay for new content. This is what has disappointed so many people; this is what has led to MC's failure. Too fast, too soon. The online version was very well implemented, if not polished like a prized gem; however you pushed it too hard, making solo play feel drab and forgettable, and so many of us are used to playing solo.

If any company is to ever try this again, MC's history is something one should study if such a similar fate is to be avoided. Cities XL is/am/are/was/were a great game, but the goals behind it is what ruined it.

#10 USA_Pride

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:04 AM

Originally posted by: Mysteryous
While this is very sad news, I feel there is a lesson to be learned here. While Cities XL was a very good game to begin with, the idea of having to pay for addons (such as mass transit, and an incomplete system at that) really discouraged a lot of people; myself included. This feature was already fully implemented in Sim City 4 at no additional cost, so people who were wanting a newer game felt betrayed that you had to pay for almost every aspect of the game. On top of that, the room made available for players to develop custom content seemed to be nothing more than a closet. Other than sandbox mode and overlaying the map with street patterns of actual cities, I have yet to see any player made content that is really exciting. As far as I know, players are not allowed to make transit systems, buildings, or even minor things such as cosmetic changes (such as putting the stoplights on the far side of the intersection). And this game came from a company who said that they were listening to the players. If MC were listening to the players of SC4; Cities XL would have a plugin system as open as SC4's plugin system, not to mention look and feel like a much desired new version of SC4. Custom Content would have caused simtropolis to fork and create a separate site just for Cities XL custom content. But that has not happened. Instead, MC decided to take a risk by closing the vast majority of custom content options and having everyone pay for new content. This is what has disappointed so many people; this is what has led to MC's failure. Too fast, too soon. The online version was very well implemented, if not polished like a prized gem; however you pushed it too hard, making solo play feel drab and forgettable, and so many of us are used to playing solo.

If any company is to ever try this again, MC's history is something one should study if such a similar fate is to be avoided. Cities XL is/am/are/was/were a great game, but the goals behind it is what ruined it.


I agree.  Monte Cristo decided to take the biggest fans and supporters and tell them to "sit down and play the game we intended you to play" rather than allow them to make the game better, for free.  The big reason to thumb their nose to custom content is because it doesn't work well in a pay-to-play "Planet Offer".

The sad part is that the game would have been great had it been a little more polished, included mass transit, and didn't have the pay-to-play "Planet Offer".  I think they would have sold quite a few more games.  From the very begining I stated that I felt the "Planet Offer" was nothing more than an ill concieved money-grab.  I stated that I felt the "Planet Offer" would fail miserably because people who think like me would never fork out cash on a monthly basis for a broken trade system, chat box, and puny content updates that the Simtropolis community was willing to create, for free, and at much larger quantity.

I feel bad that many people lost their livelihood's over at Monte Cristo.  I'm sure there were a lot of hard working people over there that had nothing to do with the decision to make Cities XL a monthly-fee "MMO" and it's sad that they'll be losing their jobs because of someone else's poor choice.  I wish everyone luck with finding new employment, the potential of Cities XL certainly shows the talent of the folks at Monte Cristo.

Imagine if all the time and coding that went into the "Planet Offer" and "Trade System" instead went into mass transit...

#11 princeblowfly

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:37 AM

Very sad news indeed. I bought the game one month ago, because I tried it and it wasn't that bad. Incomplete, but it was a good game. I hope that someone can take the game and put it where we all wanted to be. If not, just open the code and we'll show MC what it could be done with a game like this.



#12 Nachtblitzer

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:59 AM

Alas Monte Cristo, I never knew thee....
Best wishes to those who are now unemployed, and I hope that you find new jobs soon!


#13 masochist

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:59 AM

Hey, guys, can we please keep the "I-told-you-so"-type comments out of this thread?

Far beyond your disappointments with a computer game, I'm pretty sure well over one hundred people have lost their jobs here.  Now's not the time to rub it in their faces.  It's just a request, of course...and I realize that this is simply the nature of business, I just think it's supremely insensitive to bring those type of comments into the conversation right now.

As for Monte Cristo...sad news that you guys had to shut down the studio.  I wish you all the best of luck, and hope you all find yourselves back on your feet soon.


#14 Bountytaker

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:07 AM

Originally posted by: masochist

Far beyond your disappointments with a computer game, I'm pretty sure well over one hundred people have lost their jobs here.  Now's not the time to rub it in their faces. 




According to most sources, Monte Cristo Multimedia only employed between 50 and 80 persons.

Good luck to all of them in their job search.



#15 mentarman

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:18 AM

Either way, I think we've covered the "I told you so" stuff enough and had enough postmortems of what went wrong.

