Cities Skylines has always been a game in which I’ve felt that I’m working toward creating an idyllic future for my citizens. From the off it featured green energy in the form of massive wind turbines, hydroelectric dams, huge solar arrays and so on, and although you might start off with cheap and nasty landfill dumps and sewage outlets into the sea, you’ll want to replace them with cleaner alternatives to avoid the negatives of having so much pollution. After all, nobody wants to be submerged in poop water when disasters strike!
Green Cities is the game’s next major expansion, and it looks to push those green, tree hugging credentials even further. For one thing, this features a simply huge amount of new assets with over 200 new buildings and 100 other assets that will spring up in your city. A lot of these will be seen as you push the new district specialisations for residential, commercial and office areas.
For your city’s residents, it means a push toward self-sufficiency with houses that now feature rooftop gardens and solar panels, allowing them to reduce the amount that they need to draw energy from the grid – though conversely meaning that they contribute less in tax – and producing less waste in general. That’s true of high density residences as well, with five tiers of skyscraper that get progressively greener, and quite literally so. They’re soon covered in the greenery of vertical gardens up their walls.
Everything else about city life will also have been touched with this move away from fossil fuels and waste as well. Electric vehicles will make an appearance on the roads of your city, as will biofuel busses, but while they’ll ordinarily just make up a portion of the traffic, you can also mandate that they are used, pushing all traffic to eschew petrol and diesel. That also ties into the new way that noise pollution is determined, which is now based on the actual vehicles that are travelling along roads, as opposed to the roads themselves, as they have been previously.
Naturally, living in this hippy paradise wouldn’t be complete if you had to buy your food at a boring 7-11 or Asda type supermarket. So instead, they’ve been replaced by Healthy Weeds – which sounds very much like a legalised marijuana joint – and other similar shops, all of whom try to source food locally. The bonus to that is less reliance on importing food from other regions and a reduced flow of heavy vehicles down your congested roads. Another win on the noise pollution front.
And if that’s not enough escape from the trawl of city life, Colossal Order have created the largest park to feature in the game, appropriately named Central Park, which features a road running through it in addition to numerous things to do. That’s accompanied by new monuments and unique buildings such as the Bird Bee farm, which I’m sure has nothing to do with the more euphemistic birds and bees, and the Lungs of the City, which is essentially a patch of land simply covered by truly gigantic trees.
Simple service buildings are also getting more options, more in line with modern life in general, as opposed to anything excessively green, I feel. You can have a more eco friendly water treatment and outlet plant, as opposed to simply spewing poo downstream, and there’s finally recycling centres that will dramatically cut down on the ground pollution if you replace your landfills with them, and visibly so.
Having fewer turds floating by will also make the new floating buildings a great new possibility for creating a touristy hotspot. Pop a free floating restaurant out at sea, or a garbage collector, and all you need to do is connect its docks to the road network. Personally, I can’t wait for the community to get a hold of this, so I can have prison barges and give my ecological utopia a dystopian twist.
Lastly, the office district specialisation turns toward technology, embracing the style of Silicon Valley tech giants that have come to dominate our everyday lives, with fewer workers within each tower, alongside tons and tons of computers and tech. There’s not so much green living in this instance, but it does fit with the San Francisco vibe that the expansion has. I can just imagine people popping out from these buildings to grab the latest fad smoothie or health food for lunch, before heading back to get to work coding on Chirper. Oddly in the example city, it was dozens of ebook companies, presumably seeking to grow into the Cities: Skylines equivalent of Amazon.
Green Cities feels like a good (though for from essential) expansion for the best city builder going. The biggest addition really is the huge number of new assets that will help broaden the potential look and feel of your city, however there are some interesting new policies and ideas behind it. As always, none of this exists in a bubble, though. There will be some free additions, some that are locked behind the paid expansion, but more importantly, it will add to the game in a way that should foster a new wave of ideas and content from the community.