'Tropico 6' Ditches Dynasty System, Beta Coming in 2018

I have been a fan of the Tropico franchise for a long time. I fell in love with Tropico 3 's simplified sim building mechanics and its lighthearted take on full-on dictatorships. I tend to lean towards the benevolent side of the scale, but I've never been above imprisoning a political dissident or three. It still ranks among my favorite franchises because it feels like each new version is aimed at making the experience better, but not fundamentally different. And the Tropico 6 preview on display at GDC 2018 is no exception.

tropico 6 beach
Your idyllic banana republic awaits. Kalypso Media

The biggest change coming to Tropico 6 is a reversal on the biggest change from Tropico 5 : the dynasty system. In the previous game, players would manage a lineage based off of El Presidente's family. Each ruler had a specific trait (see: bonuses) that impacted your banana republic in a variety of ways. Cultivating a successor often meant placing family members in odd jobs around the island, be it a factory foreman or head of a university, but more often than not players would lose track of who was where and played through their games with little to no change at the top. It was an ambitious idea, but didn't really work as intended.

Tropico 6 rectifies this. El Presidente remains ruler of the island empire now and forever (suspend your disbelief across his exceptional lifespan). Instead of customizing a dynasty, players can customize El Presidente himself. Unfortunately, those features were not on display at GDC 2018; instead, the devs at Kalypso showed off some of the new Presidential Palace customization options awaiting fans. In short, you can add lots of cool stuff to the mansion and, for the first time in franchise history, relocate it to a different spot on the island. This is a huge improvement, as so much activity is centered around the palace in the early game that the real estate becomes quite valuable later on. Being able to add schools or housing in the busiest district is much, much better than having a palace that does next to nothing.

The other big improvement that should excite longtime fans is the addition of water-based transportation. The backbone of the Tropico economy is delivering goods and services across your island. Previously, this was only done with trucks. Now, Kalypso has added boats to the mix, so you don't always have to build long, winding roads to remote resources like mines and logging camps. Instead, your teamsters can head to a nearby dock and ferry their cargo wherever they need to, adding a fantastic visual feel to the game. Seeing fleets of skiffs zipping around the pristine bays conveys a sense that the island is alive and humming with commerce. And less congestion on the roads means less onerous city planning, too.

Tropico 6 also doubles down on the ridiculousness that has become a hallmark of the franchise. The tongue-in-cheek humor is back (as is everyone's favorite presidential assistant, Penultimo) alongside a new heist mechanic designed to make your island a true presence on the world stage … by robbing it. Ambitious El Presidentes will have the opportunity to steal 17 different global landmarks in Tropico 6, from the Eiffel Tower to Easter Island to the White House.

Tropico6 eiffel tower
Hijack world monuments to give your island a bit more panache. Kalypso Media

These heists require some high-level play, with specialized buildings, units and research points all factors for success. Each landmark also adds unique bonuses to your island, so choose carefully. There is also considerable fallout from global superpowers too, so you might make some powerful enemies to satisfy your vanity. But isn't that what being a great dictator is all about?

Tropico 6 is still in pre-alpha development but scheduled for a full release later this year. A beta will also take place ahead of launch, with releases planned for PC, Xbox One and PS4.

'Tropico 6' Ditches Dynasty System, Beta Coming in 2018 | Gaming