Update: We were lead to believe Cities: Skylines 2 could be UE5 based, but have since discovered Colossal Order has confirmed a Unity release (opens in new tab). Still, the rest of the easter eggs City Planner Plays pointed out could still come to fruition. Only time will tell.
Original story: Scrubbing through the recent Cities: Skylines 2 announcement trailer from Colossal Order, one creator reckons they've clocked some exciting easter eggs. Not only does City Planner Plays think these point to the upcoming city builder sequel being made in Unreal Engine 5, he's also got me utterly convinced of a few other features the devs seem to be teasing.
The first and biggest spot City Planner Plays talks about is that desert gas station we see in the first scene, its sign all lit up in the dark desert. "GOLDEN" it reads, clear as day. City Planner Plays took this as both a literal and figurative sign, and got to work with a little snooping (opens in new tab).
A quick search for the asset brought them to the conclusion that, since the GOLDEN Desert Gas Station (opens in new tab) was made by Joakim Stigsson to show off what UE4 could do, and has now been updated for use with UE5, we could well see Cities 2 coming in Unreal Engine 5 (opens in new tab).
It's a leap for sure, but the devs would frankly be unhinged not to take advantage of the graphical abilities of this newly evolved game engine. The idea of Cities coming in UE5 is big if true, and could mean some wild changes to the franchise in terms of graphic quality.
While the exceptionally shiny windows in the Cities 2 trailer may be a bit of a stretch to expect in the game—it even explicitly states the trailer doesn't show actual gameplay footage—there are some things we can glean from a potential UE5 tease. The biggest and best of all would be in the form of Nanite.
With this UE5 features, we could end up with a distinct lack of LODs in Cities 2. What does that mean? No weird popping in and out of models when you zoom. Instead, UE5 would enable dynamic level of detail, with the Nanite feature simply reducing the number of polygons on each individual mesh as and when you move away from it.
Combine that with all the other goodies UE5 has brought us, such as Lumen's no-lightmap-baking-necessary magic, and we can expect some really beautiful stuff from the upcoming sequel to this much loved city builder.
When it comes down to it, the kind of graphic fidelity we're looking at might require a little upgrade from that GTX 1070 Ti you've been harbouring for the past half-decade, but with UE5 not even breaking a sweat when presented with 10 billion polygons of dog (opens in new tab), you may not necessarily need to rush out and buy an RTX 4090 (opens in new tab) to enjoy Cities: Skylines 2.
Thank the good lord chirper.
There are a few other features we could well see according to City Planner Plays. More literal signs in the trailer point to the potential for scenarios based on real cities, such as Wisconsin. That could come along with mixed use buildings, and the potential to customise signature infrastructure pieces.
Personally I've not been this excited for a game in years, and I'm right there with another of our resident Cities likers, Chris, in all that he's been hoping for from Cities: Skylines 2 (opens in new tab).
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