Bus Simulator 16 Will Let You Manage The Buses

My love of driving simulators – including bus simulators such as OMSI – isn’t ironic. I resent living in a world that thinks my interest in the just announced Bus Simulator 16 [Facebook page] anything but sincere. German many-sim publisher Astragon have declared that the game will be out before the end of the year and it sounds like it may be taking a cargo-load of inspiration from Euro Truck Simulator, by letting you not only drive the buses but build a bus business empire.

As well as steering the buses, obeying traffic laws and delivering passengers on time, you’ll also need to design your own routes and maintain the reputation of your company by communicating with passengers, selling them tickets, and handling “the different moods of the commuters.” The better you deal with those situations, the greater the reputation of your company and the greater the popularity of the routes you operate. “Good management will also of course mean financial success and even more and better buses for the player’s company,” says the press release. Play well and I imagine you’ll soon have a monopoly, allowing you to hike up your prices even as your stock falls into disrepair and the quality of service declines, all while the feckless local government rewards you a renewed contract year after year. That’s how this works, yeah?

Bus Simulator 16 has licensed the vehicles of German bus maker MAN, though my love of these games doesn’t extend so far as having knowledge of individual bus manufacturers. Instead I’m in it for the relaxation of tourism, the trance-like state driving can induce, and the satisfaction of skillfully following a set of complicated rules. Wrapping that up in a business management metagame – as Euro Truck Simulator does, but OMSI never did – should hopefully increase that engrossing relaxation.

Of course, my enjoyment will still depend mainly on the physics of the driving model. Bus Simulator 16 is being developed by Stillalive Studios, whose only game thus far is fantasy terraforming and physics puzzler Son of Nor, which Chris Livingston quite liked when he wrote about it for us last year. It’s a game that has little in common with a bus simulator, although it does allow you to cover a giant butt crack with a tower of sand you willed into existence, a skill I have often wished I possessed while riding buses around Bath.

There’s not yet a trailer for Bus Simulator 2016 and so I clicked the below, from the same publisher, thinking it a video of the last iteration. It turns out that there is no previous game in the series, and this is instead a trailer for Bau Simulator 2015 – which is known as Construction Simulator 2015 outside of Germany. Egg and chips all over my face, but here’s that trailer anyway because why not:


  1. FoSmash says:

    Surely your Bus-ness Empire will be the red route to success!

  2. noodlecake says:

    Hmm. What would really make this is different bus driver models, and different bus driver temperaments as well as ethical decisions.

    Do you reject somebody because they’ve given you lots of coppers and you now have to count the coppers potentially leaving you slightly late? Maybe sending them away will hurt your overall reputation. Do you reject people for trying to pay with a £10 note? Do you (this happened to me) reject somebody because they are a man wearing make up and a fairy dress and you happen to be a massive bigot?

    Maybe the people you hire all make these kinds of value choices based on their AI too, and it affects your business.

    It would be cool to have bus drivers interact in passing too! I live in Falmouth in Cornwall and the bus drivers are way more friendly to one another than the drivers back in Leeds. They tend to wind their windows down and shout stuff at each other as buses overtake each other. Things like that would be great!

    It would be nice just to recognise Phil, the overweight bearded driver who likes pork pies and takes slightly longer breaks than most people but has a friendly attitude that slightly raises customer satisfaction, driving past and shouting “Ayup duck!!” in a broad Sheffield accent as he goes past your own bus where your routes cross.

    I would buy this game. The one that will probably end up coming out, not so much.

    • noodlecake says:

      Also the inclusion of antisocial customers who annoy people playing music on their mobile phone speakers, or smoking upstairs, and maybe even things like incontinent pedestrians who lower the capacity of your bus because people won’t sit within a certain radius of where the event happens till it is cleaned up back at the station.

      My gran witnessed a bus driver getting his nose bust open by a girl who was playing her music loud on her phone and he tried to deal with it as he was getting complaints from some of the other pedestrians about it.

      Maybe you could even opt to have a radio on the bus which will lower the stress levels of drivers but irritate some customers, like they have on the Los Angeles transport system.

      I care far more about this stuff than realistic driving! Maybe even have the buses handle like an arcade racing game!

      • Kong says:

        oh how I want to play a busdriver. Being stressed out by traffic and customers. Shutting doors in the face of slow people or fast people who barely made it. Fighting the urge to ram cars which ignore my Vorfahrt. Ramming cars that ignore my Vorfahrt.
        How many minutes of fun that will give me. Fun and escapism until I drive my car to simulate being a responsible driver during rush hour.
        Hey fellow Germans. How about paying bills simulator? Filling out forms simulator? Too exciting…how about a lamp post simulator: easy playing a post in the middle of nowhere, playing a post at a busy crossing in Berlin Mitte is advanced difficulty.

  3. Frings says:

    Sounds like the kind of game I’d love but be terrible at when it comes to creating the routes. Similarly to how I’ve always loved Rollercoaster Tycoon but was incapable of building actual decent rollecoaster tracks manually. (Those sad, sad basic circle-ish coasters…)

  4. Synesthesia says:

    OMSI has almost immediately become a big favourite in my list , thanks to RPS. I hope they nail this.

    OMSI is absolutely fantastic, but an open modding community, or at the very least a few extra character models and animations would do it a lot of good. Too bad the designers don’t really seem very open to that thought.

    Maybe we can even get an omsi-like IBIS simulation, and some detailed buses with proper startup procedures… a man can dream. I think berlin is calling, i need to liste to the whistles of compressed air again.

  5. JaminBob says:

    Well this is the only thread such a comment would be acceptable, regarding the reference to feckless local authorities, outside of London bus services are ran on an entirely commercial basis and under no contract with L.As. in fact under the 1985 Transport Act it’s illegal for a council to run bus routes unless they are deemed ‘socially neaseccary’.