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Classic SimCity-Inspired Game Silicon City Enters Early Access In October


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Silicon City is a forthcoming title from Indie developer Polycorne Studio that will come to Early Access on Steam on October 14, priced at $19.99. Currently, the game’s free demo is available on Steam and on Polycorne Studio’s website. It's the first city-builder truly focused on building a city since Cities: Skylines released in 2015.

The city-building genre has grown over the last decade to include new levels of customization that have made the games more enjoyable for fans while widening the gap between basic and advanced features. A game like Cities hosts an entire catalog of add-ons and mods along with plenty of in-game settings to give players real power over the development of their metropolis. Cities has dominated the modern city-builder genre and has even enabled players to build The Simpsons' Springfield. Many of the aspects that made SimCity so successful were the simplistic, accessible tools in the development and planning of the player’s city. Although Cities gives players more agency over how their city is developed and customized with mods, these features can overwhelm the base game and complicate simulations.

RELATED: Do The Sims Actually Live In SimCity

As revealed in a press release and a brand new trailer on Polycorne Games' YouTube page, Silicon City is entering early access next month. Silicon City seems much simpler than what players find in Cities today and may appeal to purists of the genre who first explored city-building with SimCity. There is a distinct focus on the “silizens” of Silicon City with an in-game Twitter feed that offers the player insight on how their citizens are feeling or evolving. This improves on SimCity’s mechanic where the input of Sims informed the player on ways to improve. An election system also raises the stakes for the player, making the moods of the citizens a primary focus on continual advancement. Although the analytics of Silicon City seem in-depth, in visuals and in gameplay, Polycorne Studio claims to “revisit classic game mechanics.” Aurélien Jacquot is a solo Indie developer who has worked “alone and relentlessly” on the game between 2016 and September 2020 and is finally able to release a demo of the project. Developers working alone on titles like this is nothing new to the city-building genre. In fact, a Viking-themed builder is currently in development by another person working alone.

Silicon City strives to pay tribute to the “good ol’ city builders from the 90’s,” most notable of which is Maxis’ SimCity franchise. Silicon City derives its inspiration from Maxis’ classic 1989 title and its subsequent 1993 follow-up, SimCity 2000. Some fans of the beloved franchise have even recreated skylines of their own in Minecraft, highlighting the cultural impact of the games. Although SimCity singlehandedly established the city-building genre as it’s known today, Cities: Skylines refined that familiarity and expanded upon it. What Silicon City hopes to do is bring the genre back to its roots with grid-based, procedural development that includes organizing road traffic and managing citizens—otherwise known as “silizens.”

Simple, familiar aspects are what made city-building games so enjoyable, but these qualities have been nearly lost in constant refinement over the last decade. Like some other indie development studios, one person had a vision and took inspiration from what they knew. Similar to how Stardew Valley improved on Harvest Moon by bringing the simple look and feel back to a leisurely genre, Silicon City is looking to simplify avenues in the concrete jungle of city-building.

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