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The 'rushed' attempt to rehabilitate Cities Skylines II is becoming a cautionary tale

Paradox and Colossal Order are struggling to rework Cities Skylines II after a tough launch window, and have now apologized for rushing DLC out of the door.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 18, 2024

4 Min Read
An urban sprawl in Cities Skylines II
Image via Paradox

The fumbled launch of Cities Skylines II has turned into a waking nightmare for publisher Paradox Interactive and developer Colossal Order.

Despite selling over 1 million copies since launching in October 2023, the city-building sequel irked fans after launching with performance and functionality issues.

Paradox acknowledged those growing pains earlier this year and said it didn't deliver the quality it expects. The Swedish company seemed confident it could rehabilitate Cities Skylines II alongside developer Colossal Order and pledged to continue supporting the title for "many years to come." And yet, it seems that actually delivering on that promise has been rather difficult.

Earlier today, both Paradox and Colossal Order issued a lengthy statement apologizing for the state of the recent Beach Properties add-on and said the expansion "should not have been published in its current form." We see and understand the disappointment many of you have expressed after the release of Cities Skylines II and the recent release of Beach Properties," reads the statement.

"We asked for your patience and support, and you’ve shown those. In return, we let you down. We thought we could make up for the shortcomings of the game in a timeframe that was unrealistic, and rushed out a DLC that should not have been published in its current form. For all this, we are truly sorry."

The DLC currently has a 'overwhelmingly negative' rating on Steam with over 1,300 user reviews, with many suggesting the asset pack—which was supposed to help players diversify their waterfronts with beach properties—failed to do the bare minimum. "This asset pack is a fraud. Everything looks damn near the same. It's as low effort copy paste as possible," reads one user review. "Four palm trees. 10 sets of houses. No beaches or tools to make beaches. I feel insulted," adds another.

Paradox and Colossal Order committed to Cities Skylines II but struggling to win back players

In a bid to make amends, Paradox and Colossal Order will be making the DLC free to all players and refunding (to some extent) those who dropped cash on the add-on. It did, however, note that anyone who grabbed the Beach Properties pack via the Ultimate Edition won't be refunded due to the "significant complexities for issuing a partial refund."

"We realize that this is far from ideal, especially given the dedication those who have stayed with us since launch have shown," continues the statement. "We are committed to repaying that loyalty, and therefore, we will compensate Ultimate Edition holders by adding 3 Creator Packs and 3 Radio Stations which, together, sum up to a value of USD 39.99. This solution hopefully ensures that you, regardless of purchase method, feel you receive fair compensation.

"Looking ahead, we also want to make immediate and meaningful changes in the way we approach the game’s development and our communication with you. Firstly, this means a complete focus on improving the base game and modding tools, and secondly, we want to better involve you, the community, as we choose our priorities going forward. We will focus on additional free patches and game updates in the coming months before Colossal Order spends time on new paid content, resulting in a move of the Bridges and Ports Expansion to 2025."

Notably, the console version of Cities Skylines II will no longer arrive in spring due to optimization issues. Instead, both companies are hopeful it will have a release build ready for October 2024 but is reluctant to confirm a release date until it has tested those versions.

"We have been struggling to get Cities Skylines II to the necessary level of optimization for a console release, but are now hopeful that an upcoming build delivery in April will demonstrate sufficient progress for us to progress with a release candidate, and then a release build targeted for October [2024]," adds the statement.

"Before we have seen and evaluated the progress made in these builds however, we will not be able to confirm the release date, and even then, some uncertainty always remains. Our ambition is to deliver the experience that you all deserved at launch, but it will take time. It’s important to note that the team working on the console release operates separately from our PC development team, so it will be progressing without splitting our focus or time."

Paradox and Colossal Order said regaining the trust of players remains a top priority moving forward.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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