By Khurram Aziz email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Jan 21, 2013 04:06 PM EST
EA temporarily opened sign-ups for the beta version of its new SimCity game, and closed it again, as it prepares to launch the preview between Jan.25 and Jan. 28.
The beta gives eager fans a chance to play a one-hour slice of the game, multiple times if they want to, and send feedback to the game's developers at Maxis.
The title itself is not due for release until March and will be the fifth installment of the popular city-planning simulator.
"It is always an exciting moment to share a game that is still in development with its biggest fans prior to launch," said Lucy Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA's Maxis Label, in a statement published by MTV. "This beta will help the team improve the live service aspects of SimCity to ensure a smooth and user-friendly experience at launch. I want to thank everyone for signing up - we are excited to share one of our most beloved franchises with our fans."
SimCity 5 is designed for the social network generation, and comes with the first ever SimCity multiplayer, built-in with support for up to 16 players building in the same area. The game also has a cloud-based saving feature which automatically captures players' progress while playing online.
While EA is tight-lipped about much of what will be new in the game, we do know that it will feature hyper realistic visuals, full 3D graphics, and the chance for players to handle real-life social issues like climate change, renewable resources, and natural disasters.
However, familiar features, such as zoning blocks for commercial or residential use, increasing or lowering taxes, demolishing derelict buildings, and sending emergency support when fires breakout randomly across the city, will be returning.
You can pre-order SimCity 5 on EA's Web site with a limited edition of the game availble for $59.99 and a digital deluxe edition version, which includes three additional cityscapes and a "heroes and villains" set, for $79.99.
You can check out the 1:23min teaser of the new game in the video below:
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