Cities Skylines 2 has successfully launched on Steam, reaching over 100,000 concurrent players and is at the top of the bestseller list. However, performance issues marred the launch, which was met with a “mixed” user review of 48% on Valve’s platform.
Most negative user reviews include complaints about City Builder’s performance, which developer Colossal Order warned would be an issue before the game’s release. The current “most helpful review” for Cities Skylines 2 on Steam from user Ariegan simply states: “Who would have thought that in 2023 we would get another unoptimized mess of a game… I’m tired, boss…”
Steam user CountCristo goes into more detail. “Unfortunately the game is not ready for release yet. For now, wait – I’ll be happy to change this review when the time comes! The game’s performance is terrible and in the settings that allow it to get through at 20 frames per second it looks noticeably worse than Cities 1. There are also various bugs (particularly related to “not enough customers”) that Filling the game with annoying bubble warnings for no reason.”
And here’s another Steam review from user Stin: “Everyone already knows the performance is terrible, so I’m just sharing my experience so you have another example to compare. I have a 13900k, 64GB RAM and an RTX 4090 and play on a 1440p ultrawide monitor. I hit 35fps in the main menu and in-game on a brand new map without building a single thing. Disabling motion blur and depth field increased this from 35 to 50 fps. Not a single other graphics setting changed performance at all. I turned off every single setting I could or set it to the lowest possible and still only got 50 fps. This is an impressively bad optimization. In fact, I can’t remember any other game recently where changing the graphics settings literally didn’t change the FPS. Just stay away from it until they fix the problem.”
This week, developers Colossal Order announced that Cities Skylines 2 is targeting 30 frames per second, even on the most powerful PCs. Damsku’s technical director said that there is “probably no real advantage for a city builder to aim for higher FPS.” According to Damsku, the most important thing for city builders is to avoid stuttering and have a responsive user interface.
Earlier this month, Colossal Order admitted that Cities Skylines 2’s performance was not up to par, but insisted that the city-building game would launch on PC as planned on October 24th. “Cities: Skylines 2 is a next-generation title, and of course it requires certain hardware requirements,” Colossal Order said at the time. “Although our team has worked tirelessly to deliver the best possible experience, we have not achieved the benchmark we desired.”
In a new post on Steam published today, October 25th, Colossal Order went into more detail about the controversial decision to release Cities Skylines 2 despite it having these performance issues.
“While some setups on PC present challenges, we have determined that performance is not critical for all players,” the developer said. “Our number one priority is that players enjoy the game, and we’ve seen enough feedback from players enjoying the game that it would be more unfair to postpone it. We know we will continue to work on the game and do our best to fix any issues as quickly as possible. That’s why we wanted to respect the announced release date and allow people to start playing the game.
To this end, a number of performance-related updates are planned. “First, we want to reassure you that the issues are not deeply rooted in the fundamentals of the game, so we expect to be able to improve performance in the future,” Colossal Order said. “The problems we are currently facing are related to the presentation of the game. Lowering the quality of visual effects such as depth of field, global illumination and volumetrics will give you fair performance without compromising the simulation – at the expense of some eye candy.”
Cities Skylines II screenshots
Colossal Order recommended the following for those experiencing low FPS in Cities Skylines 2:
- Reduce the screen resolution to 1080p
- Disable depth of field and volumetrics
- Reduce global illumination
The developer even released a guide on how to improve Cities Skylines 2 performance. “With the coming patches, the situation with the default settings will largely improve,” emphasized Colossal Order.
Wesley is the UK news editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at email@example.com or confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org.