Cities: Skylines 2 fans complain of performance woes, after developer admits it missed target

Cities: Skylines 2 fans complain of performance woes, after developer admits it missed target

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Player numbers hit series record, as Paradox releases optimisation guide.

A riverside city on a sunny day built in Cities: Skylines 2. The city is filled with trees lining the roads, and houses along the road have solar panels. In the distance, tall skyscraper builds can be seen. Steam from industrial power plants blows up into the air
Image credit: Paradox Interactive

Cities: Skylines 2 released last night and a record number of players for the series played the game on Steam – albeit to a mixed response.

Publisher Paradox Interactive previously admitted the game had “not achieved the [performance] benchmark” it wanted. Despite that, the sequel reached a concurrent peak of 104,697 players, surpassing the original’s record of 60,386 concurrent players (as recorded by SteamDB).

Steam reviews for Cities: Skylines 2 are mixed however, mostly with criticisms levelled at the game’s performance and some players are questioning Paradox’s decision to release the game even if it believes “releasing now is the best way forward”.

Cities: Skylines 2 Official Gameplay TrailerWatch on YouTube

At launch, Paradox shared an optimisation guide with players listing which settings can be changed for a potential performance boost. The main points include lowering resolution and refresh rate, disabling volumetrics and depth of field, and reducing global illumination.

Other adjustments which Paradox stated may help include disabling motion blur and enabling dynamic resolution.

In a separate post-launch statement, Paradox said it aims to release patches to “significantly improve different areas of performance”, including fixes to remove stutters, and more GPU and CPU optimisations. “We are also looking at expanding the options for upscaling solutions,” the publisher said, with the aim of adding support FS2 and DLSS2.

“We have concluded the performance is not a dealbreaker for all the players,” Paradox also said. “The number one priority is for the players to have fun with the game, and we had seen enough feedback from players from players enjoying the game that it would be more unfair to postpone.” Upcoming patches will improve performance on default settings, the publisher added, and is targeting a “steady 30fps minimum” for future.

Paradox revealed it set its goal at 30fps as a city builder will “inevitably become CPU-bound” as the city grows larger, and it wanted to focus on preventing stutters and maintaining a responsive UI. However, it added it doesn’t “intend to limit or stop the optimisation work” once its 30fps target is reached, as “it does not hurt to get 60fps as it can contribute to better visuals in relation to temporal effects”.

A delay for Cities: Skylines 2’s console release was announced last month, with developer Colossal Order and Paradox stating it needed more time to work on performance issues. The sequel is missing official mod support, one of the original game’s best features, and is set to be added along with official mod tools at some point in the future.

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