Tropico 6: Expanding El Presidente's Empire at GDC 2018

The Tropico series is back and this time, El Presidente is expanding his rule across a full island archipelago.


El Presidente has kept a tight grip on his empire over the years. It's been enough to help keep the Tropico series running strong for five installments. But the empire is about to expand for Tropico 6, with Kalypso Media and Limbic Entertainment opting to stretch the lovable dictator's rule across new horizons.

Shacknews recently had the opportunity to look at a preview build for the city-building simulator during this year's Game Developer's Conference. The first thing we noticed is that the empire has grown. For one thing, the player's banana republic is no longer restricted to a single area.

Now players will be in charge of a full island archipelago. They'll not only place buildings along the main island, but they'll also manage lesser surrounding islands. But while these islands are less inhabited, they are no less important. That's because these will often be islands filled with resources for the mainland, meaning players will be sending citizens out there to work during the day. That means the implementation of water-based transportation, which is among several new transportation options in Tropico 6 to help alleviate traffic issues.

The other thing to note is that the Dynasty system from Tropico 5 appears to be no more. The one and only ruler of the land will be El Presidente, now and forever, barring any unforeseen election losses, revolutions, or other hostile takeovers. In fact, El Presidente can rule from anywhere, with Tropico 6 adding the ability to move the Presidential Palace anywhere on the map. Want that beachfront property? Then the option is there to take eminent domain to its most extreme measure. This is among several new customization options that will be available for the Presidential Palace.

But players should be careful not to make El Presidente too unpopular. If citizens are too unhappy, they'll make their displeasure known at the polls. It's best to keep the populace happy, either by providing things they want or by wandering outside the palace to make the occasional propaganda speech. Is that speech filled with exagerrations and lies? That remains to be seen. Of course, there's always the option to be a true dictator and just do away with elections entirely. Although that might cause angry mobs, so maybe consider avoiding this direction.

If players want a quick way to placate their populace, how about some new tourist attractions? It's a little hard to come up with new landmarks on a random island, so perhaps El Presidente can borrow someone else's. One new feature of Tropico 6 allows players to outright steal entire landmarks from other countries. These are often delicate operations that require special forces, heavy research, and years of execution. That's time mostly used to train those special forces, as well as distracting the target nation. (Which has to be the longest "Hey, look over there!" ever.)

That's just the beginning for Tropico 6, with the game set to include a few other features that Shacknews was unable to check out at the show. The main one includes four-player competitive and cooperative play, which will see friends competiting to raise the best banana republic or cooperating to help each other thrive. There's no release date for the city-builder just yet, but look for it to hit PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One before the end of 2018.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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