What's up with the “toxicity” surrounding Cities: Skylines II?

Cities: Skylines II The developer of Colossal Order has a close and unique relationship with its community. the original Cities: Skylines It was released in 2015 and captured the audience that EA had left behind Sim Citywhich was released in 2013 and was a hot mess. Cities: Skylines It scratched my urban planning itch, plus it only cost $30. The game first arrived on PC, Mac, and Linux with modest hardware requirements, and reached consoles within two years. Decisive, Cities: Skylines It also supports mods through Steam Workshop, allowing players to add their own tools to the game and share these features with others.

“with Cities: Skylines“The audience grew in size and modding took on a bigger role, allowing for a lot of creativity and inspiration for us as developers,” Marina Halikainen, CEO of Colossal Order, told Engadget. “Anything from quality of life improvements to ideas for DLC content, we've gathered a tremendous amount of information to help us create the game that… Cities: Skylines It is today.”

Colossal Order and its publisher Paradox Interactive continue to support it Cities: Skylines With consistent game updates and DLC drops, its modding community has continued to grow. The game picked up a huge number of new players during the pandemic in 2020, and around that time, a number of prominent content creators have now relied on Cities: Skylines For streams and videos.

In the months leading up to the launch Cities: Skylines II In October 2023, Colossal Order teamed up with a few creators and gave them early access to parts of the game, so they could create YouTube videos showcasing specific features each week. These partners included Beva, Twenty-two dollars, Yumbel, Infrastructure And City plan plays. City Planner Plays has a clever edge in this area – Philip, the man behind the buildings, has worked as an urban planner for more than a decade, and his videos often include insights into how real-life cities are designed. He started his channel in mid-2020, and today he is dedicated to his work Cities: Skylines A streaming player and video editor with nearly 650,000 subscribers on YouTube. Like many other members of the community, he has a history with the Colossal Order that spans years.

“before Cities: Skylines II “After release, I think most people in the community look at them incredibly positively, and see them as ‘one of us’ and the kind of developer you want making a game you love,” Philip said. “They were seen as responsive and generous. …I can’t remember a bad thing being said about them.”

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This is exactly what it was made of On January 15, very surprising.

“We have witnessed an increasing tendency toward toxicity in our community, something we have never seen to this extent before,” Hallikainen wrote, explaining that the negativity was directed at developers and players alike. She continued: “We have always cherished the presence of developers on various social media platforms and communicating directly with the community, but our greatest responsibility will always be to protect the team.”

Tensions have been high in the Cities: Skylines community since the sequel's launch in October. Although the game was originally released as a simultaneous release for PC and console, it is only available on PC and other versions. Furthermore, Colossal Order raised the game's minimum and recommended specifications just a month before release, and the new requirements put it out of reach for a large group of players.

Cities: Skylines II

Massive system

Even with a capable hardware, the game is riddled with visual and mechanical bugs. Philip said Cities: Skylines II He overclocked his RTX 4090 graphics card, making it run at 100 percent in the main menu, and was unable to play at 4K at launch because the game was too GPU bound.

Simply put, it seems like the game needs more time in development.

“Since launch Cities: Skylines II“Things have definitely become more thorny,” Philip said. “While many people appreciated Colossal Order's transparency regarding weekly updates as well as frequent bug fixes, many seemed to view Colossal Order as fully prepared to release a game that wasn't ready for release.”

Hallikainen acknowledged that the game is missing some promised and highly publicized features, such as modding support.

“Naturally, we're disappointed that we couldn't achieve everything we aimed for, but it's great to finally get the game out there and continue working on it more openly,” she said.

The problem, from the Colossal Order's point of view, is society's response to Cities: Skylines II. Players have been venting on social media and in the Steam and Paradox forums, and the feedback has risen to toxic levels, according to Halikainen. She cites the rise in personal attacks on developers and other players.

Cities: Skylines IICities: Skylines II

Massive system

Cities: Skylines II “It attracted a lot of attention and very high expectations were set,” she said. He added: “When the match did not fulfill all its promises, it was natural for it to cause frustration among the audience. However, shortcomings should spark conversation about ideas for improvement, constructive feedback and respectful discussions in the community.

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For City Planner Plays and other community members, the problem lies in the game itself. Where the massive system sees toxicity, Philip sees justified frustration.

“I will admit that I was surprised by this description of what was happening in Cities: Skylines Society regarding Cities: Skylines II“I've noticed an increase in negativity,” he said. However, I can't say that I noticed an increase in toxicity. Honestly, I think the negativity is completely understandable and predictable.

Philippe identified four factors driving negative sentiment: the game is only available on PC, it is not playable on many popular hardware configurations, there is no official support for mods, and the Colossal Order has not held itself responsible for the game's critical bugs.

“Colossal Order has been transparent, talking to the community, but has not taken responsibility for releasing the game,” Philip said. “I hear this over and over again. It seems like many players want them to admit that the state of the game's release was bad, to say they're sorry, and to make some gesture of compensation. So far, they've delayed the release of the DLC – which has been in The reality is a huge negative for people who bought the final version of the game – but it's not made up for. [They haven’t] “It provided the information people were looking for.”

Cities Skyline IICities Skyline II

Massive system

The biggest flaw in Phillip's list is the lack of modifications. Colossal Order plans to add an official pipeline for mods directly through Paradox, rather than Steam Workshop, which was home to mods in Cities: Skylines. Becoming an in-house modding platform will ensure parity across all platforms, bringing mods to consoles and players outside of Steam. However, the Cities: Skylines modding community was built on Steam Workshop, a popular and easy-to-use platform, and with the console release being delayed, the existing player base is being inconvenienced.

“The maps that come with the game aren't great – the difficulty level is incredibly high, the weather is unforgiving – and many of the core features need improvement,” Philip said. “Mods offered this opportunity and it's not there yet. Worst of all is that early messaging made it seem like mods were just around the corner, weeks after launch. [but it’s been delayed] Until an unspecified time in the second quarter of 2024.

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Collaboration with the community is what made the original game so successful, and the sequel could certainly benefit from collective improvements. Currently, some players use a third-party tool to make adjustments Cities: Skylines II.

“The technology is new, the simulation has been completely rewritten, and the game has all the potential to become the city builder of the decade,” Hallikainen said. “What we failed to do was get mod support available for release, and we are doing our best to catch up. We were happy to see that the modding community did not wait for us, but actually created amazing mods for the game.

Cities: Skylines IICities: Skylines II

Interactive paradox

This is just the beginning Cities: Skylines II. Colossal Order has plans to support and expand the game over the next ten years. the original Cities: Skylines It didn't have all the features, features, and tweaks when it was first released in 2015, and the sequel starts out in a similar situation. He sees the massive system Cities: Skylines II As a new foundation, but its core community expected a more complete experience.

“The feedback we received from content creators and modders has greatly helped us move in the right direction, and we love working collaboratively with different parties,” said Halikainen. “There is a lot of work to be done, and we plan to continue working over the next decade.”

Cities: Skylines II It has improved significantly in the months since its launch, thanks to a slew of updates from Colossal Order. She's on the right track. Massive system Updates on the game's progress every week, but it will take time — and perhaps an apology, plan, and free in-game perks — to rewrite the narrative around Cities: Skylines II.

“I think the most toxic people right now are the biggest fans of the game,” Philip said. “Honestly, they are disappointed because the game is not going well for them or because they cannot play it at all. They are disappointed and critical, and that is not right. But to me, it means that there is a way to fix the problems if the game is completely fixed and Take accountability.

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