Hands On: Cities – Skylines

With release less than a month away, Cities: Skylines [official site] could well be creaking under the weight of expectations. 2013’s SimCity left citybuilding fans hungry. Cities XXL didn’t satisfy the pangs, leaving Skylines in the unenviable position of having a ravenous audience in waiting, the majority of whom have already sent a couple of lackluster meals back to the kitchen.

It could be worse, of course. Everyone could have eaten the first dish that was set in front of them and headed for home. Skylines has a captive audience and at the ParadoxCon last week, I had my first chance to take a close look at what it’ll be serving up for them. I played for over an hour, long enough to purchase two extra plots of land and fill them with great looping roads, beachfront residential properties and a couple of graveyards. The signs are very good indeed.

The process of building a city will be familiar to anyone who has ever dabbled with an entry in Maxis’ long-running series. Services, recreational areas and unique buildings are placed directly, but the majority of construction is directed using zoning tools – commercial, industrial and residential. The heart of the simulation is in the demand for goods, jobs and housing, and there are three bars at the foot of the screen tracking the current need for buildings in each type of zoned district.

Complications arise as the population grows, and splits off into various segments, each with specific desires and needs. Families want to live in the catchment area of a school and university graduates want jobs that make good use of their education (English Lit grads, like myself, regrettably fail to gravitate toward part time barista roles). Because cities can cover nine plots, each large enough to contain several distinct districts, it should be possible to provide all things to all people.

The zones and the options that open up as population increases are reminiscent of the best of Sim City’s history. That’s no bad thing, and before I left my city, I clicked through all of the various overlays, highlighting the density of traffic, areas with high crime and pollution, and the flow of water and power. The overlays are useful but are only really necessary when drilling down into the details – the basic view of the city provides an enormous amount of feedback.

Individual cars and citizens (even animals) can be named and tracked as they go about their lives. They’re little more than tools to provide feedback, both through their movements and the Twitter-like squawking messagebox at the top of the screen, but they help to make cities feel like living places, despite the somewhat repetitive buildings. The lack of variety is most noticeable in the early stages of a new project, when all zones have similar value and there’s no bigger picture to distract, but it’s something that Steam Workshop integration should help to address.

Colossal Order are a team of thirteen, perhaps a tenth of the size of the SimCity ’13 dev squad, and without the resources of EA to back them. Smartly, they’ve created systems that drive their cities before spending time and resources providing themes and sixteen distinct cafe designs. Those things will come, provided the demand is there, and I expect the usual mixture of free and paid updates that Paradox apply to their grand strategy titles. Tunnels, for example, won’t be in the game at release, but will be added shortly afterwards, for free. A Tokyo-styled reskin of every building in the game might carry a pricetag.

The Workshop and its contents are free, however. I didn’t play with the modding tools but, among other things, they’ll allow artistic types to import models made elsewhere for inclusion in the game. Even without a fully stocked modshop, Skylines appears to have plenty of content – what it lacks in variety, it makes up for in depth.

There is a sandbox mode, in which every option is unlocked from the start, but I played with progression turned on. Concepts (and the buildings that serve them) are introduced gradually, beginning with roads and the zones that lie alongside them, and progressing to education, healthcare, law enforcement and firefighting. There are several tiers of unique buildings that require the player to reach certain thresholds, including a morbid monument to the dead for the rare murderous mayor.

I had my doubts before playing Skylines. I’ve always found Colossal Order’s Cities In Motion games too fiddly to persevere with for long, and I worried that I’d spend my time with Skylines struggling with the interface. It’s neat, clean and attractive though, with water pipes and power lines snapping into position when placed near an applicable node. There’s a fine line between freedom of expression and tight control, and Skylines is happily perched on it.

When my city was ticking over nicely, I took a tour of the room to look at the urban sprawl of the other journalists in my session. I’d expected to be disappointed – to see something close to my own ‘burbs on every screen – but instead I received unwanted insight into the personalities of my neighbours. One chap had built a Borg-like city of carefully balanced blocks that suggested a mind so ordered it is either sharpened like a scalpel or tensed like a fist. Another had misunderstood several rules of zoning when construction first began, and had a jumbled mess of polluted wasteland shunted off to one side, with grand boulevards sniffily distanced from their own origin story at the other side of the map.

