PC Gamer

It’s December, and although the pro Dota scene has been steadily recovering from the post-International hiatus, the rust still hasn’t quite come off. Now, just as your pub games are starting to go stale, the light is about to burst out from behind the clouds. Ladies and gentlemen, the Boston Major is almost upon us. Here’s what you need to know about the competitors.

THE DIRECT INVITES

Wings Gaming 

If you asked me who Wings Gaming were this time last year, my answer would have been ‘I think I’ve heard of them’. Since then the Chinese team have become powerhouses and the winners of this year’s International. International Winners in the past have almost always been pretty terrible in the months after the tournament ends, but not Wings. 

They’ll be charging into the Boston Major with wins at the Nanyang Championships and the Northern BEAT Arena under their belt. Their strengths lie in their drafts and the sheer amount of trust the players have in each other. Expect mad picks, mad low percentage plays and a 'go hard or go home' style of Dota. They are very capable of winning the Boston Major.

Digital Chaos 

Digital Chaos gave us one of the greatest stories in pro Dota 2 ever. This band of rejects put together a monumental TI run this year which saw them finish the tournament in second place. They draft unpredictably and play unpredictably too, making them a nightmare to come up against. Captain Misery is a veteran of the scene, and despite not even wanting to take up captaincy, he’s proved himself to be one of the best.

Add to that explosive young core players w33haa and Resolut1on, erratic offlaner MoonMeander and stable support Saksa and you've got a recipe for success. After such a great year, offlaner MoonMeander was surprisingly kicked from OG and picked up by DC. This has definitely sparked a rivalry between OG and Moon, who will be looking to get his own back for what he’ll consider an undeserved dismissal.

OG 

OG are the team that I thought were going to win TI6. Cohesion issues within OG appeared to hamper their form at The International, which saw them place a lot lower than people were expecting.

That’s in the past, however, and OG are back with a new team. Best buds n0tail and Fly have put together another strong looking Dota 2 squad, losing Cr1t, Miracle and MoonMeadner while picking up Jerax, s4 and relatively unknown midlaner Ana. 

Their philosophy remains unchanged from last year. It’s the same brand of Dota, just with different pieces—expect exemplary team fight coordination and a mid laner that can completely take over a game. OG could well make up for their poor TI showing, following their second place finish at the Summit.

Evil Geniuses 

After finishing in third place at the International and winning it the previous year, you wouldn't expect the EG line-up to have changed much since TI6. Two players have been swapped out, however, and while that doesn't seem like many, those two were EG's soul.

Captain PPD was replaced by Cr1t, who left OG in search of greener pastures, and Mr EG himself old man Fear was replaced by Arteezy (yes, this is his third time joining EG). Winning one LAN and placing third in another, they’re certainly in good stead for the upcoming major. EG and NP have been building up a rivalry over the past few weeks which we could see develop further in Boston.

Newbee 

Newbee are looking very different to the team that attended TI6. They have three new faces, two of whom I'd never heard of before they joined the squad. I think Newbee have the potential to surprise at this event. Both Sccc and uuu9 rank at around the 9k MMR mark, which is nothing to be scoffed at. If they've used their two months away from competitive Dota improving their teamwork, they could do well.

Also joining the team is Faith, who won TI2 all those years ago with IG. Having a TI winner in your squad can't hurt. Right?

EHOME

EHOME are a mixture of scene veterans and a few newcomers. LaNm, who started his Dota 2 career there way back when, and old chicken, who has played for EHOME for his year or so in Dota 2. They lost iceiceice after TI6 and replaced him with well known carry player Sylar.

EHOME always seem to get the title of 'outside favourites' as everyone that knows they can do extremely well in any tournament they're part of. A major issue for them is consistency, especially at Valve hosted events. Winning a load of the smaller competitions is nice and all, but we all know what the real aim is. I don’t think EHOME will win, but you don’t get labeled ‘outside favourites’ at almost every single tournament you attend for no reason.

MVP Phoenix 

MVP Phoenix play Dota the way you wish you could play Dota. I don't think MVP are actually capable of playing in a conventional way. They just run at you! I don't really know what else to say. It's so simple, but also so incredibly entertaining to watch. It doesn't matter where they are, they will kill you. Underneath tier four towers, doesn't matter, surrounded by the rest of your team, doesn't matter—I think the only place on the map off limits for MVP is the enemy fountain, and even that's debatable.

