Cities: Skylines gets nightlife with After Dark expansion

September 24

Cities: Skylines‘ major expansion, After Dark, has been dated for September 21. After dunking on SimCity, the successful city simulator is, “focusing on making large expansions over making many small ones,” Colossal Order’s lead designer Karoliina Korppoo told me after the expansion’s gamescom announcement.

“We originally said that we’d never make a day and night cycle for our game,” Korppoo said, “but we changed our minds.” Mostly because the team, found a way to do it that was, “quite easy on the computer” and wouldn’t balloon necessary system specs. Alternative texture packs make sure all buildings light up, but new cosmetics like neon signage are being added, too.

The addition isn’t merely cosmetic, though, as the cycle “actually affects how the game plays.” Citizens are more likely to stay indoors at night, save for a tiny amount of night shift workers and folks hitting up bars and restaurants. Less congested roads means it may be a great time to send out garbage trucks for pick up. Day and night have separate budgets, so you can keep it low in the daytime and crank it up in evenings.

There is also, “a new specialization for the commercial areas,” leisure areas like casinos and night clubs, “the downtown area, the nightlife center of the city.” Nighttime also brings about higher rates of crime, helping to fill out prisons.

Daytime has unique additions, too. New beachfront property thrives during the day like the casinos and clubs of nighttime, and the cities can also allow bike lanes for cyclists (or let them travel more slowly on sidewalks), thereby reducing traffic.

The team wants to add, “smoother ways of handling large systems” with its updates, “helping people do what they’re already doing in a more elegant and streamlined way,” like by adding bus stations that can accept multiple bus lines and allow for in-building transfers. The $15 expansion launches September 24. The day and night cycle itself is a free update added to all owned copies of Cities: Skylines, while the After Dark expansion will house additional content.

Steven Hansen