Cities: Skylines 2 DLC delayed as Colossal Order prioritise performance fixes

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Cities: Skylines 2 developer Colossal Order has announced that they are delaying planned premium DLC while they continue to work on optimising and fixing their recently released city builder and management sim, as well as putting a priority on getting mod support added in.

This means that for those who have bought the Expansion Pass for post-launch DLC, the new expected timeline for releases are as follows:

  • Asset Pack release – Q1 2024 (initially planned for Q4 2023)
  • Creator Packs – Q2 2024 (initially planned for Q1 2024)
  • Medium Expansion – Q2 2024 (no change)

What’s not currently clear is when the next update will arrive or what optimisations it will include, as CO has decided it’s now best to release patches a bit less frequently for larger performance gains, instead of pushing out a weekly update.

CEO Mariina Hallikainen writes, “For the last few weeks, we’ve been focusing on performance improvements and bug fixes at a rapid pace. As we’re continuing to work on the improvements we’ll adjust the pace of the updates slightly so we won’t see a new patch every week going forward but will have a bit longer cadence between them. We have made it through the quicker fixes and we’re now digging into the ones that require a bit more work. The next patch is not yet scheduled as it has performance improvements pending that we absolutely want to include in it.”

Colossal Order have targeted the following areas that they need to improve:

  • Performance improvements – Adding more level of detail (LOD) models for assets, adding missing LODs and improving existing ones to improve GPU performance.
  • Performance improvements –  CPU performance focusing on stutters and simulation performance (this will come after LOD improvements).
  • Bug fixes – Around 100 reproducible issues are currently being looked at, with another 100 still being investigated.
  • Editor and Modding Support – The modding Beta group is currently testing a map editor, with water placement, UI and more still being worked on. Performance and bugs are of higher priority right now.

To explain the process, Hallikainen talked about the in-game Mail Service. They found that mail isn’t actually being delivered to residents, companies and cities services because of bugs with the Post Sorting Facility making it behave erratically, and that Post Office vans seem to only collect and not deliver mail. These bugs have been identified and are being fixed, with the system then being looked at to see if it requires rebalancing.

Another example comes with Citizens’ ability to reserve housing, even if not connected to the city yet. This means rental agreements could be taken out before something has been fully built, but companies could also offer them jobs before they move in. Combined, a would-be citizen could be stuck at the edge of the city unable to access either home or workplace, adding load to the system until they time-out and are deleted.

All in all, it’s clear that Cities: Skylines 2 isn’t where Colossal Order or the series’ fans want it to be right now. The team admitted before launch that performance was not as good as they wanted it to be, but they and publisher Paradox Interactive forged ahead to get the game out and then work to make rapid improvements. The problem is that Cities: Skylines 2 aims to be an even deeper simulation of a city than the first game, with deep systems that are interwoven and the ability to follow individual citizens all through their lives. This increases the performance burden, which is only exacerbated when things like asset LODs aren’t as optimised as possible.

All that said, there’s an optimistic future for a game that will have a long future ahead of it, much like the original Cities: Skylines. In our Cities: Skylines 2 review, I said, “The core city building is solid, a well-rounded new take on the city building genre that already covers a lot of bases, but has plenty of room for expansion and further ideas to come through to it. Sure, you might miss the creature comforts of old DLC and mods, but given time Cities: Skylines 2 will be a bigger and better city builder.”

Cities: Skylines 2 is out now on PC through Steam and the Microsoft Store (where it’s available via Xbox Game Pass). A PS5 and Xbox Series X|S release is planned for 2024.

Source: Colossal Order

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