When they get it right it's unbelievable to watch and they can definitely beat anyone. With Forev recently rejoining after a short, unsuccessful stint with Team Secret, their chances at the Major have definitely gone up.

QUALIFIED TEAMS

Team NP

Team NP were born out of the ashes of the North American scene. EternaLEnVy and Aui_2000, two very established and successful players, created the team in the September after TI6. At the start no one gave Envy and his rag-tag band of North American rejects much of a chance, but oh how they have proved everyone wrong.

They stormed their way through the Boston Major US qualifiers, through the Summit 6 qualifiers and through the ESL One qualifiers (beating Complexity each time). They've placed well in every LAN they've attended. Their extremely efficient farming, good team communication and occasional hilarious misplays all make for entertaining Dota.

compLexity Gaming

Complexity Gaming, or coL, got through to the wildcards of 2016's International, but ended up going out to Execration when they stupidly allowed Meepo through the pool: a Meepo played by a guy with a competitive win rate on the hero of over 90%.

Since then coL are looking a little different. Gone are Swedes Chessie, Limmp and Handsken, in their places are mid laner canceL^^, monkeys-forever offlane and Moo, who has taken up the role of carry. Moo feels he was unfairly kicked from Digital Chaos, and absolutely has a point to prove against his old team.

Oh yeah, and Swindlemelonzz had dropped the 'Swindle' part of his name. He's just melonzz now, dunno why. Just really likes fruit I guess.

LGD.Forever Young

LGD.Forever Young are a sort of spin off from LGD Gaming. The team was formed by Dota 2 veterans xiao8 and Yao after TI6. They won the Chinese qualifiers for the Boston Major, and did so in style, not dropping a single game in the playoffs.

Because of visa issues, support player lpc and exciting young carry player Monet won’t be able to play in the major. Instead LGD.Forever Young will be replacing them with ddc and END of Vici Gaming. Two players, who could very well improve LGD.FY with the amount of big tournament experience they have. They know what it takes to win at an event like this one.

iG Vitality

Another Chinese spin off team—they really seem to love them. iG Vitality are, as their name suggests, a pretty young Dota team. They're made up of a number of Chinese players who were on the fringes of competitive Dota. They'll come into the Boston Major with a point to prove. After finishing second in a Chinese qualifier bracket that included big teams like LGD Gaming, Vici Gaming and CDEC, they have potential. Young, relatively unknown Chinese teams have shown us in the past they can be a force to be reckoned with (see also: Wings) so keep an eye on this lot.

Due to visa issues, both captain super and support player dogf1ghts are unable to attend the Boston Major and will be replaced by Burning and Q from the main iG squad.

Ad Finem

I'm a big fan of Ad Finem. They're a team from Greece that formed mid 2015 and have stuck together ever since. They aren't the greatest Dota 2 team in the world, but they have played at a lot of major LAN events where they have done respectably well. They are always super entertaining to watch. In the tournaments where they've been up against the larger teams, they've always ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack.

What's great about watching Ad Finem is the symbiotic relationship between their players. They always seem to know what each other are thinking, which in a game like Dota is incredibly important. I don't think they'll win the Major, but they're a team that can certainly cause upsets along the way.

Virtus.Pro

As the only CIS team at the Boston Major, the expectations of an entire region rest on Virtus Pro's shoulders. But these are very strong shoulders. Virtus Pro finished second in the European qualifiers to Ad Finem. They struggled in their first playoff series vs Liquid and dropped down to the losers bracket, but managed to turned it around and qualified for the Major.

VP look unstoppable at the moment. They’ve recently won The Summit 6, pretty much without any competition, destroying OG 3-0 in a best out of five final. And in the same tournament they actually beat Wings 2-0,  and you don't just beat Wings. Especially not two games to none. 

They are an embodiment of CIS-style Dota, playing aggressively in the early game, choking enemy teams out using heroes like Chen and Enchantress perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Virtus Pro win the Major.

Team Faceless

After an average performance at TI6 with EHOME, offlaner iceiceice decided to part ways with the organisation and move back to his home country Singapore. He formed Team Faceless during that time, and they have been dominating the South East Asia region since. They’ve finished first in four tournament qualifiers since they formed, including the SEA qualifiers for the Boston Major. Iceiceice and his team have been establishing themselves as top dogs in that part of the globe.

Iceiceice and mid laner Jabz bring bucket loads of flair to the team, which is music to the ears of German carry player Black^. He gladly uses the space those two provide him to farm more efficiently than almost any other pro player. They've proved themselves in South East Asia, so how about the world?

