As critics continue to ding Zynga for a lack of mobile revenue, the company is making another bet on one of its most popular desktop franchises, CityVille.
Zynga released CityVille 2 today, a 3D and more interactive game based on the original's premise of building a own city in which you are mayor. At its height, CityVille had 100 million players. Today, that number is down to 16.2 million monthly active users and 2.1 million daily active users.
Mark Nelson, the director of design for CityVille 2, said the orignal CityVille, which launched nearly two years ago, was a "runaway hit" that was No 1 on Facebook for more than a year.
He said CityVille 2 is not about replacing the original.
"What FarmVille 2 has really shown us is that FarmVille players want to play both games," Nelson said.
The company launched the 3D FarmVille 2, a remake of another once-popular franchise, in early September.
Since then FarmVille 2 has gained 64.3 million monthly active users and 8.7 million daily active users, according to AppData. The original FarmVille, which at its height had 32 million players, has lost some steam. It currently has 18. 1 million monthly active users and 2.8 million daily users, according to AppData.
Nelson said CityVille 2 draws on the original, but borrows elements from more traditional game mechanics. CityVille 2 has a storyline, opening with an explosion at the mayor's mansion. It's a "whodunit" plot with suspects that include Rosemary Escarole, a community activist; Kurt Steele, a wealthy industrialist; and Tre, a reality TV star wannabe. Players can communicate within the game in real time and see their place on a leaderboard.
With the 3D graphics, players can peek around buildings and toggle the game between daytime and nighttime. This is Zynga's second 3D game. FarmVille 2 was the first.
Zynga's business has been hit hard recently. Following a poor earnings report this last quarter, the company announced it was laying off 5 percent of its staff. It's unclear how many more desktop game remakes Zynga will launch -- the company has been moving away from being a game creator in hopes of establishing itself as a successful gaming platform instead.