To my right, my old nemesis Fraser Brown (the Scottish chap in this story) had intentionally built his water pump downstream from his sewage drains, feeding his citizens their own poo. We had cities of several types, from my own attempt at a green paradise, with windfarms dominating the open breezy land by the river, to the urban equivalent of The Human Centipede.

It should be added that my city didn’t tick over nicely for very long. When I made it back to my seat, citizens were picking up sticks and heading out of town, leaving abandoned homes. The power had run out due to a suddenly booming industrial sector, leaving one entire residential area without electricity. A few new wind turbines remedied the problem but it was a reminder that the movement of people, power, water and cashflow requires attention, and that the city is not a perpetual machine.

There’s more, including the policies that add character to a city while providing buffs to certain aspects at a slight cost and public transport (of course) that can alleviate pressure on the upgradeable and freeform road systems. An hour isn’t enough time to provide a judgement of the game as long-term entertainment, nor a thorough analysis of its mechanics, but it’s enough to dig into the basic structures. The interface, a couple of early niggles aside, is informative and pleasantly tactile, and cities function as you’d expect them to.

If I have a criticism, it’s that Skylines feels very much like the game I wanted SimCity to be. It has the scale, and smart systems with legible cause and effect. What it’s lacking, in the early stages at least, is a distinct character of its own. It didn’t surprise me (perhaps the poo-feeding surprised me) and perhaps it doesn’t need to, but I hope that the late game will break the template a little. There’s cause to believe that will be the case.

Given the possible size of a city, it should be possible to provide all things for all people. When reaching the limits of the enormous maps, it’ll be necessary to use the ability to name and partition districts in order to keep track of various areas with their own income levels and related demands. These districts can have separate policies applied to them, including taxation, allowing for cities with clear class divisions, including gated communities, sterile but pricey inner city developments, and thriving suburbs.

Communities of various sorts and cities within cities. There’s a thought. Whether Skylines achieves that or not, it’ll almost certainly scratch the SimCity itch and that’s a huge relief.

Cities: Skylines is out March 10th.


  1. DarkLiberator says:

    That’s great to hear. Did the twitter bird ever get annoying though? I’m kinda mixed on it judging from the gameplay.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      Some people I spoke to found it a bit intrusive, but I barely noticed it when I was concentrating my attention elsewhere. Doesn’t take up much screen real estate.

      Wouldn’t be hugely surprised if it can be disabled in the release version since people were telling the dev they’d like that option.

      • MeatMan says:

        I’m glad to hear that other people trying the game voiced their desire to make that fake twitter thing toggleable. From the gameplay videos I’ve seen, that damn thing seems to pop up every 5-10 seconds, which is very annoying. If that’s not toggleable at release, I will wait until they patch it to be toggleable or it’s removed completely by a mod.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      “If I have a criticism, it’s that Skylines feels very much like the game I wanted SimCity to be”

      This is not really a negative in my book, considering SimCity was not that game, we haven’t had that game yet. It’s okay for them to attempt to deliver the polish modern city builder that we all want.

      And they’re going the right way with things like mod support and their general attitude towards their community, as with the vast majority of PDX related projects. The fans will quickly fill up the workshop with additions and tweaks, and it could end up rivalling the great SC4.

      • Pantalaimon says:

        sorry, replied to the wrong thread, edit button why hast though forsaken us.

    • Tritagonist says:

      Developer TotalyMoo posted on the game’s forums on the 20th, saying: “The change we have gone for is that you will now have an option to disable the sound and animation/pop up from Chirper. The bird will still stay on your screen, but you must click it to see the updates from your Cims.”

      At least that’s something, though I can’t imagine why they would insist on keeping the #bird on screen when all its #functionality can be turned off. Even Transport Tycoon from 1994 allowed one to disable the #newspaper updates completely. This shouldn’t be this #hard. And then there’s the silly faux-hip Twittenglish. #Short #Uninformative

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    From what I’ve heard, Cities XXL is like going to a resturant and being handed microwaved leftovers from last week.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Yeah it is a goofy complicated situation.

      Original developer died for having way too ambitious a project. Then some other company used the rights and the half finish assets to release several iterations that were basically not even decent patches and sold these as new games.

      Now this time they actually did fix a few problems with the engine, but other than that it is still more of the same.

