'There will be a Chirper, for sure' in Cities: Skylines 2, says Colossal Order CEO

Cartoon bird wearing a hat with city in the background
(Image credit: Colossal Order)

When Cities: Skylines launched in 2015, one of the earliest popular mods for it was a killer. Literally. The mod assassinated Chirper, the noisy little bluebird who serves as the city builder's in-game, onscreen social media notification system.

Clearly, a lot of players didn't like Chirper—myself included—but in retrospect it feels a bit mean to assassinate the little blue birdie with a mod. Chirper is just trying to help, after all, passing on messages from the tiny citizens of your city. Chirper's chirps may clue you into problems like blackouts and weather events, and share your citizen's opinions on the look of the city, the state of traffic, or player-enacted city policies.

But just like the actual social media app it's based on, Chirper can be pretty annoying and sometimes you just want it to shut the heck up—Colossal Order even patched the game so players could hide Chirper's chirps without needing a mod. On the other hand, as we see with other annoying digital assistants like Microsoft's Clippy, over time a fondness for an annoying entity can form. I may not really like Chirper, but eight years later… I sort of also love Chirper?

We don't have all that many details about Cities: Skylines 2 yet, and Colossal Order has said it's not ready to reveal much more than we already know until closer to the sequel's launch later this year. But while speaking with Colossal Order CEO Mariina Hallikainen earlier today about the original Cities: Skylines, I couldn't resist trying to extract a little information about the sequel. Important, world-shaking information. I wanted a Chirper scoop.

"Chirper has kind of become the mascot of the game," Hallikainen said. "Unintentionally. It was not planned at all. I think it's something that brings that element of humor and fun in the game that is outside of the city building experience. And it's definitely part of the Cities: Skylines world, of the universe.

"So, yeah. It will see its own iteration. There will be a Chirper, for sure" in Cities: Skylines 2, Hallikainen revealed.

Hallikainen also told me she was the one who came up with Chirper in the original Skylines. "The feature was my idea," she said. "So I have very strong feelings about it." (I believe her, because I once saw her being interviewed while wearing a shirt with a picture of Chirper chirping the words "Give me a chance!")

"It's something that was my only contribution—and then I think someone commented that it's good that CEOs don't take part in game development, because that's the result," she said.

But Hallikainen clearly has a good sense of humor about Chirper, and doesn't seem to mind that not everyone was on board with the noisy little mascot.

"I think really, truly, the mark of a successful game is that when you launch the game, and the only thing people complain about is the tiny bluebird, you have done something right," she said. "So, no hard feelings."

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.