El Presidente returns to Tropico with the latest iteration of the long-running city-builder sim, Tropico 6. This time around, quite a bit’s changed in the gameplay.
In the hands-off demo for Tropico 6, I was pleasantly surprised by some changes that the community has really been itching for. First and foremost, the palace that your Presidente resides in can be repositioned anywhere it fits. Finally! It really opens up the space available for players, not having a big hulking building smack dab in the middle of things.
Continuing on with the palace, you’re going to be able to customize it, too. While what we were shown was a work in progress, it showed what they were going for. The layout could be changed around in different ways, the actual colors could be altered, there were monuments and bunkers and holograms and more that could be placed in any available space. Ah, it’s great to finally make your regime look unique to you, am I right?
Another big change that I think players will be really excited about is how accessible they’ve made the islands that you’ll be workin’ with. Now, they’re far bigger maps with mountains and oceans and lakes and more in the way of everything. But you need to keep your city sustainable, you need to be able to build all you want to build! Well, there are now bridges for crossing water, tunnels for going through mountains, gondolas for reaching higher plateaus, ports that transport goods between your islands, and public transportation that’s gotten an overhaul.
Before, you basically only had the metro station and the car garages to provide your Tropicans with any sort of transport of their own. With the game being much larger now, you’re going to need to have them cross the map to get to where they want to be faster, no? Can’t have them dawdling, they need to work! And sleep, I guess.
But with these additions to the transportation, the possibilities you’ll have for buildings really changes. Before, I wouldn’t even bother building in some spot far away that’s closed off by a mountain. What good is building a road or some sort of port system when I can focus on the mainland? Now, you’ll easily be able to build some lifts to get people to a higher spot or tunnels to make them go right on through them. It not only opens up the possibilities for players, it also allowed the developers to get creative with how the maps players play on will look.
Oh, and for those that played and miss Tropico 2, pirates have made it back to the gameplay in their own unique way. Instead of trading for goods, why not plunder? You can send off pirate ships on raids to get different goods or even World Wonders. It’s pretty awesome to see the Taj Mahal right on your island. And, of course, they provide boosts in tourism and revenue for that industry. I was told that sending ships off on raids won’t be as simple as just pressing a button and seeing the results after time, rather, there will be things the player will need to accomplish to make sure it’s a success. While I didn’t see what they meant, it sounds a bit like you’ll need to complete demands and requests maybe that have to do with the raid in order to ensure it succeeds.
A lot of Tropico 6 ultimately looks like it’s certainly a sequel to the series. When I asked the representative whether or not the succession line is back, though, he said it wasn’t. Which, if anyone’s played the fifth iteration of the series, you can kind of just be glad it’s not, right? It was pretty bland as a mechanic, and if they’re trying to make the game solid, having such a large, useless part would continue to bog it down.
Other than that, though, it looks like fans of the series will have something new to get really excited about. There are still plenty of buildings (with new ones on the way, primarily in regards to tourism and transport), a lot of edicts, and different ways to be the kind of dictator or president that you want to be.
One funny little scenario that the representative told me about involved enacting an Open Borders policy, signing the Penal Colony edict so that people immigrating to your island had a 300% chance of being a criminal and you’d get $300 a month, putting a bunch of police stations and prisons to keep the criminals off the street, and then putting them to work in the prisons so that each inmate grants $100 a month for simply existing on your island. While we’ll have to wait a while for the release of Tropico 6, possibilities like that really get me excited, and the fact that they’re actively listening to what fans want is something everyone can agree is positive.