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Cities: Skylines gets its first expansion on September 24

Announced at Gamescom earlier this month, publisher Paradox Interactive has revealed an official release date for Cities: Skylines After Dark. The city-building simulator‘s first expansion will launch on September 24, complete with day/night cycles not present in the base installment.

In the premiere chapter of a planned dev diaries series, the game developer Colossal Order explains how adding a night cycle brings a completely new aesthetic to the game.

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“Taking the cities from daytime to night is not as simple as one might think,” said lead designer Karoliina Korppoo. “While the change from day to night is visually stunning there’s much more going on under the hood.”

Part of this is the new texture layer assigned to every building in the game, allowing for more intricate lighting effects. Signs, both lighted and neon, have been added to the game as well as other lights to “make the city look interesting during the night.”

The developer promises a realistic depiction of the more casual night life. The vast majority of inhabitants typically remain indoors while individuals who do infest the night are drawn towards the party scene.

Crime will be more pervasive at night, but on a positive note, decreased traffic gives players a chance to uphold sanitation rituals such as garbage pickup and road construction. Thankfully, the extra hours will be alleviated by an added “night time budget,” introducing time-based service scheduling, including night time-only bus lines.

“The night time creates new challenges, and changes the way traffic behaves to alter the way the city works,” Korppoo elaborates. “We want to create more variation to the game and makes the cities feel alive, with ever-changing needs and a constant, but changing, stream of citizens traveling to their desired destinations.”

At Gamescom, Paradox revealed that Cities: Skylines will adhere to an expansion strategy similar to the publisher’s other games, Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings. It will also be accompanied by a curiously ambiguous “major patch with free content,” which has yet to be detailed.

Cities: Skylines was lavished with critical acclaim following its release, leading the simulation to sell over a million copies as of April 2015. The publisher has also announced that a console version is currently in development, with the game set to hit Xbox One first.

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