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Cities Skylines 2 rent problems destroy the game, but CO has a plan

The Cities Skylines 2 economy has a big problem in the shape of rent, but Colossal Order has a huge plan to fix the city building sequel.

Cities Skylines 2 rent fix: A sprawling metropolis from Colossal Order city building game Cities Skylines 2

I remember when Cities Skylines 2 was first being publicized, worrying that I wouldn’t be able to handle the enormous amounts of financial responsibility. When the city building sequel landed, it brought a lot of challenges – the normal burdens of garbage disposal, road management, and sensible zoning – but I also felt like it was cheating me somehow, like no matter what I did, the Cities Skylines 2 economy was designed to unfairly catch me out. It’s been one of the worst problems in CS2, besides performance – the economic simulation feels somehow broken, especially in regards to rents. But now Colossal Order has a big plan to fix things.

The Cities Skylines 2 rent issue comes in a variety of forms. Principally, there’s an issue with the cost and rates of industrial land bleeding over into residential zones. If you have houses or apartment blocks within a certain proximity of any production, the more money the nearby businesses make, the more they pay to use their land, and these increased rates unfairly impact upon and inflate neighboring rents. Likewise, the city building game constantly confronts you with ‘high rent’ warnings, as individuals and families are suddenly, out of nowhere, unable to pay for the upkeep on their homes. It makes zoning, housing, and general management of your city feel like an impossible challenge. But Colossal Order has a plan.

Previously, the studio revealed a huge fix for the Cities Skylines 2 economy that would balance production and service rates. Now the developer is turning its collective attention towards rent. In the next Cities Skylines 2 patch, the ‘virtual landlord’ that governs individual tenants is being removed, so that all occupants of a shared building like an apartment block will pay equal amounts of the building’s upkeep. Similarly, the equation that governs rent is being adjusted, so that the amount a family or an individual pays is weighed against their income.

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“First of all, we removed the virtual landlord so a building’s upkeep is now paid equally by all renters,” Colossal Order says. “Second, we changed the way rent is calculated. This of course affects the ‘high rent’ notifications you may have encountered, but we’ve tweaked those directly as well, so they are now based on the household’s income.

“That means that even if they currently don’t have enough money in their balance to pay rent, they won’t complain and will instead spend less money on resource consumption. Only when their income is too low to be able to pay rent will they complain about ‘high rent’ and look for cheaper housing or move out of the city.”

The way that buildings are leveled up or down is also being tweaked. If all tenants can afford to pay the separate upkeep fee for a building, the conditions in the building will gradually improve until it levels up. If not, it will incrementally worsen and the level will go down – if this goes on long enough, the building will become dilapidated and eventually collapse.

Building upgrades are changing, too. Until now, if you wanted to remove or move an upgrade, you had to bulldoze the entire building and start over. After the next Cities Skylines 2 patch launches, you will be able to remove an upgrade separately – it will appear in a new panel, and you can get rid of it without losing the entire building. For sub-buildings, like the playground attached to an elementary school, you will be able to move them individually, so if you build a new road connection or want to make space for a fresh construction project, again, you don’t have to bulldoze everything.

Cities Skylines 2 rent fix: Town planning in Colossal Order city building game Cities Skylines 2

The big Cities Skylines 2 economy rework is bound to have some impact on your existing cities, and Colossal Order warns that, after the patch lands, cities that use mods may not load properly, and also, everything is going to become more expensive.

“When you load up your city (and unpause) there are a few things you should keep in mind,” CO says. “With government subsidies removed and city service upkeep increased, the cost of running your city just increased. If your city relies on ambulances, hearses, fire engines, police cars, and garbage trucks coming from outside connection, make sure to enable the import city services policy in the city information panel, but don’t forget that your neighbors charge a fee to help you out.

“All this is expected to create a negative money trend, but depending on your city’s finances, your tax income might be enough to offset the new costs once the calculations catch up. If you’re struggling for money, don’t forget that you can increase taxes, reduce service budgets, or temporarily turn buildings off to save on their upkeep cost.

“With the new calculations for residential density demand, your citizens may also start looking for different types of housing or move around the city. Thankfully, the new calculations for rent and resource consumption should help them afford the type of housing they prefer, and we expect most (if not all) of your ‘high rent’ notifications will disappear after letting the simulation run for a while.”

Cities Skylines 2 rent fix: A huge metropolitan area from Colossal Order city building game Cities Skylines 2

The next big Cities Skylines 2 patch is expected to arrive in Q3 of 2024. Colossal Order also says that it will introduce some free new buildings, expanding your construction options and bulking the strategy game even further. There may still be some way to go with getting CS2 into the shape that we would all like, but it seems Colossal Order is putting in some major effort, and that there’s plenty of life left in the sequel yet.

Check out the best Cities Skylines 2 mods if you want to customize and overhaul your towns exactly to your specifications, or maybe think a little bigger and try some of the best 4X games on PC right now.

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