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Environmental city builder takes break after “overwhelming” launch

The developer of Steam environmental city builder Terra Nil is taking a short break to recover from launch after being overwhelmed by the response from players.

Terra Nil - a large and a small bear stroll leisurely across an open field. Flowers have sprung up in the foreground. Light, fluffy clouds dash across a clear blue sky.

Developer Free Lives is taking a short break from Terra Nil updates following the release of its environmentally friendly city-building game on Steam, citing the “exhaustion of launch” after the game picked up traction with its clever twist on the genre, which focuses on restoring the natural ecosystem without leaving any trace of your presence by the end.

“We wanted to share a little bit about the future of the game,” the team says in an update posted to the game’s Steam store page. “We love Terra Nil, and it is extremely encouraging to see that many of you do as well. There’s much more that we’d like to do with it, and we want to let you know that we intend to keep developing Terra Nil in the future. But first, we need to take a break.”

Free Lives emphasises that the Terra Nil team, which is one of three under the company’s banner, is “really small” and says, “if we are honest we probably slightly overreached our capacity by targeting a simultaneous PC and mobile launch.” It’s probably unsurprising that a team making a game focused on long-term sustainability is making the smart choice to put the health of its workers first, but it’s nevertheless reassuring to see.

Once it returns to work, the team is planning “to address bugs and performance issues as our first priority” before moving onto new content and updates. It adds, “The feedback provided by this community will be invaluable going forward, and will help us to focus on the features and content that will improve and expand the game.”

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If you’re interested, there’s certainly more than enough in the base game to make Terra Nil worth a look. This distinctive spin on the city builder sees you transform a barren wasteland into a thriving and vibrant ecosystem – growing out new grassland and lush forests, cleaning up the oceans, and encouraging animals to settle in the new habitats – before recycling your buildings and clearing out to let the natural order flourish.

If you can’t get enough of toying around with your environment, check out some of the best sandbox games on PC for more such games. We’ve also picked out the best simulation games in 2023, if you enjoy carefully constructed digital recreations of real-world concepts.