Cities Skylines turned out to be quite the runaway success. With its door wide open to the creativity of the community, it seemed to be the city-builder that a lot of fans of the genre were yearning for. The explosion of popularity for the game surprised even the publishers of the game themselves.

It surprised them so much, that this expansion is now becoming a reality. The devs at Colossal Order in Finland are now hard at work on an expansion (note: not content DLC) to the game, with several significant changes to the game. I was fortunate to see an early build of the game during the gamescom expo in Cologne. Here’s what to look forward to in Cities Skylines: After Dark.

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As the name suggests, the expansion is built on a Day/Night cycle that is currently in the works. The key consideration with the expansion is to discover how differently the citizens behave at night, when clocked off for the day and having some time to spare. Some may choose to go out and have fun, whilst others might elect to stay at home.

Not just that, but the city’s services may change as the night beckons. Public transport may reduce in frequency as the commuters complete their journey, whilst separate services are in place to help revellers get home safely after , ahem, having ‘one too many’.

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This flexibility is offered in bounds with the upcoming expansion. New district specialisations can create leisure districts in the city, whilst policy and economic changes can be time sensitive to help create the city of your dreams. One example mentioned during the session was moving all rubbish collection to the evening. It might make some of the quieter roads a bit noisier at night, but it removes the traffic contribution that the trucks create during the day.

Of course, the addition of night-life creates the possibility of added strain on the law enforcement services in dealing with those that cause a bit of trouble. With this in mind, the crime system in the game is set to get a revamp. Crime “problems” will happen in-game, especially during the night. Just like it’s important in the game to have a competent Fire Department network to tackle building fires, the requirement for a competent Police Force will be enhanced in the expansion. The addition of the Prison building helps with this aim.

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The Prison is but one new building in the upcoming expansion. There’ll also be the Bus Station to create hub points for buses, the International Airport for long-haul traffic and the Cargo Hub to help interface with freight traffic better.

The International Airport is particularly interesting for me, as it comes bundled with a metro stop inside the airport. In London especially, where I’m currently living, public transport is mightier than the car. Imagine if all of Heathrow Airport’s traffic came in by car? Madness.

Speaking of Heathrow, it could be possible for modders to recreate the hub airport, with the new buildings offering the same open door to custom buildings thanks to the Steam Workshop. Heathrow might be a bit on the big side though… If one of you can make me a London City Airport (surrounded by water and everything) then you’ll be in my good books forever.

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Taking the transport thought further, coming soon to the game will be the inclusion of cycling. This once more follows the logical route of modern cities that encourage cycling as much as public transport. I’ll be intrigued if Cycle Hire becomes a workable policy in the game (from a London perspective, I’m thinking about those lovely Boris Bikes you see). Cycle routes are being considered, and it will be interesting to see how this addition develops.

Cities Skylines After Dark has been penned for release around Autumn this year. There are some aspects of the game that will be patched for free outside of the paid-for expansion, however the exact boundaries for these are to be confirmed. Keep it peeled here on GGS, where we’ll keep you in the loop as we learn more.