      The underlying game is good but it really needs a lot of TLC the current owner is unwilling to provide. It is half off for people who own the previous game, and $20 is honestly not hugely much for a patch that improves the engine a lot if you actually enjoy the game.

      But the community is starving for something decent in this genre and really sick of FHI squatting on this game for 5 years while only making tiny improvements.

      That said if people are stupid enough to pay for garbage then why not sell garbage? I don’t know I guess I understand why everyone feels the way they do.

      That said the Cities XL series collective is like a tremendous beta or late alpha for an amazing city game. But FHI doesn’t seem capable of taking it the rest of the way and people’s purchasing habits have not encouraged them to do so.

    • airmikee says:

      “You can’t always believe what you hear on the internet.” -Abraham Lincoln

      XXL has replaced SC4 as my favorite city builder. XXL runs smoother and with less lag than SC4 does even today on hardware released years after the game. The cities have exponentially more room for growth than SC4 could ever handle. The multicore support and Steam workshop are the furthest things from a “minor update” to the series. There was a massive redditard campaign against XXL, including a competitor giving a discount code to them on a soon to be released game in order to spread their campaign of lies and misinformation about XXL.

      I’m still interesting in trying Cities:Skylines, but Paradox LOVES to add DLC to games, and I’m sure C:S will not be any different than previous Paradox games. So I’ll pick up a complete or GOTY edition when all that DLC has been released, giving me cause to stick with XXL for a while.

      And some delicious irony: Paradox published City Life 2008, a game series considered to be so broken that the original publisher abandoned the project and people demanded a new game because they were sick and tired of getting minor updates to the City Life series. The developer, Monte Cristo, complied and abandoned City Life completely, and introduced us to *drum roll* Cities XL.

      • Elarcis says:

        Since you just quoted that people can’t trust the Internet, I’ll assume you’re just trolling, but just in case you weren’t, you might want to check your facts : City Life was edited by… *drums rolling* Focus Home Interactive!

      • Azirphaeli says:

        Haha, wait what?

        Firstly, I made the great error of nabbing XXL and ended up getting the same game I had abandoned due to memory leaks and poor performance years and years ago. The only difference is the memory leak is gone, some features that never really worked anyways are gone, the UI changed color, and the performance is slightly improved. Ok, it has steam workshop support, so what. This should have been a free patch for those of us stuck with the unplayable cities XL we already paid for but instead FHI just released the same game with the much needed fixes as though it were a sequel.

        But I guess I’m being paid by another dev to say this negative stuff, huh? Monte Cristo dropped the ball with Cities XL, and they paid the price by going under. Focus took the project and has been nickle and diming city builder fans ever since while doing the bare minimum amount of work on the game and re-releasing it repeatedly. Sim City 2013 was a joke. Here’s hoping Cities Skylines can finally give us city building fans something we can enjoy.

        • airmikee99 says:

          It took me 60+ hours in SC4 to get a region over 2mil population, with one city accounting for half of that that is close to 95% full of the map, after buying it for $50 right after release. It’s only been within the last few years that the game became stable enough to handle such a large city, back on my duocore 2.4ghz SC4 would chug down to a standstill and eventually crash.

          It’s taken me 20 hours in XXL to get a region with over 4.2mil population, with one city accounting for 4mil of that (two farm towns feeding and watering the main city). I spent $5 on XL2012, $6 on XLPlatinum, and $20 on XXL, which is still less than the first three copies of SC4 I bought (lost and stolen discs) until picking it up on Steam on sale. I still haven’t encountered enough lag to make the game unplayable, and I’ve still got plenty of map left to grow. The largest city I’ve seen in XXL is 35mil people, numbers that are absolutely impossible to reach in any other city builder. Unmodded C:S will only be able to reach 36km2 maps which dwarfs anything SC offers but pales in comparison to XXL, which is 110km2.

          It sucks that XXL isn’t running right for you, but it runs wonderfully for me.

  3. jonfitt says:

    This is very promising. The only thing I think might be missing as you say is a character all its own. Maxis games (speaking from experience only up to Sim City 4) have a distinct humour and character that prevents the game feeling too “civil service” if that makes any sense.

