UPDATE October 24, 2023: A member of the development team provides more insight into how Cities: Skylines 2's performance issues are being addressed.
As Cities: Skylines 2's PC launch approaches, Publisher Paradox Interactive has issued a statement on the game's performance, in an effort to address growing concerns from its fanbase.
Cities: Skylines 2's performance became hot a topic among players after the sequel's system requirements were raised relatively close to launch. Unfortunately, while the game's next-gen nature does play a role in it demanding more recent PC specs, other challenges seem to have made getting it where it needs to be more difficult than expected.
Cities: Skylines 2 Performance
"Cities: Skylines II is a next-gen title, and naturally, it demands certain hardware requirements," reads a statement posted on the Paradox forums. "With that said, while our team has worked tirelessly to deliver the best experience possible, we have not achieved the benchmark we targeted.
"In light of this, we still think for the long-term of the project, releasing now is the best way forward. We are proud of the unique gameplay and features in Cities: Skylines II, and we genuinely believe that it offers a great experience that you will enjoy."
The publisher promised to "continually improve the game over the coming months" while admitting that its statement is meant "to manage expectations on performance for the coming release."
"Our ambition is for Cities: Skylines II to be enjoyed by as many players as possible, and we're committed to ensuring it reaches its full potential."
An accompanying FAQ article, notes that whether or not performance issues will occur depends on each player's hardware and the graphics settings used.
Paradox hasn't shared how well (or poorly) the title is expected to run, but has "determined a few graphic settings that have minimal impact on the player experience but increase performance significantly."
Details about them are expected "shortly," so it hopefully won't be too long until we're equipped with at least a few tools to make the title run smoother, should we run into issues.
In a Reddit AMA from October 24, 2023, a member of the development team provided more details about the studio's approach to fixing Cities: Skylines II's performance issues.
"The plan is to flush out all the performance issues that come our way as quickly as we can. Several of those have come to our attention only recently due to certain hardware setup that yielded unexpected results," they said before quoting the following improvements as being worked on as the game prepares for its official release:
- "Removing stutters, generally caused by some synchronization condition in the simulation and can greatly vary from one CPU to another, as well as how your city is built.
- Optimizing and balancing GPU performances by reducing the amount of vertices processed per frame and optimizing/balancing the effects that affects fillrate (mainly Depth of Field, Global Illumination and Volumetrics) which you can turn off or reduce in the settings for the time being to get a decent FPS.
- Push any CPU optimizations that are not already done that we come across in this process."
In a different response, they noted that the performance issues that raised most worries are "not deep in the game foundation."
"With the upcoming patches, the situation will largely improve with default settings. It is worth mentioning for a game like this, the performance target is to run at steady 30FPS minimum (not 60 or more)."
As the game launched, another post provided additional clarifications on the matter of Cities: Skylines II's performance.
According to the developer, "decreasing the quality of visual effects such as Depth of Field, Global Illumination, and Volumetrics will get you a fair performance without affecting simulation."
If your frame rate remains low after doing the above, it's worth reducing your screen resolution to 1080p, disabling depth of field and volumetric, alongside reducing the quality of global illumination.
Regarding future plans, the developer also noted "that balancing GPU performances does not mean reducing quality overall but, for example, taking fewer samples with smarter distribution to achieve identical or very similar results."
The title supports AMD's FSR1 upscaling technology thanks to it being supported by Unity "out of the box", but work is underway to add FSR2 and DLSS2 at some point further down the line.
The two newer solutions "require the use of Temporal Anti-aliasing, which is not possible at the moment due to some objects being incompatible with that technique," the developer explained.
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