Cities: Skylines Studio CEO Talks Development, Mod Community, And Six Years Of Success

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The 2015 release of Cities: Skylines delivered one thing followers of the mid-’90s metropolis builder titles had been sorely lacking: a contemporary, but devoted reimagining of the style. While Cities: Skylines was each bit a contemporary entry within the style many grew up loving, it forewent the unfavourable points of the fashionable method, whereas embracing the neighborhood wholeheartedly. The result’s a sport that right now, six years later, nonetheless has a devoted neighborhood taking part in the title and delivering a vibrant mod scene. 

We had an opportunity to talk with Mariina Hallikainen, CEO of developer Colossal Order, concerning the improvement and continued help of Cities: Skylines. You can see our full Q&A under.

When the staff began improvement on Cities: Skylines, what inspirations did it take a look at and pull from for the preliminary concepting? 
We had some critical SimCity followers within the dev staff and needed to realize a religious successor to SimCity 4. Naturally, the ambition was a lot better than our sources on the time, so we needed to prioritize on the quantity of content material and completely different options. Visual work reminiscent of day and night time cycle and seasons had been out of the query and we’d have cherished to create extra variation for the belongings. We tried to give attention to making the sport really feel greater than it really was by permitting as a lot freedom for the participant as potential and supporting modding as extensively as we technically might.

Cities: Skylines

What concerning the city-builder style made this an much more engaging challenge than Colossal Order’s prior tasks? Did the staff take any learnings from the Cities in Motion titles into Skylines?
This was the dream from the beginning! We based Colossal Order with the intent that in the future “Colossal Cities” would see the sunshine of day. This was again in 2009 and we had been 5 individuals with restricted funding, so we determined to start out with one thing smaller to construct towards better challenges. Cities in Motion video games had been actually a stepping stone for us, a give attention to one facet of a metropolis builder: mass transit. 

We discovered a lot from working collectively, working with a writer, and most significantly about our participant base. I’d say a very powerful studying from the CIM video games was attending to know the neighborhood and the that means of modding for our video games. We actually see it as an integral a part of the participant expertise we need to provide not solely now however sooner or later. 

As improvement progressed, what components of the basic city-builder method did the staff really feel had been most essential? Which had been versatile? Which components of the basic method did the staff most need to change or enhance upon?
Cities are an exquisite idea as a result of everybody has an concept how they need to work and a metropolis builder is only for that – for the participant to create their very own imaginative and prescient. We centered on the very primary constructing blocks: roads, homes, jobs. City providers to help the wants of the residents: well being, schooling, recreation. We needed there to be as a lot freedom as potential, skill to create one thing from the true world. One of the best successes was the highway constructing, that offers the participant instruments to do one thing actual, or utterly imaginary. It was all the time extra concerning the simulation and the gameplay than the visuals nonetheless, not faking any numbers however really having the participant see each citizen and each selection they make.

Cities: Skylines

Reception for the sport was very optimistic upon launch. Did the robust neighborhood help and demanding reception alter the sport’s post-launch lifespan in any methods? 
Certainly it did, immensely! Our goal at Colossal for copies offered was 300,000, so greater than our earlier video games and sufficient to permit us to work on the sport for a few expansions earlier than beginning one thing new. Now, six years later, it’s nonetheless fairly obscure what really occurred, however now we have been so pleased to have stored it going so lengthy. All thanks go to the neighborhood and their countless options and concepts for enchancment. 

Was there any suggestions from the followers that formed the sport in significant methods early on within the post-launch section? 
The most significant suggestions and possibly probably the most impactful was associated to the very first growth of Cities: Skylines. Prior to the launch, we had been bouncing concepts with our writer Paradox Interactive for an growth and began to work on an concept the place town would have these teams inflicting new calls for and challenges. It was a poor concept and we struggled to make one thing good out of it. However we obtained a large quantity of suggestions from the gamers that the sport wants a day and night time cycle (do you keep in mind that characteristic wasn’t there at launch?). However, we had been already three months in on a six-month improvement cycle when our programmers determined to check how tough it could be to realize a day and night time cycle for the sport, only for the enjoyable of it. They got here to me with the outcomes and I instantly known as Paradox, asking if we might change your entire first growth, promising that we will do it by the deliberate launch date. Everyone was so excited to work on After Dark and possibly very relieved to drop subcultures that we managed to make a fantastic first growth, because of our neighborhood.

