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The most realistic survival game we’ve seen in years is playable now

Mixing Fallout, Stalker, and social experiments, a new survival game has the deepest simulation we've seen in years, and you can try it now.

City 20 Steam survival game: A man looking over a landscape in Steam survival game City 20

Sonder – the realization that everyone you see has a life just as deep and complicated as yours. While that may be true for people, it certainly isn’t the case for NPCs. They follow their own limited rules, while you, the player, have far more going on. Not in City 20, a new survival game where NPCs have jobs, behavioral patterns, motivations, the same hunger and tiredness mechanics as you, the need for money, and a unique, personal memory for all your actions.

While the NPCs in City 20 may remember who you are and what you’ve done, they won’t all react the same way. Some will like that you helped their friends, others will think less of you because that guy was actually their enemy. Maybe they have different politics to you, so they see helping the poor as weakness, not kindness. This is the most realistic survival game we’ve laid eyes on in years.

In the eponymous City 20, the residents have been ordered to remain quarantined with the concrete perimeter walls following a nuclear apocalypse. Everyone barters to trade, a militia keeps the peace, and different groups have access to the various resources you — and the other residents — will need to survive. The objective is to eventually escape.

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Like many other survival games, you can farm for food and scavenge for resources in dilapidated old buildings. But will hungry NPCs steal from your garden? And what will you do if you catch them? People will remember, and some may see your mercy as a weakness.

This is the key part of City 20. Every single NPC has their own personality, their own life, their own needs, and their flaws. They will go to sleep at different times, turn up for work, scavenge for food, start fights, and build relationships – anything the player can do, the NPCs can, and will, do also. It creates a supremely dynamic, impossible-to-predict simulation where every moment of every play through feels unique.

The darkness is also your friend in City 20, as it gives you a chance to sneak around and steal the resources you can’t afford. When searching old buildings, your character’s line of sight dictates how much you can see. The whole space isn’t open for you to read like a book, despite the isometric perspective. This adds a layer of tension to exploration and reminds you that danger could lurk around any corner.

If you want to try out the stunningly realistic City 20, you can play its Steam demo right here. You can also read our preview of the game or our GDC interview with developer Untold Games

Once you’ve had a go, why not try some other open-world games? Or, you could try some of the other best Steam Next Fest demos available right now.

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