We’re not often given the keys to a sizeable plot of land and told to go and build London II, but since its release in March this year, players of the city building simulation Cites: Skylines have been doing exactly that. And not only have they been creating their own personal urban centres, many talented and dedicated players have taken to recreating real-world cityscapes in frankly astonishing detail.
Cities recreated by talented players to date include Amsterdam, New York City, Chicago, Hong Kong, Washington DC, Vienna, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town and even San Sebastian in Spain. The virtual facsimiles don’t only apply to the look of each location, but each recreation has also attempted to model the cities’ infrastructure and social makeup. So transport links all try to stick as close as possible to their real-life counterparts, and the distribution of residential, commercial and industrial areas is as faithful as it can be.
The city planners involved in each build have been helped by the game’s ability to import real-world terrain maps for virtual recreation, letting players build on landscapes that are as close to the real-world equivalent as possible. Players can also export their city maps to share with others in the burgeoning Cities community.
The Geographical team has had a chance to get hands-on ourselves with Cities: Skylines’ extensive mechanics, albeit with somewhat less impressive results than those shown here. The extent of our city planning talents has so far stretched to managing to avoid drowning a handful of residents in sewage and driving the only viable business out of town due to a poorly thought out power line. Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day.