Cities Skylines 2 seems to have everything. As more and more details emerge on the Colossal Order city-building game, and we draw closer to the Cities Skylines 2 release date, I’m already starting to feel the pressure of constructing and managing a complex, almost completely realistic modern metropolis. Now, as we learn even more about the Cities Skylines 2 economy, and also housing, business, and industry, it’s hard to think of something that Colossal Order hasn’t included in CS2.
We’ve learned about Cities Skylines 2 maps, and also got the full Cities Skylines 2 system requirements. But there’s so, so, so much more going on in the latest update from Colossal Order that it feels almost like a political briefing – like I’m an actual mayor, and I’m sitting listening to all the problems and concerns from my advisors. Let’s start with subsidies.
When you start a new game in Cities Skylines 2, the government will grant you financial relief in the form of subsidies, to help you get started. Once your city passes certain milestones, these will be withdrawn. Similarly, your citizens can now receive unemployment benefits and, in certain circumstances, financial aid.
Building houses is no longer a case of plopping down residential zones. Families’ spending habits vary depending on their size and makeup. Adults want to buy X goods, while children want Y, and seniors want Z. If you want to make people happy, you need to build houses that are within reasonable distance to desirable amenities, including schools and office blocks.
Single people will gravitate towards living in apartment blocks, where families must be provided larger, detached houses. And now, in Cities Skylines 2, if people cannot find a job and cannot earn money, they may become homeless, and will live and sleep in places like parks.
Industries that harvest resources like oil and ore need to be built close to their sources, but also now need easy access to the other companies to which they sell those resources – if your industries have a hard time unloading the things they farm and mine, it will add to transport costs, which can lead to job cuts and unemployment. Similarly, when it comes to exporting goods outside of your city, those costs are affected by the price, the size, and even the weight of what is being sold.
The efficiency and profitability of commercial businesses will now vary based on the effectiveness of the staff – if your city is full of uneducated citizens, commercial businesses won’t run as well, and will start to lose money. Office buildings meanwhile can now house a much more realistic number of employees; hundreds in fact. In the latest Cities Skylines 2 gameplay footage, we can see an office building with 138 employees.
Taxes can now be adjusted based on education level, meaning you can levy higher taxes against the university-educated, white-collar workers, while lowering taxes on your less-educated, blue-collar workers. Similarly, you can variate taxes on different industries. If you want to increase productivity of, say, timber, lower taxes on timber companies. You can even set negative taxes, whereby you pay certain businesses and industries a grant to increase production.
Oh, and you can decide how much you charge for public services. Increase water rates and make electricity more expensive if you’re short on cash, or drop the cost of train and bus travel if you need to force people out of their cars. Quite frankly, I feel out of breath just thinking about it all, and remember, all these things interact and collide with one another, so getting the economy right in CS2 is going to feel like conducting an orchestra. And I can’t even play the triangle.