Big City Stories: Free-to-Play City Builder Launching August 23 on PS4

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Big City Stories: Free-to-Play City Builder Launching August 23 on PS4

Hi, I’m Jeff, president and co-founder of Hellfire Games. We’re an indie studio in Austin, Texas, and I’m excited to announce the launch of Big City Stories on August 23.

For the past eighteen months we’ve been working on Big City Stories, a new type of console game. We like to think of Big City Stories as the fusion of some of our favorite genres: city-building, open-world, and MMO.

City Building and a Whole Lot More

We’re big fans of city-building simulators, but we wanted Big City Stories to be more than that. We wanted you to have the power to interact with and enjoy the city you created via third-person. This was an incredibly challenging task. Most city-builders give you a bird’s-eye view of your city, which is relatively straight-forward. Our game, on the other hand, lets you drop down to street level with the touch of a button and no load screen.

Besides the inherent art and engineering difficulties of moving between two very different modes of gameplay, our approach also required us to add much more functionality. There are many systems necessary for a third-person game that are not present in traditional city-builders, and we saw this as an opportunity to redefine a genre we love so much. Here’s a short list of the additional systems that we had to design and engineer for our unique game:

  • Highly customizable avatars with a large selection of clothing items and emotes/animations.
  • A vehicle system that lets you commandeer and drive vehicles.
  • Interactive objects such as stunt ramps and air jets that you can place anywhere.
  • Action-packed mini-games.

With the Social Element of MMOs

I was one of the original developers of Ultima Online, and I’ve always wanted to take the MMO experience to PlayStation consoles. We accomplish this in Big City Stories by adding multiplayer features normally not found in city-builders. For example, we’ve made cities persistent spaces so your friends can hang out with you; they can even check out your city when you’re offline. We’ve also added public spaces like a train station where you can make new friends.

Like MMOs, Big City Stories is designed to grow and evolve. We intend to constantly update and improve the game, adding more content and features.

As you can tell from this description, Big City Stories is much more than just another city-builder! Big City Stories gives players the tools, freedom, and control to build their dream cities, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it!

Big City Stories is free-to-play, we are launching on August 23 first in the USA, but we will expand to other regions soon.

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7 Author Replies

  • I’ve been in the beta for awhile now so it’s great to see the full thing coming out finally. Former PlayStation Home fans check this out. Will the game get trophies next week too and does it have a Platinum?

  • A friend gave me a beta code and omg I like that you can move buildings whereas the ps home conterpart you couldn’t. You had to demolish and rebuild. kudos on that hellfire. question though. will any nods of novus prime or the recuitment center be made or make a apperance in big city stories ? wwwhhhooo :D

  • When will it release in Portugal?

  • This looks very cool! Can’t wait to give it a shot. Thanks for bringing this to PlayStation

  • How does the Free 2 Play model work in this game, I hope it will not be like Facebook games or Smartphone type games where you need to wait like 24hours to get something done.

    • In order to build things, you need workers. Your workforce is constantly replenishing. You can also use ‘gold coins’ (you get a supply of them for free, plus you can purchase more) to build colleges/universities that increase the size of your workforce.

  • It’s a lot of fun. Still a little fixing needed but anyone who liked HOME TYCOON will very likely enjoy BIG CITY STORIES.
    I am in BETA so I’ve had a preview.

  • As a fan of Home Tycoon in PS Home, I was glad to get a code for the closed beta. Really enjoyed it. Lots of improvements over Home Tycoon: more story missions, greater detail in the buildings and environments, the ability to upgrade buildings and you can place decorations all around your city. Can’t wait for the full release on Tuesday!!

  • I played in the beta. It’s really immersive to run around (and drive) in a city I built. I’m curious to see what it’ll be like when it’s opened up for everyone

  • Will this be as in depth as Cities: Skylines in terms of city management and development?

    • The two are tough to compare because of their core differences. Big City Stories challenges you to balance your economy which requires thoughtful building placement among other considerations. Once the city is producing well you can invest in objects to place in the streets, which open up a whole new layer of gameplay when you drop to ground-level.

  • Cant wait I’ve been in the closed beta since day one. This will be a good hold over game till the other two nameless MMOs come out hopefully later this year

  • I really appreciate all the people who played the beta giving some perspective, thanks.

  • Sounds awesome, never heard of it. Will try it for sure.

  • Wish you would have started off with “My name is Jeff” so I could read it with 22nd Jump Street voice.