WarriorsGaming.Unity 

A professional team from Malaysia, WarriorsGaming finished second in the SEA region's Boston Major qualifiers. Like Faceless, they have been doing really well within their own region. The Boston Major is now giving them a chance to prove their worth on an international stage.

Their players won't be used to playing Dota in other regions and playing against the different styles and challenges each team poses. This could work in their favour though. A small, fairly unknown SEA team coming to a Valve event and wiping the floor with a bigger, unprepared team—sound familiar? Think TNC vs OG at this year's International. Core players Ahjit and NaNa are capable of flashy plays and carrying games when they need to, but can they do it on the big stage?

LGD Gaming

Lucky, lucky LGD. They didn't originally qualify, finishing third in the Chinese qualifiers. Now, due to Execration's visa issues they've been chosen to replace them at the Boston Major.

They seem to be the best choice. Captain Maybe led LGD through the round robin stage of qualification with only one loss in nine games. They then lost 2-1 to iG Vitality in the lower bracket final. The new look team includes Xz, a player who finished second with CDEC at TI5, Maybe, an incredibly talented midlaner who has always been the team's real playmaker, and three younger players who have been promoted up from various youth squads.

PC Gamer

For every brilliant fan-made project that borrows ideas and/or traits from popular licensed games, there are as many cease and desist copyright orders from big budget publishers that follow. This year alone has seen Nintendo step in on that really good Metroid II remake and No Mario's Sky, while Samsung wasn't exactly happy with the modders who mocked its ill-fated Note 7 handset. 

DoomRL—the free fan-made roguelike Doom spin-off that was launched in 2002—has now fallen foul of ZeniMax's legal remit it seems, with the id Software owner issuing a legal letter to creator Kornel Kisielewicz. "So... Zenimax have just written to me demanding I take down the DoomRL site," Kisielewicz said last night via Twitter, alongside a copy of ZeniMax's letter.

As you can see, ZeniMax writes: "This unauthorised use of ZeniMax's intellectual property falsely suggests ZeniMax's sponsorship or endorsement of your website. This practice infringes on ZeniMax's exclusive intellectual property rights." The publisher then suggests its trademark be removed from meta tags, keywords and media.  

While no one expects big budget publishers to advocate for projects, big or small, without receiving something in return nowadays, the context of this case makes it more peculiar than most. For one, DoomRL has existed for almost 15 years without issue and has always made clear its influence—I also don't imagine anyone would opt for a free fan-made ASCII-inspired roguelike over the real thing. ZeniMax has also publicly vouched for Brutal Doom—another fan-made project—however it's worth noting this is a mod for something they actually own.    

Perhaps the tipping point here is Kornel Kisielewicz's involvement with Jupiter Hell—a "turn-based sci-fi roguelike" inspired by DoomRL and Doom itself that's in the middle of a live Kickstarter campaign. It bills itself as an "RPG with modern 3D graphics, by the creator of D**m, the Roguelike"—the stars, I believe, having been added following ZeniMax's approach. 

Assuming it's seen through to completion, Kisielewicz serves to profit from Jupiter Hell which may be why ZeniMax has now chosen to intervene.

PC Gamer

Hot on the heels of its Lost Morsel DLC, Kitchen catastrophe simulator Overcooked will launch a free Christmas-themed expansion next week. 

Dubbed a "festive feast of holiday-themed extra content" Overcooked's Festive Seasoning DLC adds a range of goodies to the cooperative couch cook 'em up. There's a new winter-kissed world map, for example, which adds a snowmobile for easier/life threatening navigation. There's also two new unlockable chefs—the snowman and the reindeer—who can be adorned with Santa hats; and there's two new recipes for serving—the turkey dinner and the stew. 

A new Winter Lodge theme boasts eight new co-op levels; and, to top all of this off, the new expansion adds a new utensil: the flamethrower. As if fumbling around Overcooked's hazard-ridden kitchens wasn't dangerous enough. 

Here's the latest expansion in practice by way of moving pictures:

Overcooked's Festive Seasoning DLC will be available as a free download on December 6. Until then, here's Tom's review of the base game—which he described as "one of the most fun and challenging local co-op games ever made." Should it tickle your fancy, it's available to buy via the Humble Store for £12.99/$16.99. 

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info. 

