A Cities: Skylines Christmas with Natural Disasters, Part 3

There are natural disasters, and man-made ones. In Part 1, my Santa City was struck by a meteor, and in Part 2 I struggled to begin the rebuilding process. But as I'm busy trying to salvage my city I wind up killing almost as many citizens as those horrific acts of nature. Trying to keep my city condensed for maximum efficiency, I discover I've placed water tanks too close to my industrial areas, meaning the town's water supply has been tainted.

I've got a mass extinction event of my own making. I've poisoned every house in town. Nearly every single residence has a corpse in it. This is, as we say: bad.

Meanwhile, how's my second Santa doing? Well, the rebuilding and poisoning process has taken quite a bit of time, and Santa Mk. 2 is already retired and hobbling around town with a cane. I am pleased to see, at least, that he's spending his winter years in Snowman Park. Feels like a Santa thing to do.

Once I've cleaned up all the fresh corpses and moved the water tanks to a safer spot, things begin to turn around. My population grows to a few thousand citizens, which is good, but it also signals to the game that it's time to start sending natural disasters my way once more.

The fates are kinder this time, however. A sinkhole opens up, but it's in the ocean, doing no damage to anything except perhaps some unlucky fish. Another sinkhole strikes, but it's just on the edge of the shore, and while it takes out my water line it's an easy fix to get everyone's plumbing working again. Before long, my city has begun to grow properly, and as I've rebuilt it efficiently I'm soon flush with cash and able to buy early warning systems. 

A deep space dish will give me advance warning of giant rocks headed my way. An offshore buoy will detect tsunamis before they happen. I've got weather detection systems and a radio tower to give citizens a heads-up about when they should put their heads down.

And sure, a tornado rakes its way through my city, killing 985 people and destroying over 100 buildings, but I've got the cash to recover quickly and none of the dead people are Santa so it's not that bad. Then an earthquake comes along and kills 407 more people, wrecking 84 more buildings, but again, Santa is spared. We even have a tsunami, but it only kills 40 non-Santas as it rolls along the coastline. I'm taking everything nature is throwing at me and rolling with the punches. My city keeps growing.

I do lose a few Santas, however, though none to disasters. One dies of old age, and is replaced by his kid, who moves away to another city (tough to blame him). I assign another Santa who was living in the same house, but he moves away as well. Soon I'm on my sixth Santa, who also dies of old age, so I assign a 7th.

My biggest problems is that I'm running out of room on my single map tile, which is half ocean. I convert low density residential and commercial areas to high density and watch towers spring up. The craters and earthquake scars that litter my map are now crisscrossed with roads and filled with homes and parks. You can barely see the evidence of the mass carnage that has taken place.

I'm slowly inching toward my goal of 20,000 citizens, and one living Santa, who by the way is now living in a pine-green highrise.

At a population of 19,119, another disaster hits. This time, it's an earthquake. As I idly scroll across the map to see how close it is to Santa's house, I see something incredibly alarming. I'm no seismologist, but I'd place the epicenter of the quake directly under Santa's home. The earth shakes and shakes. Houses next to Santa's high rise begin crumbling. Santa's house begins to shimmy.

And Santa is home. I can't do anything but sit and watch.

I'm not sure I can put into words how it feels to watch Santa's house collapse into rubble with Santa himself (well, his seventh self) inside. I guess I'll describe it like this: ah, crap.

Merry Christmas. And if Santa doesn't bring you any presents this year, I guess you know who to blame.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.