The worst thing about Cities: Skylines 2 is that it has recently been released.
If only this big love city developer simulation would have been released some time ago, patched repeatedly, and updated with some gap-filling DLC, it would be great. It can be on its slow-burning second step, as No Man’s Sky, Cyberpunk 2077or Final fantasy XIV. It can be settled into a disgruntled-but-still-investing player base, like Fate 2 or Overwatch 2. Or your technical debts can be paid off slowly to let your basic abilities come through, as well Disco Elysium or The Witcher 3.
But Cities: Skylines 2 (C:S2) Unfortunately it is now in its current state. It has serious performance issues, both acknowledged by the 30-odd employee Colossal Command and studied in depth by others (which we’ll get into). It has a rough look when compared to its predecessor, which has accumulated eight years of fixes, DLC, and mods to cover a wide range of concepts. Worse, it’s highly anticipated by fans, some of whom have high-end systems that still can’t play slow-motion games properly.
“My heart goes out to the devs,” says Robert Zubek, a game designer, developer, and developer of simulation-focused indie game processor SomaSim. “You’re at the mercy of two big competitive pressures out there.” One of them is an unlimited test, an all-encompassing test. “No simulation game is ever finished, it’s just delivered at some point… You can make your model closer and closer to some perfect reality, but eventually, you have to put it in front of people and see, ‘How does this really working out?'”
Why the game board, then? Ah, right, Q4.
The other huge pressure competition in the fourth quarter, with which Zubek is intimately familiar. Before development City of Gangsters, Highrise Projectand gold-rush city-sim The year 1849Zubek works on CityVille, FarmVille 2and other online games in Zynga and Electronic Arts / Maxis, the company of the SimCity the right to vote Cities: Skylines very replaceable.
In any game publisher, but especially one that sells publicly, the approach of the all-important holiday season (and the fourth financial quarter) puts a lot of pressure on any game released in this window. Although the games were not placed on gold master discs to print plants and put on the shelves for the time, it was still when more people bought games for themselves—and themselves. And the fourth quarter is when most companies raise their financial year, which they report to investors and shareholders. Artists may not seem to see it to the calendar year anymore, but companies, and the developers they employ, certainly do.
When he was at EA, Zubek saw how one game slipping from one year to the next could mean that an entire division fell short of expectations. All the labor hours for that profit are expenses, and now there is no profit to offset them for that year. Distraction can make it hard to convince a publisher to hire or hire the people you really need to complete a game. Financial issues make it more difficult to hire developers at all. “I want to say that I wish I could give it Cities join another half year,” Zubek said, “but I’m not sure if that would have been a good thing.”