PC Gamer

That Dragon, Cancer, a game created by Ryan and Amy Green that documents their young son Joel's struggle with terminal illness, won the Games For Impact award at The Game Awards tonight, in honor of "a thought-provoking game with a profound pro-social message or meaning." Accepting the award, Ryan Green gave a heart-wrenching speech about the effort that went into making the game, and the important role that games can play in our everyday lives. 

"Often in videogames we get to choose how we're seen. Our avatars and our tweets and the work that we do are all meant to portray the story that we want to tell the world about why our lives matter. But sometimes a story is written onto us, or is told because of us, or in spite of us. And it reveals our weaknesses, our failures, our hopes, and our fears," Green said. 

"You let us tell the story of my son Joel. And in the end, it was not the story we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us through our grief by being willing to stop, and to listen, and to not turn away. To let my son Joel's life change you, because you chose to see him, and to experience how we loved him. And I would hope that when we are all willing to see each other, not for just who we want to be, but who we are, and who we're meant to be, this act of love and this act of grace can change the world." 

Joel Green died on March 13, 2014, at the age of five. 

PC Gamer

The first trailer for Shovel Knight's next campaign, Specter of Torment, appeared at the Game Awards tonight. Like the previous update, Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment will come as a free update. Check out the trailer above to see former adversary Specter Knight's moves in action.

Specter of Torment is set to release in the spring, and will be followed at some point by one more campaign, which will star King Knight.

PC Gamer

Just announced at The Game Awards, Starbase Arc, a free new arena is coming to Rocket League on December 7th. It's set, obviously, in space on a field orbiting a planet. It looks like something out of Halo, just instead of shooting aliens, you're shooting goals. Utopia, really. 

As with most updates, a new car is also on the way, but you'll have to pay for it. Vulcan is an angular soccer car that transforms into a spaceship, but only in canon. Flying in a match is a major foul. For a better look, watch the trailer above or check out the images of the arena and new car below.

PC Gamer

The Foundation update to No Man's Sky brought a number of big new features to the game, including base building, freighters, the Survival Mode, and stackable inventory items. But one especially interesting feature has gone largely overlooked: The addition of communications terminals that "allow explorers to leave sub-space messages for others to find." 

There was some initial confusion about how, or even if, the new communication devices worked, based on some early messages posted in the No Man's Sky subreddit. But players now have them figured out, and they're currently sharing messages with one another across the cold void of space. The missives are short and sweet, kind of like an intergalactic Twitter: Some of the communications provide directions to significant landmarks, while other simply offer up some variation of "hello."   

Hello Games took a big hit for promising, and then not delivering, the ability for players to meet each other in the game. And this obviously isn't the same thing, but like the Foundation update itself, it's a step in the right direction. Regardless of what you think about No Man's Sky, it is undeniably a vast and sprawling game. Amidst all that, I think that stumbling on proof that you're really not alone out there would make for a very cool moment indeed. Quite whether that quells all the angry spacefarers out there is another matter.

More images of the new messaging devices in action can be seen on imgur.

PC Gamer

Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of being in the same room as Eric Barone, creator of Stardew Valley, and Yasuhiro Wada, creator of the Harvest Moon series and the upcoming Birthdays the Beginning. The two developers had never met before, and came together to play each other's games for the first time, then chat—farm game maker to farm game maker. 

Afterwards, I sat down with both of them to talk farming inspiration, Japanese releases on PC, and how making games has changed since the first Harvest Moon. You can watch the video above to hear that conversation.

When I spoke to Barone back in March, he told me Stardew Valley actually started out as a Harvest Moon clone to teach himself how to code in C#, before it slowly evolved into what it is today. Barone said he had "grown up spending countless hours playing Harvest Moon and [is] a huge Harvest Moon fan," but that he could never find a suitable substitute on PC. So he made his own.

Watching him meet Wada, the man who created his inspiration, was a fun moment. Both developers had such a clear respect for what the other had done. Though Wada and the Harvest Moon series are legendary at this point, Stardew Valley has now sold close to two million copies since its release in February, making it a massive success of its own. 

Our conversation also revealed that Barone is facing some of the same struggles Wada faced with the original Harvest Moon 20 years ago. Localization can be time consuming and difficult for a small team. It was a limiting factor in Harvest Moon's early days (and resulted in some infamous translation goofs), and is a problem Barone is currently working through. The two developers also both found success around the age of 27, and Barone joked that he feels like he may be following in Wada's footsteps.

