City Skylines: Industries is the seventh large expansion pack to the 2015 city builder game. This latest pack now makes Cities Skylines the single most expensive game I’ve ever owned. Including all the expansion packs, the game has cost me just shy of 174 Euros for the complete game.
City Skylines by Finish studio Colossal Order is one of my all-time favorite games. It’s a city builder that I’ve spent hundred of hours watching other people play in addition to the hours I’ve played it myself. My one word review of the games is “great.”
Even so, 174 Euros is a lot of money for a city building game! It works out to just over 4 Euro per month since the game was introduced in back in . That monthly sum is what I want to discuss in this article, but I’ll get back to that.
City Skylines is a platform and a canvas for you to build out the city of your dreams. Colossal Order have kept that dream alive by releasing new expansion packs and improving the core mechanics of the game. Each of these extension packs have had to justify their own existence and price, and have largely done so by focusing on one bundle-able area or another. From Green Cities and Parklife to Natural Disasters and Snowfall, each of them have had to have one gimmick or another that could shift digital copies of each of the expansions.
The thing is, I’ve been generally more happy with the smaller updates to the core mechanics of the game than the flashier themed updates in the expansion packs.
An example of this is how trees in the game were updated to help reduce noise pollution . Noise pollution in the game makes citizens sick, and you need to ensure that they don’t live to close to a noisy sports stadium, nigh clubs, or a heavily trafficked road. (I hate noisy environments, so I can definitely relate to this.) Getting a new tool to combat noise pollution and have another use for trees than “places where forest fires start” was a major game changer. Other examples include the addition of the postal service (rebranded garbage trucks) and toll roads in Cities Skylines: Industries, and the road maintenance depot that boosts road speeds in Cities Skylines: Snowfall.
Cities Skylines has proven itself as a continually expanding platform and not just a game you pick up and walk away from weeks or months later. However, there’s room for improvement in many areas. The many traffic path-finding issues are well known and documented through countless let’s play videos. It’s a hard problem to solve for sure, but I’d appreciate an update focused on keeping boats on the water and not clipping through each other.
If the game had been funded through a subscription model, than the studio might have found time to work on things like improving the path-finding logic for boats and more focus on the smaller things that make the simulation more real. It’s hard to pack something like that up as an expensive expansion pack and sell it to players, however.
I’d not consider myself anyone who’d champion for anything to be a subscription services. I can’t help but speculate on what the game could have been like today if the studio didn’t have to pump out new expansion packs that were focused on a single theme.
I’d pay a lot to try a version of the game made in a parallel universe where Colossal Order had chosen to go with monthly subscriptions instead of expansions packs. Maybe even 3,99 Euro a month.