Cities: Skylines II, a long-awaited sequel to the successful city builder from Finnish studio Colossal Order, has been launched globally. Despite the huge interest from players, many criticized the game for its unfinished state.
Released on October 24, Cities: Skylines II ranked as the third highest-grossing game on Steam for the week of October 17-24, behind only free-to-play hits Apex Legends and Counter-Strike 2.
According to SteamDB, it also peaked at 104,697 concurrent users (CCU), which is a strong debut for a city building game. The title is also available on PC Game Pass, but there is no public data to track the number of players.
For comparison, the first Cities: Skylines has a peak CCU of 60,386 on Valve’s platform.
The sequel is now also one of the top 10 Steam releases of 2023 by peak CCU, behind Remnant II (110k), Armored Core VI (156k), and Resident Evil 4 (168k). Hogwarts Legacy and Baldur’s Gate 3 remain the undisputed leaders with 879k and 875k peak concurrent players respectively.
Cities: Skylines II received generally positive reviews, with an average score of 76 on Metacritic. Although critics praised the gameplay and core mechanics, they pointed to many technical issues and a lack of content (especially compared to the first title).
Player reception, however, was far from perfect. On Steam, Cities: Skylines II currently holds a “Mixed” rating, with only 48% of the 9,041 user reviews being positive. It turns out that the game doesn’t work properly even on top configurations. Here is what one player wrote: “I have a 13900k, 64gb of ram, and a RTX 4090, playing on a 1440p ultrawide monitor. I got 35 fps at the main menu and in game on a brand new map w/o building a single thing. Turning off motion blur and depth field increased this from 35 to 50 fps.”
It is worth noting that prior to launch, Colossal Order announced that it is targeting 30 fps “because of the nature of the game,” saying that “there are no real benefit in a city builder to aim for higher FPS (unlike a multiplayer shooter) as a growing city will inevitably become CPU bound.”
In a new post on Steam, the studio noted that Cities: Skylines II is “built for the future and modern hardware in mind,” promising to fix the biggest issues in upcoming patches. “While some setups on PC have challenges, we concluded the performance is not a dealbreaker for all the players,” once again pointing out its 30 fps target.
Colossal Order has been working closely with Paradox Interactive ever since its first game Cities in Motion. It remains an independent studio, but the Swedish publisher owns all the IP. The first Cities: Skylines, released in 2015, has sold over 12 million copies globally (as of June 2022), becoming one of the most successful titles in Paradox’s portfolio.