This meeting, along with our first face-to-face meeting as PAX West, reaffirmed my appreciation and amazement at how humble Barone has stayed in the face of overwhelming and unexpected success. He's truly a class act, and has continued to support what is already a great game. It also got me more excited than I expected to be for Wada's next game, Birthdays the Beginning—a god game that should feel right at home on PC, and has very little in common with Minecraft despite the deceptively similar graphics. 

PC Gamer

At the risk of sounding like I'm in a support group: I am autistic and I play Dota 2. Unfortunately, from my experience, the Dota 2 community has a poor understanding of autism. I can't count the number of times I've seen 'autist' used as an insult. I recognise that there is always going to be an element of any online community that will refuse to change, but I'd like to take this opportunity to give a bit of information to the rational majority.

To put it in the most general terms, autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It affects how you experience the world and interact with it. Your senses can be over-sensitive, or under-sensitive, and social interaction can be challenging. Your brain is wired differently from most people, and also from other autistic people—nobody is autistic in the same way. Autistic people make up at least 1% of the population, so you will have probably met somebody with the condition. You have almost certainly played an online video game with an autistic person.

Indeed, anecdotally it seems that autism is rather well represented in online and tech communities. Computers are easier than people, more predictable. This is not to say that I don't desire social contact, but I find it difficult to navigate social situations with ease. I just need a little more time and solitude to recover from heavy socialising. Having an environment where communication is usually limited to the rules of a game is a release.

Having an environment where communication is usually limited to the rules of a game is a release.

It's hard for me to put my thoughts into words quickly. When playing Dota, I can recognise when a hero has moved out of position and that now is the time to gank, but organising my mouth to say “ATTACK NOW!” takes longer. I tend to communicate using the chat wheel, with pre-set phrases, and by pinging the map. I am thankful there is a system set up that allows me to talk to my team-mates without having to use voice chat.

I don't speak much even when playing with friends. I tend to interrupt them, as it's a struggle to tell when it's my turn in a conversation. I stammer and fumble trying to express myself, especially when I'm concentrating on something else—for example, last-hitting, or micro-managing units. However, I am perfectly capable of understanding what other people are saying, and I enjoy doing my best to be a team player. 

Autism is not a learning disability, though some autistic people may also have one or more of those. Autism is commonly associated with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia—that is, problems with reading, writing and movement. I am clumsy, and have accidentally attempted to teleport back to base in the middle of teamfights multiple times in the past. However, I don't have a learning disability myself—it's more like I have a deficiency in common sense.

It is incorrect to call an autistic person a 'retard', and the word 'autist' isn't used by anybody in real life. Even my spell-checker says that it's not a real word. Incidentally, and I know I'm not going to be the first to say this, but please don't call players 'retards'. I've met wonderful people with learning disabilities, and they don't deserve to be brought down to the level of those who choose to jungle Legion Commander. 

Being autistic does come with benefits, however. I can hyper-concentrate on a game when I am not interrupted. It's like the game becomes my world and I'm able to devote my entire attention to it. This is a common trade-off with autism: extreme-focus in exchange for multi-tasking. 

I also have a rather good memory for trivia. This is important, as Dota and other competitive games tend to build up entire libraries of situational facts and unusual interactions. How is Sven's cleave affected by armour? Damage block still works, but the cleave damage is not reduced by how much armour you have. I admit, it's a fringe case, but we all know in the long run everything matters. I always try to learn more, so I'm not caught out. I don't know everything and I get facts wrong on occasion, but I have a drive to better my knowledge.

To my knowledge, autism has never been professionally diagnosed on account of a Twitch stream.

Based on what I've just said, you might be thinking “I know a pro-player who must be autistic!” Please, don't. Every autistic person is different, and autism is far more than a collection of tics and idiosyncrasies. The chances are good that you are not an expert in neurology, and seeing a player being awkward in an interview is not sufficient for you to diagnose them. You're just adding to a stereotypical perception of autism that you've seen on TV. This is a genuine disability that can profoundly affect your existence, and requires a qualified professional to examine essentially your entire life history with you and your family. To my knowledge, autism has never been professionally diagnosed on account of a Twitch stream.

I would not be surprised at all if there were prominent players or personalities who are autistic. Indeed, I'd love it if somebody went public and became a role model, but it would be their choice to do so. Discovering you are autistic can be intensely private, and I would not want to throw it around like a Pudge hook. Unless I knew somebody well personally, I would not attempt to talk about their potential autism, and I certainly would not do so in public.

