Cities: Skylines 2’s troubled launch, and why simulation games are freaking hard

EnlargeParadox Interactive

The worst thing about Cities: Skylines 2 is that it was recently released.

If this hugely ambitious city builder simulation would have been released some time ago, patched over and over again, and updated with some gap-filling DLC, it would be far better off. It could be on its slow-burn second act, like No Man’s Sky, Cyberpunk 2077, or Final Fantasy XIV. It could have settled into a disgruntled-but-still-invested player base, like Destiny 2 or Overwatch 2. Or its technical debts could have been slowly paid off to let its underlying strengths come through, as with Disco Elysium or

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