    • Rindan says:

      Maybe I an alone in wanting this, but I actually want a nice civil service feeling game. I don’t need humor or style. Both of those things entertain only briefly. Just give me awesome mechanics, lots of options, and if I feel the need to reskin it too look like a cartoon, let the modders have that power. Personally, I would prefer a realistic look. I am not enamored with the cartoon style that had infected much of gaming that I frankly think has more to do with keeping specs down for consoles and old MMORPGs than anything else.

      I do hope mod support if excellent though. I want to be able to make a cyberpunk city that looks like something from Blade Runner at some point.

      • jrodman says:

        Does this mean acting as a particular agent of the civil service, or acting as some kind of amalgamation of the whole lot?

      • jonfitt says:

        I guess I should have been more specific in saying that the graphical look has nothing to do with what I meant.
        It’s more that I appreciate the touches of humour like on the properties page of a statue that track the number of poops upon it., or the transportation adviser screaming at you, or the trash piling up in the streets.
        Sim City is a game where you move a slider that adjusts school funding that determines the size of a circle that the school covers. Or if a residential area ticks enough boxes, people build mansions all over it. That’s not how real life works. But it’s a game, and if it were too po-faced the absurdities of the mechanics of the genre would jar.

  4. XiaNaphryz says:

    I wonder how much developer confusion is going to come up from consumers given the game title. There’s a lot of people who originally thought this was being made by the Cities XXL devs as opposed to the Cities in Motion devs.

  5. abHowitzer says:

    From reading a couple of reviews on Cities XXL; this is the citybuilder that’ll have to fill that empty hole in us. From this review, I’m guessing it’s capable enough. Knowing Paradox, and the Steam Workshop, this’ll probably merely be a base on which amazing things can be built.

  6. jrodman says:

    I always had trouble with this genre.

    It seems like something I would be fascinated by. I love watching things unfold. I would play with pouring water into elaborate sand structures for hours as a child. I like experimenting. I like urban planning.

    In practice, though, I generally find the games irritating. “So and so is unhappy!!! Fix it now!” “Such and such is broken! Deal with it now!” is the first layer of annoyance. After that we get a mysterious set of expectations of the simulation that if I don’t satisfy nothing goes anywhere. I learn about a variety of failure conditions by failing without a clear indication of what nonfailure looks like.

    What about a setting where a city can partially manage itself with the player making a mix of influential and overriding decisions? Would that be better? Or possibly a set of constraints applied to the simulation to see what happens.

    • norfolk says:

      “So and so is unhappy!!! Fix it now!” “Such and such is broken! Deal with it now!” is the first layer of annoyance. After that we get a mysterious set of expectations of the simulation that if I don’t satisfy nothing goes anywhere. I learn about a variety of failure conditions by failing without a clear indication of what nonfailure looks like.

      Sounds a bit like what I understand actual politics to be like.

      • jrodman says:

        Sure, but these are not billed as politics simulators.

        • airmikee99 says:

          I think he meant the politics of city building, not the backend deals that politicians play to do the things, but the actual work that gets done once those deals are made.

          • jrodman says:

            As did I.

          • airmikee says:

            RE: jrodman

            So you don’t think actual life includes citizens complaining about things until politicians make their shady deals to fix whatever the complaints were about?

          • jrodman says:

            Ahh, putting non-sequeitor statements in other people’s mouths. As usual.

  7. slerbal says:

    What a very encouraging hands on! I won’t pre-order but it is more and more looking like a purchase as soon as RPS reviews it.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      I was horribly disappointed by the dumbed down monstrosity that SimCity turned out to be (cameo: too-small cities, always-on internet, and the word “plop”)… so I think these guys deserve at least as much opportunity to disappoint me.

      And for the record, I don’t care about original flair or quirky humour or whatever. I want a good solid game with enough options that I can adjust it to my taste.

  8. Baines says:

    Just wondering, since mentioning it on ad thread in the forum has had no response, but will RPS do anything about the Cities Skylines background ad that it is currently running? We were told that RPS wouldn’t use pop-up ads, but the Cities Skylines ad includes a screen takeover pop-up video.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      It only pop’s up if you hold your cursor over the “expand this video” for 4 seconds. So don’t do that. What is your cursor doing over the background anyway?

      • MistaJah says:

        Trying to toggle mouse scroll?