I am sorry for those who will lose their jobs. Mistakes were certainly made but it is tough to see real-life consequences for real people over what was essentially problems with a silly game that is supposed to be for fun. That's the way of the world of course but it's not fun to see, especially since those who actually made the mistakes or poor decisions are often not the ones who suffer in these instances.

I hope whoever has picked up the license will do so without some of the weight of debt and past issues and problems and negativity we've had for the last while and maybe can move forward with renewed energy. But that's just a hope, who knows.

#16 Bountytaker

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:19 AM

Originally posted by: Gregory_C
Hello everyone,

This is with deep regrets that we officially announce today the closure of our studio. 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…

But then what of Cities XL’s future ?
A publisher has shown up who will pick up Cities XL’s license, and who will continue to sell the game. This company will surely make itself known soon. We are confident that we leave Cities XL in good hands.

Current players shouldn’t be worried though! The solo game will keep on working and the online login system, mandatory to launch the game, remains in place. There is no change there. The Cities XL website also remains online, although obviously the online support is now longer available and we apologize for this.

One last time all the Monte Cristo team members would like to wholeheartedly thank the Cities XL players and community members who so dedicatedly took part in the life and evolution of this wonderful project.

We do hope that Cities XL has many more great years ahead of itself!

Signing off,

- The Monte Cristo team.


Some thoughts:

-I'd guess the publisher was someone they already had a relationship with, such as Namco/Bandai or Focus Home Interactive.

-No mention of 2011.

-I thought the online login system wasn't supposed to be mandatory for playing the game?

-Unless they just told the workers today as well, they did a pretty good job of gettinng everyone to keep it a secret.  There were no hints out there on the web in the last few days.

-Haven't seen any claims out there yet on money/assests from the failed company.  Might see them soon though.

-It's both amazing, and sad, to see a project, and a team, take such a 180 degree turn.  About one year ago, this was an anticipated beta.  Things just went south from there, and never recovered.  There's an interesting story in there somewhere, as well as a good lesson for computer game/business students, I'm sure.

Again, good luck to the workers.  Hopefully, you've all had enough warning to find new work.

#17 joshphillips999

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:19 AM

Very sorry to hear this, I wish all of MC's employees good luck in finding a new job.

However I dont really fully understand what is going on, is the game still going to be improved with CXL 2011, therefore some will keep their jobs, right? Or is the game just going to continue to be sold as it is?

Don't want to sound insensitive about this, but I am genuinely confused.

#18 mentarman

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:36 AM

Sounds like we will have to wait to hear from the new publisher.
I think it could range from, they will continue to sell the game to anyone who wants it and they will keep the servers going, up to they do some work to clean up the game and put CXL2011 out. If they do that, it might include employing some number of Monte Cristo folks, or it might be done by them in-house by their own people.

#19 Ryan123220

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:00 AM

Sad to see it end like this. The game had alot of potential and the company did too. Good luck to all of MC's employees looking for new jobs. Maybe the new owners of CXL are hiring?

#20 Hatchet999

Hatchet999

Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:16 AM

I think one of the real shames is that the people who are losing their jobs will be the talented programmers who succeeded in creating a very nice looking game. The accountants and business people that made most of the flawed decisions regarding the finances at MC probably work for agencies or companies with hundreds of clients and so won't be unduly affected by the loss of one.
A sad day, best wishes to all the MC employees.

#21 ilikehotdogsalot

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:26 AM

Another one bites the dust I hope all the employees find good jobs and quickly.

#22 Asheroo

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:27 AM

Terribly sad, but I think we could almost see this one coming. Obviously as the more "optimistic" one of the CXL community, I hoped for it not to happen and MC just survive, but unfortunately they've dropped. You guys at MC have done an amazing job, and I wish you all the very best to your lives and that you'll be employed elsewhere.

Thanks for the work MC, you may not have hit the top with the city building community, but you sure had an amazing and very brave attempt at it. CXL still is to this date my favourite city building game, but it's good to hear a company will continue development, but I hope they have a good understanding of the community, but they should after this. It shows just how powerful we are, the city building community, how small and picky. We're not like other gaming communities where we have lots of games to chose from.

All the very best, to all MC employees.

#23 ydm1223

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:40 AM

I just want to say thanks for everything you guys did and I wish you guys the best on your future endeavors.

#24 LadyKate

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:49 AM

Originally posted by: Asheroo
Terribly sad, but I think we could almost see this one coming. Obviously as the more "optimistic" one of the CXL community, I hoped for it not to happen and MC just survive, but unfortunately they've dropped. You guys at MC have done an amazing job, and I wish you all the very best to your lives and that you'll be employed elsewhere.

