Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Cities: Skylines

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/c5d08341887d6e8d95a7ffe04d09ce59.png
Advertisement:

Cities: Skylines is a city-building Simulation Game released in 2015 by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive. It is in some respects almost a clone of Maxis' SimCity series, right down to the graphics style. Due to the lukewarm reception 2013's SimCity (and EA shutting down Maxis in the same month Skylines was published), many fans see Skylines as "what SimCity was meant to be" before Executive Meddling turned SimCity into an online game. Skylines is single-player and doesn't require online access, with heavy emphasis on improved traffic AI. However, opinions may vary.

Just like other city-building games, the player takes the role of a mayor, zoning industrial, residential and commercial areas in their city, managing budgets and infrastructure and expanding or reshaping the city to fit the citizens' needs. The game's "main" play mode unlocks various buildings and policies as the town grows, but the developers included mods which allow the player to have infinite money and unlock all buildings and services.

Advertisement:

Multiple expansions have been released in the years following, adding new features and scenarios, as well as expanding and improving upon existing features:

  • After Dark (September 2015), introducing a day/night cycle to the game, as well as expanded options for tourism and leisure.
  • Snowfall (February 2016), adding weather and temperature effects.
  • Natural Disasters (November 2016), adding natural disasters and early warning/response systems.
  • Mass Transit (May 2017), introducing transit hubs and more methods of transport including ferries, cable cars, and blimps.
  • Green Cities (October 2017), adding eco-friendly buildings, electric cars, and various public services, as well as more options for specialized districts.
  • Parklife (May 2018), adding custom parks and gardens, including amusement parks, zoos, campsites and nature reserves.
  • Advertisement:
  • Industries (October 2018), expanding on the game's industry mechanics with more control over resource management, supply chains, and industry specialization.
  • Campus (May 2019), expanding on education with different types of colleges and universities, as well as museums and varsity sports.
  • In addition, smaller pieces of Downloadable Content have been released periodically, including additional music for the in-game radio (Relaxation Station, Rock City Radio, All That Jazz), or Content Creator Packs developed by members of the modding community (Art Deco, High-Tech Buildings, European Suburbia).

The game was released for the Xbox One in April 2017, with a Playstation 4 release in August of the same year and a Nintendo Switch release in September 2018.

Not to be confused with Cities XL.


