SimCity 4: Rush Hour announced

EA announces that the first SimCity 4 expansion pack is already in development at its Maxis studio. First screens inside.

Electronic Arts has today announced that the first SimCity 4 expansion pack is already in development at its Walnut Creek-based Maxis studio. SimCity 4: Rush Hour, which will require a copy of the original game to play, will allow players to actively take care of their city's transportation needs by taking charge of the roads, railways, waterways, and airspace.

"Transportation is the pulsing lifeblood of every city and is the number-one requested area to expand upon among SimCity 4 fans," said Lucy Bradshaw, vice president and executive producer of the game at EA's Maxis studio. "Players will experience the thrill and power of creating and controlling the ultimate transportation utopia in SimCity 4: Rush Hour."

In Rush Hour, players will be able to re-create the elevated train networks of Boston, the wide avenues of New York, or even the winding one-way streets of San Francisco, should they wish to do so. Other new options in the expansion pack will include mass transit rail systems and subways, ferries, helicopters, zeppelins, new bridge options, and the ability to create a city based on a modern European building set. New structures in Rush Hour will include historic train stations, classic American landmarks, and European tourist attractions. As mayor, players will also be able to personalize their own street names, neighborhoods, and any points of interest within their city.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of SimCity 4: Rush Hour is that for the first time in the series' history, players will get to take control of vehicles in their cities to complete missions. The examples of missions given in today's press release include getting a fire engine to the scene of a fire as quickly as possible, catching carjackers, and thwarting bank robbers. Players will also have new disasters to contend with in Rush Hour, including road accidents and train derailments.

Players will also have the option to assume control of a UFO and trigger an alien invasion, looking on as their sims are abducted or baffled by the appearance of crop circles. No release date for SimCity 4: Rush Hour has been announced at this time, but we'll bring you more information on the expansion pack as soon as it becomes available.

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