Your Best-Laid Plans Won't Work in Tropico 5

It's time to odd out the evens.

The life of El Presidente just got a lot more complicated. The days of starting up Tropico, surveying your island in 20 minutes or less, and executing some game-winning strategy are over. In Tropico 5, everything is connected--from the salary of a lowly dock worker all the way up to the state of international relations. These connections form a web of intrigue that is besieged by problems at home and abroad. The hope is that this constant ebb and flow of island politics will force players to be constantly reevaluating their leadership style, as opposed to the stringent strategies of other empire management games, such as Sid Meier's Civilization V. Being a successful dictator means manipulating any situation to your advantage, even if it means completely reinventing your empire along the way.

According to series producer Bisser Dyankov, Tropico 5 is designed to be much denser than its predecessors. Your citizens are at the heart of everything; they're the lifeblood of your island. You need them to grow your empire, and they need you to make them happy. Of course, one man's happiness is another man's frustration. Your islanders may be loyalists or separatists, communists or capitalists, theocrats or bureaucrats--or some mixture thereof. And their allegiances may change depending on the sort of government you run or the buildings you build. In fact, change is one of the few constants your island will enjoy.

Tropico 5's landscape is ever-changing, and no single strategy will carry you across the finish line. Yesterday's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

This roll-with-the-punches style of leadership flies in the face of other strategy games. For example, running a successful empire in Civilization V typically means deciding on a road map before the end of the first turn. Are you going to pursue a cultural victory with the French, or perhaps a domination victory with the Zulu? The challenge is then adhering to this road map as strictly as possible, regardless of what twists and turns the game throws your way. Tropico 5 wants to be the polar opposite with a focus on adaptability and flexibility. Its landscape is ever-changing, and no single strategy will carry you across the finish line. Yesterday's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

Even the role of El Presidente will change from time to time. No man is an island after all, not even the ruler of a tropical paradise. In Tropico 5, members of El Presidente's family earn special skills that can be enhanced using the family's Swiss bank account. When you feel a family member is ready to lead, you can assign him or her as your candidate for the next election. You can also carry over your family from one game of Tropico 5 to another, but only after the previous game is completed. El Presidente's family is talented, but not talented enough to be in several different games simultaneously.

Like previous games, Tropico 5 will have a single-player campaign--one the developers think will rely less on predetermined events and more on naturally occurring chaos through the game's many interconnected systems. If single-player leaves you feeling lonely, you can team up with up to three other players in online multiplayer. You will all receive a spot on the same island and can share services and resources with each other, a la SimCity. Unlike in SimCity, however, you can start bumping borders with your neighbors and, if you're not careful, end up in full-scale island warfare.

Building more docks unlocks more trade ships, which can earn you more cash if you're in good standing with the rest of the world.

Being a successful El Presidente in Tropico 5 means seeing the big picture and understanding how all these different threads connect to one another. An expensive military base may prove to be an invaluable military asset early in the game, only to slip into obsolescence years later before finally being recommissioned as a tourist attraction. Capitalizing on the United States' Prohibition laws by smuggling in a little booze will turn you a handsome profit, but will also attract criminals to your island who could disrupt an already turbulent political climate. On the sun-bleached shores of Tropico, you must be able to see the forest for the palm trees.

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Discussion

25 comments
MigGui
MigGui

that was really needed. tropico 3 was tropico in new colors, and tropico 4 was tropico 3 with a handful more buildings and dozens more DLCs. calypso isn't that much of a developer, and tropico is their greatest asset. if they're aiming in rebuilding a genre that has a king as big as civilization, they must get really over themselves.


i had much fun with the original tropico, but couldn't avoid feeling everything calypso did was give it a new skin. and the game didn't age that well.

sakaixx
sakaixx

tropico dev is so lazy or what xbox 360 but not xbox 1 , playstation 4 but not playstation 3 ? stupid exclusivity 

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

All the hype wont hype because hype. HYPE!....a.k.a. BUY OUR GAME: THE GAME.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

That sounds really awesome. Can't wait to play. :)

Zloth2
Zloth2

Wait, what?  The newer version will be MORE complex than the previous version!?  That's not something you hear very often.

burnettaj
burnettaj

Love the Tropico series. Looking forward to this one. Good article.

Deamon59
Deamon59

awesome, look forward to it

Freedomination
Freedomination

Wish the tropico games where more like junta (the boardgame) and less like sim city. Being an island dictator should be about grabbing money and screwing over political enemies, not creating a highly functioning society :)

Boddicker
Boddicker

More complex = better (usually)


Hopefully this will sell well on consoles and we'll see more strategy games.  Release a first party k/m already Sony/MS!!!!!


A first party flight stick wouldn't be a bad idea either.  *cough* Star Citizen *cough*

iampenguin
iampenguin

Interesting, might be the first strategy game I enjoy playing, will give it a try.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

Your best laid plans didn't work in the older games either, especially T4.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

I never understood how they've managed to simplify all those fun things from Tropico 3 forward in Tropico 4. In T4, the people were just downright lazy no matter how much you paid them, meaning wages had little impact on progress, every idiot wants a church built right next to his house to satisfy his religious needs, and basically no matter how much you tried you could never satisfy anyone, not just some, but anyone. All in an attempt to increase the difficulty is my guess, but it was just downright ridiculous. Even the radio sucked in 4. Hopefully 5 will be a lot better.

sakaixx
sakaixx

Tropico 3 micromanagement is seriously fun so I'm seriously looking forward for this on PC !

Sleepyz
Sleepyz

One of my favorite series and i'm ready for #5. 

Sky_Stifler
Sky_Stifler

Looking forward for this, hopefully it wont be a huge fail like EA City

lightingbeal
lightingbeal

And hopefully unlike Sim city, it wont be broken upon release

hystavito
hystavito

@Boddicker  But how many console gamers want a complex and deep management game or city builder?  I'm not trying to insult the market as mindless or something, but honestly games of that type are pretty niche and consoles are the big massive mainstream of gaming, well maybe mobile is now but you get the idea :).

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@Boddicker I've intentionally been buying console versions of strategy games whenever they come out to lend support...  Just got one of my previously FPS-only friends completely hooked on X-COM, on that note.


Tropico 3 & 4 were great ports, too.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@xsonicchaos  Strange....in my games of Tropico 4 most people were happy. I guess you made something wrong. ;)

Necrotron
Necrotron

@lightingbeal  As long as it's not server side dependent, and always online like Sim City, it will likely be fine, and as far as I've seen Tropico releases haven't been major fails.

hystavito
hystavito

@Necrotron @lightingbeal  But they needed those servers to perform ridiculously complex calculations and such, there's no way it could have been done offline... oh wait :).