Thanks for the work MC, you may not have hit the top with the city building community, but you sure had an amazing and very brave attempt at it. CXL still is to this date my favourite city building game, but it's good to hear a company will continue development, but I hope they have a good understanding of the community, but they should after this. It shows just how powerful we are, the city building community, how small and picky. We're not like other gaming communities where we have lots of games to chose from.

All the very best, to all MC employees.


Unfortunately, the original message did not say that development was going to continue, merely that another company will retain the rights to sell the game.



#25 spa

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 12:10 PM

Sad but not unexpected. Unfortunately, what CitiesXl is now is how the story ends. My bet is the new publisher has picked it up with the eye to just selling it as is. Why invest money into a failed game in which the original team is gone? I'll be really surprised if there are more updates and if CXL2011 ever appears. For the new owner, it would be just sending good money after bad.

#26 Legosim

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 12:14 PM

A very imaginative company to create a 3D citygame. Never had the PC specs high enough to buy the game yet.
Hope you can sell the game to another company to further work on the bigger solo player.

#27 mentarman

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:26 PM

Originally posted by: spa
Sad but not unexpected. Unfortunately, what CitiesXl is now is how the story ends. My bet is the new publisher has picked it up with the eye to just selling it as is. Why invest money into a failed game in which the original team is gone? I'll be really surprised if there are more updates and if CXL2011 ever appears. For the new owner, it would be just sending good money after bad.


Depends on who it is and how much they paid. If they picked it up for a song it might be possible to invest a little and turn out something that will turn a profit.

The problem with MC is they had sunk so much money in that it was tough to do something big enough cheaply enough to recoup that. Now that MC has eaten a lot of the loss officially, the new company's need for return on investment may be different because the investment may be different.



#28 JD_January

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:51 PM

I never bought the game cause MC never put any advertisement on tv radio or online when I found out about cities xl it was like 3-4 months after it was realesed. Point is that cities xl looked like a real potential game but the CEO decided to suck as much money as he could.
It would be amazing if Maxis was the new company imagine
simcity 5 or cities xl 2011 it would be amazing city building game ever.
Hopefully the new company will say something soon of the games future, problem is where are we going to find that information? In citiesxl.com or what other website? I know here the news will get here, hopefully u guys that have facebook will post something up to keep the spirit strong with city building games.

#29 Titorotod

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:59 PM

Very sad news but i think that after weeks of knowing nothing about Monte Cristo, it was expected something similar to happen. I hope that publisher keeps CitiesXL on development because it was a very good idea and a very innovative concept fot city-building games. For all the people who worked in Monte Cristo, I hope they really get to find a job beacuse they put all they effort on this game for sure. Best of luck.

#30 logans_run_lives

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 04:09 PM

OMG... I just bought Cities XL this morning, and am still downloading it right now... and now I come across this news!! Frack!

To be clear, I don't want to be a self-centered moron... my thoughts go to those at MC who just lost their jobs. Buying a game on the same day that the company is closing is annoying, but it's nothing compared to the fear of losing one's job. Clearly, there is much talent at MC, and I wish the best of luck at finding a new job to those from MC.

However, I do want to make one other comment... several people have written in this thread to suggest MC's failure was due to its lack of responsiveness to customer feedback, especially on the online fees and limits to the solo game. I agree completely with their observations that this was a bad model, and probably alienated some people, but I wonder if it really would have been the cause of MC's financial problems? I don't pretend to have even the slightest connection to anyone 'in the know' at MC, but it seems to me, in looking at the game from a distance, that the visual impact of the game's environment probably took massive development investment, and that the financial burden was probably in an attempt initially to move the genre too far forward visually. If that were the case, then some of the functional weaknesses of the game, as well as the inappropriately high online access fees, might be explained as being symptoms of (rather than a cause of) the difficulties at MS... namely that CXL probably went over-budget in the development of its basic graphical interface. I don't want to be anybody's apologist, but all I'm saying is that perhaps the very things that are tempting to blame for the downfall of the company, may actually have been the product of a last-ditch attempt to remain solvent in the aftermath of an earlier gamble that cost the company more dearly than expected.

Before I get pounced on... I know my words here are entirely SPECULATION... but I'm just saying that although it's tempting to blame whoever was behind the ill-conceived "Planet Offer" campaign, the root cause may lie more simply in a company's over-reached attempt to bring us what we all really wanted... the city builder to end all city builders.

All of us on the outside of the company are really just guessing, but perhaps this was more of a failed Hail Mary pass, than it was the product of anyone's ineptitude. Of course, if the new investors release the employees immediately, some of them may weigh in here, and then we'd have a better idea.

In any case, again, good luck to all MC folks at finding new positions!






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