The recent launch of Cities: Skylines II has been met with a highly polarized response mainly due to the game’s extremely demanding system requirements, coupled with consistently poor performance if the game is pushed to maximum settings, even on the best gaming PCs currently possible.
When we reviewed it, I had a computer that was just over the “recommended” level, and I was able to maintain 30-45fps on Medium settings. Still, many gamers with significantly better computers have been frustrated that the game isn’t optimized for those higher-end machines.
Developer Colossal Order has, in an official forum post, acknowledged and responded to this frustration by announcing their current priorities regarding post-launch support for the title, which was built with future hardware in mind to prevent the infrastructural limitations that the first game had.
It begins with advice for players with said high-end machines that are having a less-than-satisfactory experience with the game to allow them to continue playing without needing to wait for patches:
- Reduce screen resolution to 1080p
- Disable Depth of Field and Volumetrics
- Reduce Global Illumination
- Check the full guide for more tips
It then outlines the most immediate priorities and fixes for the developer, using data gathered from various hardware configurations the team couldn’t access pre-launch. To quote the post:
- Remove stutters, generally caused by some synchronization condition in the simulation. They can vary significantly from one CPU to another, as well as how your city is built.
- Optimize and balance GPU performances by reducing the number of vertices processed per frame and optimizing/balancing the effects that affect fillrate (mainly Depth of Field, Global Illumination, and Volumetrics), which you can turn off or reduce in the settings for the time being to get a decent FPS.
- Pushing any CPU optimizations that are not already done that we come across in this process.
They clarify that what they’re looking to achieve is to do these things without compromising what’s being seen by the player and that they’re also working on adding AMD FSR2 (the game currently supports FSR1) for additional frame generation possibilities in order to patch the holes currently being experienced.
Most notably, they state that their target is 30fps, as a higher framerate is fairly inessential for a city-building sim and falls more into the “nice to have” category. While they don’t intend to stop working and call it a day if they can meet that, players should expect that level of performance at most hardware configurations if the game is run at the highest possible resolution.
The post closes by stating that the feedback they were receiving was not that the game’s poor high-end performance was enough of a dealbreaker for players to justify delaying the game (though the console versions have been pushed back to Spring) but that they are aware of the issues players are facing and are looking to deliver a number of patches to address concerns.
In my opinion, one of the biggest concerns for this title should be making sure mid-range configurations are able to achieve acceptable performance, as right now, the requirements are far too high just to be able to run it at all. I’m privileged enough to have a mid-to-high-end PC, but it’s already aging from when I upgraded everything a year ago, and sales are absolutely going to suffer if players who don’t have $1500 to throw at their computer every four years or so can no longer access these titles, especially ones like Skylines II which will live and die by their player community.
You can read the full forum post here or my review of Cities: Skylines II here. Cities: Skylines II is currently available for PC via Steam and will launch for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles next Spring.
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