The first of the SimCityNots turned out to be little more than a slight expansion to an already mediocre game. We now know the second, Cities Skylines [official site], will be released on March 10th, so there's just a month left till we discover whether it does a better job at bringing scale and interest to urban simulation. Watch the accompanying trailer below.
I just like footage of simulated cities, alright.
While I'm packing all my hopes into boxes and having them shipped to this next city simulation, there's still a question over what this particular take on the genre is going to sacrifice. I don't believe you can say "We're going to have really big cities" without there being some inevitable trade-off, whether it's simpler citizen AI and traffic behaviour or whether it's just a game that grinds to a halt when your city grows larger than a hamlet.
Paul Dean at least helped pack some of my hope boxes in his preview for us:
We follow a woman called Anna as she walks from her home to a job in a factory. We can see not just where she’s headed (currently where she works; potentially anywhere else), but also how happy she is and even how educated. Curious, I think, that she’s decided to walk to work, though I appreciate our shared preference for leg-propelled travel. Anna, I learn, will eventually die and probably occupy one of the city’s cemeteries. More citizens will be born, live, and die, their routines and needs changing with their age. Hallikainen says that the largest maps can support up to a million of these tiny little lives.
This is what I want: the ability to watch my city scurrying around like an ant farm, and support for the fantasy that those ants don't fade forever from existence when I turn my back. As ever though, wait until it's out until you make your purchase decision.