Cities: Skylines

How has the modding neighborhood shocked you? Does the event staff have any neighborhood mods it notably enjoys?
First, how had been the modders so quick?! We barely obtained the sport out and there have been so many cool mods obtainable within the workshop. My private favourite continues to be the Bordered Skylines mod as a result of you can also make your metropolis glow neon pink … priceless. Other, extra gameplay significant favorites of the staff are Move it and the Metro Overhaul, which really impressed us to make the overground metro obtainable in a free replace for everybody. I additionally love how the modders have pushed us to do higher; for instance, as an oversight, the sport launched with no skill to vary the path of a a technique highway after putting one. Very quickly we observed a mod for that realizing we’d missed this totally and really rapidly mounted it. It has additionally been nice to see so many high-quality belongings within the workshop, usually showcasing the creators’ native landmarks or architectural model. Today, now we have 4 staff members at Colossal with a modding background in Cities: Skylines. It’s a testomony to the flexibility of those people and the significance of the hassle they’ve put into it as they turned their pastime right into a occupation. 

What do you assume are the best accomplishments of the official growth packs? What did you most need to tackle going into the method of making expansions for Cities: Skylines? Do you assume you had been profitable?
We actually appreciated the possibility to maintain engaged on Cities: Skylines as the bottom sport actually was only a starting. And please don’t get me improper, the sport stands by itself two toes, however there have been so many options we needed to nonetheless embrace. Missing options that the modders so kindly identified to us, bettering on the modding instruments, including new options and number of content material. We already internally had a really lengthy wishlist that we needed to work on post-release, and the neighborhood stored including to it.

There had been some nice successes and a few that didn’t reside as much as our expectations. Mass transit was actually a fantastic one as we might discuss with our background having created Cities in Motion video games. One of my private favorites is Park Life; I believe it’s so a lot enjoyable and actually exhibits how the eye to element and artwork has advanced over time. Overall with all of the free updates to the bottom sport, it actually isn’t the identical as it was six years in the past. So a lot was improved over time.

Cities: Skylines

Do you may have a fantastic pitch for what individuals who perhaps purchased the sport in 2015 and cherished it, however haven’t gone again in a number of years, are lacking by not taking part in the sport because it exists in 2021?
There isn’t a greater time to fireside up that good previous Cities: Skylines and see all that’s new in your digital metropolis! There’s simply a lot gamers can do now that wasn’t obtainable at launch. There are greater than 20 items of DLC obtainable, from new radio stations, to content material creator packs made by followers, all the way in which to main content material drops. Here are a few of them: Campus, Green Cities, Mass Transit, and Industries.

As you look again on the first six years of Cities: Skylines, what do you see as the largest successes? Do you determine any missed alternatives or room for continued progress and enchancment? 
It has been completely improbable, difficult, tiring, and but all the time so rewarding to work on Cities: Skylines. I’m an enormous believer in steady enchancment and it is on the core of our improvement course of at Colossal Order. I believe all of us remorse our failure to get correct seasons within the sport, but it surely was merely not possible on the time and we determined to reside with the winter maps characteristic within the Snowfall growth. The sport has advanced immensely over time with enhancements and new content material and options, however the absolute largest success is our relationship with the neighborhood, our countless supply for inspiration. 

Cities: Skylines

What does the longer term maintain for Cities: Skylines? Do you may have plans for a follow-up sport, or are you trying to proceed creating upon the prevailing base?
Cities: Skylines, with its neighborhood, is a very powerful sport Colossal Order has created. Beyond that, there isn’t a lot additional we will say for the time being.

For extra on Cities: Skylines, you may take a look at our review of the PC version, in addition to the console version.

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