Tropes present in the game:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Unlike the vast majority of city sims, you can move buildings after placing them. It costs some money, but is a lot better than having to work around a poor decision as is the case in some games. Landfills and cemeteries can only be moved when they're emptied.
    • Although anyone familiar with Monster Moves knows that even some large buildings can be moved, sometimes in pieces for reassembly, sometimes whole.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Downplayed. One of the generic Chirper tweets has a citizen complaining about their domestic AI "behaving badly" and asks for tips on how to fix it.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Just like in SimCity, residential, commercial, and industrial zones are green, blue, and yellow, respectively. Office zones are teal in color.
    • Transit lines come in numerous default colours, such as Orange for trains, blue for buses and green for metro.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • One of the in-game ships is called "Mariina II", after Mariina Hallikainen, Colossal Order's CEO.
    • Colossal Order's 'headquarters' make an appearance as an unlockable office building.
    • Paradox Games' logo also appears in the namesake Paradox Plaza.
  • Creator Provincialism: Snowfall is based on the Finnish winter.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Anyone who has played the SimCity games is going to be rudely surprised if they expect to play Cities: Skylines in the same manner. For example, the standard industrial zone spreads air pollution, so putting them next to residential zones will make your citizens sick. Then they have to go to the hospitals, which creates traffic...
  • Developers' Foresight: The developers remembered that dams can cause all kinds of problems, and all kinds of water-based horrors can happen if you aren't paying attention when you place your hydro-dam - or even if you are. It can take months, but it can still happen.
    • The game in general features realistic water flow. It sounds simple, but simulating realistic water flow is an amazingly difficult engineering feat that requires a working understanding of partial differential vectorial equations. This is actually one of the reasons why the game will refuse to run on Intel HD Graphics and will demand at the very least an AMD APU's built-in Radeon chip: because the game requires a GPU suitable not only for graphical output, but also for number crunching with Nvidia CUDA or AMD Stream.
  • Downloadable Content: As noted at the top of the page, the game has a lot of DLC packs. Some of which introduced features that many players thought should have been in the game at launch, leading to accusations of selling the game piecemeal to extract more money: Disasters, a genre staple since the original SimCity and which even EA weren't mercenary enough to lock behind a DLC paywall, cost almost half as much as the price of the base game.
  • Endless Game: You will not be removed from office should you register a budget deficit - new construction projects will simply become unavailable until you enter the positives again. However it can become a bit of an unrecoverable spiral if your income never recovers. The game does offer an interest-free $50,000 bail if you're going bankrupt but taking it disables achievements. Same with a victory condition, while it could be argued that building all of the monuments is an ultimate goal, it's like building enough arcologies to begin the exodus in SimCity 2000, it feels like an ultimate goal but is completely optional.
  • Game Mod: The game wasn't just built with Steam's Games Workshop in mind; it has a few modding capabilities of its own, meaning even if you can't so much as program a calculator you will still be able to create your own buildings.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You can actually rename literally anything in your city for your personal preferences; from buildings, to cars, to even the citizens. This is probably the first time an actual City-Building Game featured the ability to rename more than just certain buildings, which continues the great tradition of player immaturity. You can even rename roads and districts.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Starting with the After Dark DLC, the game had a day/night cycle, and the days went by on the in-game calendar. However, multiple weeks would pass between a sunrise and sunset, and it could take a citizen many days to drive to work. One calendar day took only a few real-time seconds, but the game simulation ran in real time. Recent updates have somewhat changed this, as although days and nights cycle at a ratio of 1 second IRL to 1 minute in-game, the calendar now displays the day of the week and time (down to the minute!) the game is currently in, and vehicles tend to travel fast enough to feel like a normal commute.
    • Prior to those updates, when you started a new city, the date was set to the real-time current day, though it is not linked to the system clock afterwards. This meant that the game started on the date you started the save file on in real life, but progressed at game pace.
  • Kill It with Water: Cities: Skylines has very realistic water physics. This can wreak havoc, both unplanned and intentionally.
    • Rain can make riverside properties flood, even if they don't flood at any other time.
    • Dams, an expensive investment that once set up, bring clean and abundant energy, are a clear example of this trope:
      • Many a player has inundated their city by not planning for the dam's construction earlier on. Then again, some players do this deliberately.
      • Dam water can slosh about, and land that is marginally above the dam's maximum water level can get swept away by huge waves.
      • Demolishing or moving a dam releases a giant wall of watery doom that not only floods structures, but also demolishes those directly in its path.
      • And now, a Fun with dams series.
      • Furthermore the Natural Disasters DLC includes the ability to trigger tsunamis at will
  • Low-Level Advantage: This used to be an factor, as buildings would grow taller and more complex as they leveled up so players trying to achieve a specific look would need to either cap leveling up on a building using a mod or avoid providing services to the area, thus avoiding buildings leveling up. Similarly the building policy High Rise ban caps level up to avoid buildings growing too tall. Averted with the Industries DLC, which offers the option of historical, allowing buildings to level up without changing it's appearance.
  • Modern Stasis: From 2015 (the game starts at your computer's time) to the 23rd century or whenever, the architecture never changes. Mods in the Workshop allow you to change the architecture of the buildings.
  • Never Recycle a Building: Averted. Buildings will become abandoned but it's your choice either to demolish them or leave them be as they can wind up being re-used if demand for the zone the building is in becomes significant enough.
  • No Fair Cheating: Unfortunately, since neither Paradox, Colossal Order, nor the game itself have the capability to check what a mod actually does, using any mod period disables achievements just in case you're using a really cheaty one. There are mods to disable that, though...
  • Not in My Backyard!: Just like any other city builder game, choosing where to place your industrial areas is important.
    • Not just for industrial pollution but noise pollution of commercial areas as well. One of the policies in After Dark that can be enacted is literally titled NIMBY that shuts down the otherwise 24/7 leisure district(s) for the night with the drawback of forfeiting the income during that time
  • Permanent Elected Official: The player.
  • Real-Time with Pause
  • Rule 34: Not only can you rename people, buildings, routes, and roads, you can use editors to go further in regarding trope:
  • Scenery Porn: As good as you can get for a game with slightly bizarre architecture.
  • Spiritual Successor: To both the aforementioned SimCity and to Cities In Motion by the same company, especially as designing efficient transportation is a major focus in this game.
  • The Stoner: If you legalize recreational use of weed, expect Chirps about, ahem, blazing it.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The game's "Chirper" is pretty much Twitter, down to its logo being a blue bird.
    • The whole game is this to the SimCity franchise and Cities XL.
    • "Chirper" itself is also meant to be a more modern variation of SimCity 3000 and 4's News Ticker.
  • Tempting Fate: The scenario "By the Dam" has the description "A nice city. Next to a dam. What could happen? Hard difficulty." A meteor is due to strike the dam and flood your entire city unless you start building in the mountains fast.
  • Terrain Sculpting: The game comes with a built-in terrain editor, but it's impossible to modify the map after starting a city, at least without mods.
    • More recently, a landscaping tool has been patched in which allows you to alter the terrain to a degree while spending money.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: New players will probably be astonished by how complex the water physics are, and might well not discover this until they place a dam and find the uplands flooding.
  • Variable Mix: The game has two variations of the default score if you enable the day-night cycle with the After Dark DLC: a bright, upbeat version with strings that crescendo with great intensity once in a while during daytime, and a chiller, mellower variation with more brass instruments that plays during nighttime.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Enough to get its own page.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Some landmarks (and by that extension, wonders) require negative distinctions & milestones, such as having a high crime rate, garbage density, and cemeteries filled up. For example, unlocking the Grand Mall requires having no more than a 4% tax rate city-wide (which would quickly bankrupt your city) and maintain it at that level for 20 weeks.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback