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Cities: Skylines - game title

Here we are in December, and Colossal Order has yet to announce a second expansion for Cities Skylines since releasing the Campus expansion back in May. This will be the first year since the game's release that Colossal Order will only be releasing a single expansion. They have released some mini content packs, so there has been some new Skylines content -- just not a full-blown expansion.

Expansion titleOriginal release
After Dark coverAfter Dark24 September 2015
Snowfall coverSnowfall18 February 2016
Match DayMatch Day*9 June 2016
Natural Disasters coverNatural Disasters29 November 2016
Mass Transit coverMass Transit18 May 2017
ConcertsConcerts*17 August 2017
Green CitiesGreen Cities19 October 2017
ParklifeParklife24 May 2018
IndustriesIndustries23 October 2018
CampusCampus19 May 2019
* denotes a mini content pack, rather than full expansion.

But that doesn't mean that Colossal Order has abandoned the game. In fact, they've been very active on Twitter asking for people's opinions on what kind of new content we'd like to see. Most recently, they posted a tweet asking if we'd like to see buildings with seasonal holiday decorations (such as Christmas and Halloween). Earlier in the year, they also asked if we'd like to see mechanics for car wrecks or urban decay (among other propositions). Even though these ideas seem to have been positively received on Twitter, and lots of follow-up ideas were presented by commenters (including myself), no new expansion has been announced.

Colossal Order's Twitter account has apparently been fishing for new content ideas.

Though I wouldn't be surprised if Colossal Order announces an expansion before I'm able to finish writing and publish this blog post...

Personally, I've liked all the ideas that they've suggested, in principle. As you may know, I have some gripes with how Colossal Order has handled its expansions for Cities Skylines, so I would hope that any possible future expansion would try to resolve those lingering issues. So let's go through the ideas that Colossal Order has pitched on Twitter and see if they would be worthy of an expansion pack!

I've had some complaints with the design philosophy of Cities Skylines expansion in the past.

First, I want to talk about Colossal Order's most recent tweet. I'm going to discuss some other idea tweets in the next post. I'm starting with the most recent tweet because (a.) it's the tweet that inspired this blog post, and (b.) it's the easiest to "game-ify" and fit into the existing Cities Skylines mechanics. The other ideas will require ... a bit more imagination ...

Holidays and summer break!

The last three expansions have all been variations of the Parklife area mechanic. Parklife let us paint areas to create modular parks. Industries and Campus both took the same idea and applied it to industrial zones and university campuses (respectively). So it stands to reason that another expansion may also introduce some new paintable areas -- though I hope such areas aren't the entire expansion.

A recent tweet proposes dynamic holiday decorations.

Colossal Order's tweet about seasonal holidays got me thinking about one of my long-standing wishlist ideas for the game: a seasonal cycle. Perhaps a holiday or season-themed expansion might finally introduce a changing seasonal cycle that Snowfall teased at, but ultimately failed to deliver. Such an expansion could fully incorporate Snowfall into the rest of the game by allowing cities to transition from summer to winter, such that Snowfall mechanics are applicable and useful to all cities (rather than having to start a whole new map in order to have access to snow, heating, and the gas utility).

This isn't the first time that I've pitched a summer-themed expansion pack (I'd name it either "Summer Break" or "Heatwave", depending on which mechanics are the focus of the expansion). But since those original proposals, the Parklife expansion had released, which included some of my ideas (such as a national park), and it featured a mechanic that could be easily extendable to accommodate other summer or season-themed ideas and content. I invite you to read the previous wishlist posts, if you're curious how my ideas on the subject have morphed and evolved along with the game.

So first and foremost, my pitch for a full expansion pack is to allow for a full season cycle, with cities transitioning from summer to winter (and maybe also a spring and autumn transitional period). During the summer, kids should be out of school, and tourism and leisure activities should become more popular and profitable. There could also be a period during the winter in which kids are off of school, and tourism and leisure also sees an increase in activity and revenue.

A summer-themed expansion could invert Snowfall's heating mechanic
by increasing the electrical demand for air conditioning during exceptionally hot days.

During the summer, the temperature should increase, and the expansion could borrow an idea from Snowfall by requiring that homes and businesses consume additional electricity for air conditioning (similar to heating in Snowfall). This would require building additional electrical capacity to sustain your city through the summer (or winter if your heating is also electrical), which would add some small degree of additional challenge.

The expansion should add an arid, desert-themed biome, and different biomes should have varying season lengths. The aforementioned desert biome should have longer summers and shorter winters (possibly going entire winters without seeing any snow at all). Alpine biomes should be the opposite, with longer winters and shorter summers. Boreal biomes would have equal-length summers and winters. While tropical biomes would be warm and wet the entire year.

Still waiting for a public beach area...

Beaches, ski resorts, and water parks

So where do the Parklife mechanics come into play? Well, kids and vacationers will need to have things to do during those summer and winter peak tourism seasons. This expansion should add several new park areas. The most obvious should be a public beach park area, where people can swim, surf, play volleyball, build sand castles, and so forth. Modular structures for a beach area could include a lifeguard tower, restroom, shower, surf shop, picnic area, fishing pier, snorkeling cove (an area of water enclosed by a seawall), surfing zone, and so forth. I'd love to see idle animations of people jogging on the beach, sunbathing, kids building sand castles, and surfers and body-boarders hitting the waves.

During the winter, our vacationers should be able to visit a ski resort park area. This should be required to be built on a slope. Ski lifts would work similar to the cable cars that were added by Mass Transit, and ski runs could be defined with a variant of the path mechanic. The steepness of the slope could maybe even determine the difficulty of the ski run, and harder runs may result in injuries that will have to be treated in local hospitals. Modular buildings for the ski resort area could include a lodge, ski shop, snow patrol cabin, first aid cabin, a sledding area, a "ski school" area (for teaching kids), grill restaurant, bar, bungalow cabins, snow plow depot, helicopter pad, and maybe a ranger station. Hiking trails could maybe also be useable within a ski area during the summer when the snow has cleared. All the buildings in the ski area should support being able to be built on slopes.

I've been wanting proper public beaches since After Dark.
The Parklife paintable area mechanic would be a great way of implementing beaches.

Another option for a seasonal park area would be a water park area. This would be a variation of the amusement park available in Parklife, but with water slides and a lazy river instead of a roller coaster and bumper cars. The water park would, of course, only be open during the summer, and would consume a lot of water.

Ski resorts should be built on natural slopes or mountains [LEFT],
instead of being artificial structures built on flat, level terrain [RIGHT].

If this expansion is going to add seasonal transitions and summer and winter breaks, then it would also stand to reason that it could also include the holiday decorations that Colossal Order proposed in their tweet. Decorations could go up for part of each season. Christmas decorations could go up in early winter, with Halloween decorations going up in early autumn. Players could have the option of having Thanksgiving parades, A Chinese New Year Parade, St. Patrick's Day Parade, and so forth. You could also perhaps be allowed to have firework shows for New Year, 4th of July (in the U.S.), or Chinese New Year.

Water and energy-saving incentives

Lastly, this expansion could include some new policies. There could be water-conservation policies such as "Mandate desert landscaping" (instead of grass lawns) and a "Residential Swimming Pool ban". Energy conservation policies could also be included, such as "Subsidized Residential Rooftop Solar", "Subsidized Business Rooftop Solar", "Heating Demand Response" (which lowers the demand for heating during the coldest winter days, and "Cooling Demand Response" (which lowers the demand for air conditioning on the hottest summer days). You could implement year-round schooling, which would increase the capacity of your schools, but reduce the number of kids that visit parks and leisure activities during summer and winter.

Energy and water-saving measures such as rooftop solar and desert landscaping could be added.

This is currently my favorite idea for an expansion pack. By incorporating the Snowfall mechanics back into the rest of the game, and by extending the Parklife ideas, this proposed expansion would alleviate concerns that I've had in the past with expansion packs feeling too modular and failing to address the problems of previous expansions.

Or maybe Colossal Order is fishing for sequel ideas?

I think Colossal Order has some good ideas for possible expansions in these tweets. Let's see if they actually turn any of these ideas into an actual game.

Or maybe they aren't fishing for expansion ideas at all. Maybe Colossal Order feels like they've done all they can with the existing Cities Skylines foundation. This may explain why the last three expansions were all variations of the same idea, rather than new ideas. Technical problems with the game engine or code base may also explain why we haven't seen a proper seasonal transition in the game. It might not be possible for Colossal Order to implement some of these bolder ideas without rebuilding the game engine with those concepts in mind.

So perhaps these Twitter posts are meant to gauge fan interest in a possible Cities Skylines 2, which may or may not include seasonal transitions, holidays, urban decay, car wrecks, and other new ideas all in the vanilla package. Colossal Order being hard at work on a new game engine would also explain why we haven't seen a second expansion in 2019. After all, Colossal Order's previous city-builder game, Cities In Motion had a sequel. Maybe Cities Skylines will too.

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