2018: the year for console city-builder sims

With GamesCom not delivering much in the way of new releases, I wanted to pick up on a couple of recent announcements which are good news for simulation and city-builder fans who also own consoles. If you are a console city-builder fan then this post is just for you!

This summer brings the impossibly successful Cities: Skylines to PS4, and it looks like the trend for traditionally-keyboard-and-mouse games coming to consoles will continue next year.

Here is a summary of a few upcoming city-builder/simulation games which will make their way onto Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2018.

Tropico 6

The dictator-simulation series, Tropico, has been going from strength-to-strength over the last few years. Tropico 5 was released for consoles last year and shines as a beacon of how controls and interfaces can actually work on consoles. The game itself is fantastic fun, so much so that I’ve been doing a “Let’s Play” series with one of the expansion packs on PS4.

Next year we will get a new installment with a grander scale and even more content! Tropico 6 will introduce larger land masses (Archipelagos) rather than a single island to manage, which brings bridges into the game to help you join up your territories. On top of this, there will also be buses and other transportation options to keep your citizens and visitors happy.

The Steam game page for Tropico 6 gives a flavour of the new features, while the announcement video gives a shiny overview:

Surviving Mars

From the same publisher as Tropico 6 (Paradox) comes a sci-fi themed city-builder/survival strategy on the red planet, Surviving Mars. The game got a new reveal trailer for Gamescom which shows off the type of habitat you can hope to develop in the game: bubbles of colourful civilisation just ripe for total destruction. The game’s landing page includes a sign-up form where you can register as a “founder” for early in-game content when the game is released in 2018.

Aside from looking great fun (another heavy concept balanced with light-hearted graphics and story) the game also features individually-simulated colonists, which the description teases may include having to deal with issues like “your chief scientist develops alcoholism after one too many long nights in the lab”. I love the aesthetics of the game too: that retro 1960s vision of the “final frontier” comes through in the way the game is presented.

Jurassic World Evolution

Another Gamescom surprise was a new city-builder from the team that developed Planet Coaster (Frontier) where you can make your own dinosaur theme park. Jurassic World Evolution has little more than a teaser trailer for now, but the developers have stated that:

Jurassic World Evolution evolves players’ relationship with the Jurassic World film franchise, placing them in control of operations on the legendary island of Isla Nublar and the surrounding islands of the Muertes Archipelago. Players will build their own Jurassic World as they bioengineer new dinosaur breeds and construct attractions, containment and research facilities. Every choice leads to a different path and spectacular challenges arise when ‘life finds a way.’

Just being able to build a theme park with dinosaur enclosures would be great for me, but the trailer even hints at some tailored gameplay to fit the Jurassic Park setting, with the placement of a “rapid response unit” building to deal with emergencies breaking out in your park. The idea of being able to bio-engineer my own dino breeds also sounds amazing, although given enough creative control I will probably aim for a “penis-shaped velociraptor” which may end up being a favourite for my park visitors…

The game is slated for a summer 2018 release, likely coinciding with the new JP film, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, due out in June 2018.


Are you a fan of city-builder games on consoles?

Which upcoming city-builder are you most excited about?

Plays loads of terrible games. Makes websites and videos in my free time. Often spotted hanging around on street corners (capturing virtual locations).