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Cities: Skylines 2 - What We Know So Far

"Cities: Skylines 2" is a game that not many saw coming. There's a ton of DLC for the original, and it's been updated pretty much constantly since its release. It might be hard to believe, but the first entry is over eight years old, and at least visually, it's starting to show its cracks. By all appearances, "Cities: Skylines 2" is sure to blow away gamers when it comes out, though there aren't a ton of official details available. Still, it's plain to see that there will be some major updates to the "Cities: Skylines" formula.

One major concern among players is how Paradox and Colossal Order will approach DLC in the follow-up, and how it can convince players who have invested so much time and money into the first to buy this sequel. In "Overwatch 2," for example, "Overwatch" players could use skins and other cosmetics they earned in the original iteration. But, "The Sims" games do no such thing, and only offer new DLC that doesn't carry over to later installments in the series.

Nevertheless, the unexpected reveal of "Cities: Skylines 2" has fans buzzing — even if information about it is sparse.

What is Cities: Skylines 2's release date?

"Cities: Skylines 2" was announced out of the blue on March 6, 2023, with practically no whispers or rumors in the gaming community about the reveal. It was kept tightly under wraps, but even now that it's been publicly unveiled, fans don't have an exact idea of when the game will come out. On Steam, the listing simply says it is "coming soon," which really could mean anything. At the end of the announcement trailer, the year 2023 is teased, though without a hard date or even month to go off of. 

There are nine months in 2023 that follow after the game's reveal date, but "Cities: Skylines 2" is much more likely to come out at the end of the year than toward the start. Typically, games set to launch in the next few months have a hard day and month assigned to them, and only in rare cases are the reveal and release dates close together — "Metroid Prime: Remastered" is one recent exception. So, fans can probably expect "Cities: Skylines 2" sometime during or after the summer. 

If "Cities: Skylines" fans are lucky, the Summer Games Fest and other upcoming industry shows may play host to future reveals. Paradox does share information via its own channels more often than public events, though, so it may be better to pay attention to the studio's YouTube and other social media pages for release date updates.

What does the trailer reveal about Cities: Skylines 2?

The trailer for "Cities: Skylines 2" came out in early March 2023, and appears to show pre-rendered footage almost exclusively. Though it doesn't reveal much about the game, just knowing that a sequel to one of the most beloved city builders in recent memory is on the way was enough to get the "Cities: Skylines" fanbase hyped.

The trailer starts by zooming out from a plant-level view to a spot above an outskirts town. The lights turn on one by one, appearing out of thin air as the unseen player builds more streets to connect to the one in focus. Cutting to a highway, viewers see a bridge being constructed overhead, then a roundabout and a downtown area as the narrator says, "envision a world created by you." Several cuts go by taking the viewer above growing skyscrapers, through a rainy backstreet, then to the docks of a futuristic city skyline. Snowy weather afoot, the camera continues through buildings and roads, crowds and traffic, until the title appears — in a new font, with a new logo.

The end of the trailer says "Cities: Skylines 2" will arrive in 2023, and be available on PC as well as Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. It will also apparently come to Xbox Games Pass, though whether it will be available on day one remains unknown. The trailer emphasizes that it doesn't feature real game footage towards its start, but if its listings are to be believed, it aims to be the most realistic simulation of a city ever.

What is the gameplay like in Cities: Skylines 2?

Though the trailer itself didn't feature actual gameplay footage, and other details revealed by Paradox aren't the most enlightening, "Cities: Skylines 2" is sure to change things up. The listings describe it as the "most realistic city builder," so hopefully that means a long-awaited overhaul of the traffic system. The few things that are confirmed to be featured in the game come mostly from its achievement list. 

According to True Achievements, which used the Xbox version of "Cities: Skylines 2" as a source, the achievements list for "Cities: Skylines 2" reveals much about gameplay differences from the original. For one, there appears to be a bigger focus on the environment and natural disasters, including hailstorms and forest fires, as well as more urban disasters like rat infestations. There also may be more of a spotlight on the lives of individual citizens, as one achievement asks players to follow one of their citizens' entire life paths, and much of the trailer comes from a first-person perspective. 

A few achievements reference a feature called Transportation Lines, which are probably part of a new traffic and public transport system. Much of the game appears to be the same as the original "Cities: Skylines" as it brings back zones and districts, happiness and social meters, city planning and policies, and more to make fans of the first feel at home in the sequel. Hopefully, "Cities: Skylines 2" will bring back the best parts of the original, fix the frustrating aspects, and deliver it all in a much more graphically impressive package.