      • Baines says:

        What is my mouse doing their?

        I run multiple tabs in a browser, and will load links into a new tab. I often use keyboard commands to navigate pages because in several situations it can be faster than using the mouse (though some pages interfere with keyboard navigation). My mouse can end up idling anywhere on a page.

        For Cities: Skylines, the mouseover hotspot stretches nearly the full width of my screen and occupies over one-fifth of the height (running at 1600×900). So if my mouse happened to be in a completely random spot, then there is around a 1-in-5 chance that it will be sitting over the pop-up activation box. Since I ignore such ads, I can easily not notice that my mouse is in the hot spot unless I catch the counter moving out the corner of my eye.

        There are other issues at hand, in that neither Flashblocker nor apparently Adblock can prevent the pop up. (Flashblocker prevents the background flash animation from playing and prevents the pop-up from autoplaying. I don’t run Adblock, but someone else on the forum mentioned that it doesn’t work.) I’ve also noticed that, at least on my browser, the Close button for the pop-up is covered by the profile bar that RPS puts at the top of its pages.

        And again, we were told that RPS wouldn’t run such ads.

  9. Jac says:

    Has there been any word on system specs? I’m trying not to get too excited but I am. Now all I need is for it to run on intel integrated graphics for my laptop!

    • SuicideKing says:

      It might just about run on Haswell and Broadwell IGPs.

      OS: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 (64-bit)
      Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo, 3.0GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+, 3.2GHz
      Memory: 4 GB RAM
      Graphics: nVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, 512 MB / ATI Radeon HD 5670, 512 MB
      DirectX: Version 11
      Network: Broadband Internet connection
      Hard Drive: 4 GB available space

      OS: Microsoft Windows 7/8 (64-bit)
      Processor: Intel Core i5-3470, 3.20GHz / AMD FX-6300, 3.5Ghz
      Memory: 6 GB RAM
      Graphics: nVIDIA GeForce GTX 660, 2 GB / AMD Radeon HD 7870, 2 GB
      DirectX: Version 11
      Network: Broadband Internet connection
      Hard Drive: 4 GB available space

      Source: link to store.steampowered.com

      • SuicideKing says:

        I can’t seem to edit for some reason, wanted to fix the use of BBCode. :/

      • SuicideKing says:

        I’m not sure why they thing a quad core Core i5 is equal to an FX-6300. I think we can safely assume everything above a Core 2 Quad to work fine, or alternatively the FX-6300 is an understatement.

      • Jac says:

        Thank you very much. I am stuck in hotels Mon-Fri with work so fingers crossed my surface pro 2 will be able to handle it.

  10. mrskwid says:

    cool i liked sim city 4 never tried the new one but if this does what it says i can’t whit.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      I would say that Sim City 4 was Maxis’s high point .

  11. Rindan says:

    Any word on multiplayer? My brother and I have always fantasized about being able to take a large region, split it up, and develop it with different rules together, like a real region. It would be awesome for one of us to develop Boston (the American one) while the other develops Cambridge (also the American one) and Somerville (that name was apparently stolen from the French) across the river.

    Why no one had made a good sim city game with decent cooperative game play is beyond me. I don’t want some glorified pipes connecting the cities. I want to actually build with someone and have regions intimately linked so you can get realist metro areas.

    • jrodman says:

      The Massachusetts Somerville apparently was a made-up name, *ville was a pretty common choice for places here and there, so it was likely backformed from other thefts, or places named via surnames.

      As for creating the Boston-area Cambridge & Somerville, the real challenge would be going for historical accuracy. How can you get such disparity from adjacent communities?

      • Rindan says:

        I think that there is a lot of fun to be had in creating that disparity with zoning, taxes, and other rules, and have it all in the same simulation. Like I said, I would kill to be able to draw town boundaries and have those towns running on different rules. It would be mind blowing to be able to setup towns in the same simulation and have one person control one town and the other control another.

        It seems like the most obvious multi-player mode one would try and build,which makes it a real shame no one has done it yet.

  12. DRoseDARs says:

    Adam, since you actually played it a bit maybe you can answer this: Can you give us a better sense of the scale of maps in this game? SimCity 4 had three map sizes: 1x1km, 2x2km and 4x4km. Regions filled with any combination of these three map sizes could be as big as the user’s computer could handle (I once tried to do a scale size rendering of the Hawaiian Islands chain, something like 128km lengthwise, it took hours to render and was glorious when it was done).