  • This looks like it could be quite fun, and I like that the barrier to entry is free so everyone can check it out for themselves. Do you need PlayStation Plus to take advantage of the online features? If your friends can hang out with you does that mean you can play some of the mini games together too?

    • PlayStation Plus is not required for the online features, but you should be a member anyway! The mini-game activities are currently singleplayer but we have some great ideas for multiplayer ones to come.

  • Can wait to give it a try i like open world games Ima get my cousins to get it so we can build the biggest city and its free wow **what a time to be alive**

  • Is this game online only?

  • When do you plan on releasing the game in the UK?

  • Will the full release of the game be free?

  • The Beta was a great experience and can’t wait to start my city over and create a whole new city. Great game and great communication availability with the developers. Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the future of the game.

  • Simulation is one of my top favorite video game genre and I love city-building stuff. SimCity and Cities XL are my favorites. I’ll definitely try it when it finally comes out.

  • How does geo-forming come into play with your game? For example, will the balance of oxygen be derived by some initial settings, per city, or does it manifest itself due to the nature of what you build? It is this type of question, and questions about gravity, that haunt me after your excellent suggestion.

  • this sounds really interesting. I’ll have to check this out.

  • This seems very interesting, I’ll definitely give it a download.
    I only have one question, are we able to create “small town” types of cities, filled with one/two story buildings and a residential district with houses, or are we limited to only skyscraper filled big cities?

    • I prefer the option of smaller towns, one story buildings residential ans business, and have done so in BETA.
      Then again, I have built large building cities also. Both are fun.

  • Free to play SimCity clone? Yes please!

  • Do u have buildings u can enter or is it just cosmetic? Will u add a medieval skin to the game with economic grow and a castle with a throne to sit on.

  • Congratulations to the whole team at Hellfire Games on the announcement! The closed beta was great fun and has come a long way! Hellfire has a lot experience with city-building sims from their previous work on PS Home (PS3). I always enjoyed playing Home Tycoon on PS Home and Big City Stories has so much in it that PS Home couldn’t technically support. It’s so cool BCS will be able reach a much wider audience on PS4 and everyone will get to know these awesome developers, their passion for this game and community =^)

    Best of luck with the launch next week, guys and congratulations again on this milestone!! =^)

    Grey Neo =^)
    madmunki games community manager

  • Is it coming to ps3

  • Ive been waiting for a good City Builder on PS. Is this it? Is it a City builder first or is it more focused on getting on the ground and running around? How much depth is there to the management? How much variety? I hope this is more SimCity and less Sims. I’ll keep my eyes open for this one, but we definitely need more information.

    • Also, how intrusive are the Free-to-Play aspects? Will we be constantly harassed and begged to pay? Or will we run in to pay walls that limit the enjoyment of the game? I would much rather buy a game at full price and be left alone to play, than try for free and feel like I’m being hounded constantly by a panhandler.

  • will it be available in canada

  • Is the multiplayer element only for online or can two players interact on a local system?

  • I am ecstatic to see the words “Ultima Online” in this. I been wanting to play a new game with crafting/building and this may just do it!

  • Would you like to play in Japan ?

  • It is the 23 and I Have been waiting for today since I read this post to play and I Cant find the game in the PlayStation store anywhere. Is there a delay on when the game is being launched?

  • me too can’t find the game?

  • I can’t find it :(

  • Can;t wait to play this tonight!

  • I was able to find the game in the PlayStation Store and download it to my PS4 remotely. Are you all in the countries listed as having access today?

  • I also downloded it remotely

  • Seem like CAnada Can’t play it -_-

  • When is it releasing in Canada???

  • Do you plan on fixing the server errors? I have been trying to get on the game all day and all I get is “connection failed” “server timed out. Please help.

  • I downloaded the game yesterday and I am having issues with making my character ..somehow I am stuck as a boy when I choose female and I can’t figure out after I do the face and body stuff how to change clothes

  • I have gotten the bridge built. but now the server refuses to let me connect. why didn’t you have a stress test? so many games that are THIS large of a scale stress testing things before launching. when will the servers be stable enough to enable me to connect whenever i want?

  • Can’t play in Canada???????????

  • When’s the Canadian release date.

    After seeing this on reddit I was supper hyped but I’m currently disappointed that it’s not available in Canada yet.

  • any idea when the game is being released in Canada?

  • Is there a way to delete cities? I got stuck on the mission where you’re supposed to move the ramp because I deleted it instead.

  • So any ideas when it will be released in the UK. i always wanted a City Builder for free that isnt hard to learn like tropico lol

  • What level do you have to be to play with friends or join their citys? I can’t find my friends city but he is only level 3

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