Navigating the corridors and alleys of cities can often make a person feel small, but video games are here to make you feel big again.
Mobile publisher Storm8 wants to give players control over city streets, business, and housing in its new Dream City: Metropolis game that launched July 7 on iOS and Android. In this app, gamers take on the role of a tycoon who must revitalize their town. Dream City is entering a $36.9 billion mobile gaming market that is not short on builder-style games. Top-grossing games like Clash of Clans, Game of War, and Boom Beach all feature mild city-management elements, but they are a different type of game.
Of course, Storm8’s take is much closer to Electronic Arts’ SimCity: BuildIt game, which is in the top-100 highest-grossing apps on iOS and Android. That is a mobile adaptation of SimCity, which was the originator of this genre when renowned director Will Wright developed the original in 1989. SimCity was a breakout hit, and city-management games have had a large audience ever since.
Storm8 is hoping to capitalize on that crowd while also growing it by offering players freedom and discovery.
“We think of Dream City as a fresh take on the city-building genre,” Storm8 executive producer Jenny Martin told GamesBeat. “We’re allowing players to really grow the city of their dreams.”
Storm8 wants to give players all the tools to make exactly the city they want. Dream City is not a restrictive experience. Players can put roads, buildings, and attractions anywhere they want. This is different from some games that feature zoning restrictions.
“We’re giving players customization beyond what they can do in other games,” said Martin. “You can actually place any kind of building — business and landmarks — and really customize them anywhere.”
On top of that, the developer worked to include top-notch animations and visuals to give the game world personality.
Dream City also features a narrative where players must uncover what happened to Old Man Chesterfield, who ran the city before you.
“You’ll unlock certain buildings that relate to Old Man Chesterfield,” said Martin. “He was this railroad tycoon who spent all his money building this city, and then the mystery is what happened to that. When you come in, everything is overgrown — and it’s your job to rebuild the city.”
In moving through the game, players will learn more about the history of the city by working with and crafting items for the people in various industries.
Finally, Storm8 is bringing a pinch of reality into Dream City through an interesting marketing partnership. One of the buildings that players can use is a Regal Cinema-branded movie theater. As players upgrade their theater, they can get to a point where they can go into the building and watch trailers for games and films. Down the line, Storm8 expects to bring other brands into the game.