It's too easy to be lazy in the language you use. Competitive gaming is fighting into the mainstream, so it's pointless to isolate and shrink our community with insults and ignorance. I'm not saying you have to like everyone, or like how everyone plays the game, but a little understanding and care makes our world a better place and makes us all better players. We can still have fun, and make jokes, and laugh—because no matter what, you suck if you jungle Legion Commander. Kappa.

PC Gamer

Norra Djurgårdstaden is an area in central Stockholm that’s currently undergoing substantial urban redevelopment. The Swedish Building Service, Svensk Byggtjänst, has partnered with city officials and, with a focus on long-term sustainability, the on-going initiative plans to add 12,000 new homes and 35,000 workspaces to the region in a bid to offset its ever-increasing population. How does this relate to the world of videogames? City-building simulator Cities: Skylinesis at the forefront of the project. 

By simulating real-life environments and scenarios in-game, Paradox and Colossal Order’s city-builder is being used by real-world city planners to explore ways to support the needs of the new district’s residents. “Norra Djurgårdstaden is seeking new ways of engaging people that are normally not involved in the discussions of the future of our city, and how to plan for its desired direction,” says project director Staffan Lorentz. “Games can be an entry port for a new group having a real say and having new ways of looking at things.”

That’s where Cities: Skylines comes in. By way of three weekend-long workshops, Stockholm city officials have joined Swedish Building Service representatives, Paradox and Colossal Order developers, and members of the public to discuss how the proposed district will look and function once development is complete. Special considerations such as environmental schemes to reduce fossil fuel consumption and the installation of surplus cycle lanes and public transport routes have been flagged as top priority, thus these scenarios have been applied and tested in-game to see how they might play out in reality.

As such, the district in its entirety has been mapped out both via a scaled physical model and within Cities: Skylines—with city planners applying and reapplying digital iterations of the area following visits to and from the real-world building site itself. Without prior training, technical blueprints mean very little to the average citizen. Therefore the point of the coinciding workshops is to showcase the scheme in earnest—fully realised in three dimensions against relatable surroundings—which in turn serves to help the learning process.

“I think the most exciting part about all of this is that it isn’t just a PR stunt,” says Paradox’s COO Susana Meza. “Actually, people are genuinely wanting to solve some of the problems and issues that might arise when city planning in this day and age, but also innovate around it. The fact they have the people who’re are actually making the decisions, sitting on the budget, involved in this and using a new medium I think is extremely cool—but also brave.” 

Using games as a public consultation tool is something the Swedish Building Service is already familiar with, having collaborated with Mojang and the United Nations in 2012. Named Block By Block, this project was a similar city-building scheme that used Minecraft to encourage fresh perspectives and helped citizens have a say in the reconstruction process of their own neighbourhoods. The Norra Djurgårdstaden project, on the other hand, operates on a grander scale and therefore marks a more sophisticated collaboration between city development and videogames. 

Yet Cities: Skylines in its vanilla state isn’t without its limitations, and to this end renowned Cities modder Alexander Oberroither was flown in from Austria to attend the last workshop. Here, he explained how the game might better portray reality with the use of additional user-made mods beyond the base game. “I see potential in Cities: Skylines being used for a lot of different things in real life, and this workshop fulfilled its purpose in allowing us to find out which direction the project is going,” says Oberroither. “I really enjoyed my three days [taking part]. I learned a lot and I hope that I can make use of it when I start studying spatial planning at the university in October.”

In light of the most recent workshop, the Swedish Building Service plans to review its findings and decide how Cities: Skylines can best be used in pushing the project forward. When the time comes, no matter how close the game’s interpretation is to the project’s final incarnation, the ways in which Cities: Skylines has been used to help visualise proposals, discuss city functions, and, ultimately, design buildings is quite remarkable and is something which could pave the way for similar ventures down the line. 

“I think that today most people have an association with games, be that yourself or your kids playing with them, most people are exposed to games in one way or another,” adds Meza. “As such, it’s a super powerful medium to do something more beyond providing entertainment. I think we’ve just scraped the surface. Games are something everyone is talking about now—we have every possibility to make an impact.”

In the case of Norra Djurgårdstaden, its residents are the ones who’ll be impacted the most. “Engaging citizens is part of the future,” says Norra Djurgårdstaden local Ann Edberg. “It’s fantastic to be able to participate in the creation of a new part of Stockholm during its development process, rather than just experience it once it’s done.”

Photos for this feature by Pelle Jansson/Cowmob Photography.

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