Initially announced a few weeks ago at Gamescom, After Dark is the first expansion planned for Colossal Order's Cities: Skylines. At the time, there was only a teaser trailer, showing off After Dark's biggest feature, the introduction of day and night cycles for the game. It was slated to come out before the end of the year, but now there is a definitive release date set for September 24.
Of course, bringing in a night cycle means that your city will have to react to the changing condition. Other features in the evening include specialized leisure areas such as nightclubs, bowling alleys and bars, which receive more activity in the evenings than during the day. For those itching for more transportation options, a new taxi service is also included, as well as the introduction of an international airport, a cargo hub for deliveries from trains, and a bus terminal that links the different bus routes throughout your city.
In The Middle Of The Night
The release date announcement also brought about a new set of developer diaries. The first one, written by lead designer Karoliina Korppoo, also discussed other advantages of the nighttime. Most of the city's activity occurs during the day with people going to work, making deliveries and managing their businesses. Although there are signs of a vibrant nightlife, the streets aren't jam-packed with cars because a significant portion of the residents are home. This brings up an opportunity to use service vehicles at night.
"The separate night time budget allows you to adjust how active services are during the night and day," she wrote. "To get the most out of the quiet night time, you can set garbage trucks to operate mostly during the night, or have hearses pick up bodies at an increased rate."
Korppoo also stressed that the night brings about more criminal activity, as well. By allocating enough funds to the police during the evenings, you can maintain a safe neighborhood with increased patrols at night and then resuming normal operations during the day.
For those who love to nitpick their city's traffic, the night cycle is the perfect time to determine if a road expansion is necessary to ease the flow of traffic during the day. Korppoo added more details on the new bus system, writing that you can choose to have certain routes open only during the night and then have it stop during the day.
The Best Alternative
After Dark comes just six months after the game's initial release. At the time, the SimCity series had a near monopoly on the city simulator genre. However, the disastrous launch of the game in 2013, which was mainly attributed to the game's requirement of an online connection even for the single-player experience, made the series a thing of the past. This, in turn, put Cities: Skylines in the spotlight as a welcome change to the scene. After Dark is the game's first expansion set, but there's still room for more features to be added in the coming months and years.