    This bit concerns me:
    “Because cities can cover nine plots, each large enough to contain several distinct districts, it should be possible to provide all things to all people.”

    But this bit seems to contradict:
    “Given the possible size of a city, it should be possible to provide all things for all people. When reaching the limits of the enormous maps”

    Given what one could do to create vast regions filled with 3 map sizes in SC4, how does that compare to what can be done in C:S? (Side note: Is that how we’d shorthand the game’s name? Or is that too close to CounterStrike nomenclature?)

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Then default mode is up to 9 2x2km tiles. So a 6x6km square. By hat is actually plenty large for the core I most cities and the scale of a game like this. Then with mods you can unlock it to 10x10km and 25 tiles. That is quite large.

      Sim city 4 never ran such that you could have the whole Hawaiian island chain. I mean sure you could scale it so 1 km in game equal 20km irl, but what is the point of that.

      Frankly sincere 4 ran quite poorly much above 12x12km. You have to be realistic.

      • DRoseDARs says:

        Thank you for the answer, and it’s a little disappointing given it seems it is significantly less expansive than SC4’s region system. 6x6km is a lot to work with, but far far less than you could do in SC4. I have to wonder if that’s all in how much has to be simulated.

        Also, I think you may be misremembering how SC4 worked. Cities were only active when you were in them. The region itself was never an active simulation, more of a lobby showing its associated maps like a visual savegame menu (either being used or still waiting; some could sit unused for eons but still be part of the region, they just didn’t affect the simulation in any way). You would have to periodically save the current state of the active map, then load other maps individually to update their states to incorporate changed conditions in original map and vice versa. The region could be as big as your computer could handle, it was only the initial rendering of the whole region and its constituent maps (themselves always either 1x1km, 2x2km, or 4x4km) that took ages. Trust me, I know of what I speak. I was without my computer for a day waiting on the Hawaiian region to render so many 4x4km maps. I felt guilty marring the pristine 4x4km map that encompassed Pearl Harbor and much of the area of Honolulu.

        Tile = 16x16m >>> Map = 1x1km (1024x1024m or 64 tiles), 2x2km (2048x2048m or 128 tiles), or 4x4km (4096x4096m or 256 tiles) >>> Region = Limited by computer power (overall map had to be absolute square or rectangle, filled with any combination of the 3 map sizes)

        • Joshua Northey says:

          I played a lot of Simcity 4 and if you had an extremely large region after you built a few large cities the slowdown was intolerable. That was my experience on a quite good machine.

          I made maps of the whole surface of mars, the moon, many cities. But I generally kept them around 16 4X4 tiles because even at 25 tiles if you filled them all up there would be noticeable slowdown.

  13. piphil says:

    As a fan of Cities in Motion: how much control will we be given over mass transport in our cities?

    • zero signal says:

      Look for the dev diary videos by Skye Storme on youtube, there’s some good info there. In short: more than most city sims, but less than a pure transport tycoon-type sim.

  14. Pantalaimon says:

    “If I have a criticism, it’s that Skylines feels very much like the game I wanted SimCity to be”

    This is not really a negative in my book, considering SimCity was not that game, we haven’t had that game yet. It’s okay for them to attempt to deliver the polish modern city builder that we all want.

    And they’re going the right way with things like mod support and their general attitude towards their community, as with the vast majority of PDX related projects. The fans will quickly fill up the workshop with additions and tweaks, and it could end up rivalling the great SC4.

  15. Ejia says:

    My hopes! They are teetering on the summit of Mt. Hype! I pray they do not go into freefall and splat all over disappointment gorge.

  16. SuicideKing says:

    Yup, birthday present for me. :D

  17. byjimini says:

    I’ll wait until release, thanks. This series of videogames are like Peter Molyneux; so much promise only to be let down once it comes out.

    • Cleave says:

      There’s a great series of videos from the developers which display a lot of the features. Not suggesting you should pre-order but it is looking very promising.

  18. Cleave says:

    “English Lit grads, like myself, regrettably fail to gravitate toward part time barista roles”

    I’m sure you could work at Costa if you wanted to.