Tropico is one of those games with enough uniqueness and personality and shares just enough kinship with SimCity that it's hard to not be won over by its charm. We were able to exchange a few questions with Bisser Dyankov, Political Liaison of El Presidente, Haemimont Games to see where the latest Tropico title is headed and what's in store for island dictators, old and new.
1. Tropico 4 looks a lot like Tropico 3 in many ways, which itself was both a reboot and technology upgrade for the series. What are some of the gameplay features unique to Tropico 4?
The player is now no longer restrained by the resources on the current island. Raw materials, luxury goods and of course, food can be now imported in Tropico. This allows for radically different society and industry structure. El Presidente can also receive offers to establish private industries on the islands.
The political factions are now even more outspoken. They have their own agenda and demands from El Presidente, and permanent representatives to push for their own goals.
Numerous foreign nations now have taken an interest in Tropico. Now it's not just the two Superpowers, but also China, EU and the Arab league that want the attention of El Presidente. He can juggle between those foreigners to achieve his goals.
There are also interactive disasters – such as oil spills, volcanoes and hurricanes, all of which you’ll need to respond to appropriately to keep the citizens happy, and keep your economy (and Swiss bank account) flourishing.
2. Can you give us a few examples of the type of campaign mission objectives this time around?
The new campaign now tells a coherent story which overarches all the 20 missions. El Presidente is, of course, the central figure, yet several other characters - or adversaries - also take their part - the secret KGB agent with codename "Sasha", the elderly lord Chuffney and the rebel legend Marco Moreno (The Flame of La Revolucion!). They all have their own agenda and are after their own goals.
The specific objectives themselves are funny in their very Tropican way - El Presidente will become "The Most Awesome Person in the World", steal the Olympics and even move his island to avoid a nuclear missile strike!
3. Tropico's focus has always been on growing your island economy while maintaining power over the people while international politics always felt peripheral. Are there any new ways to interact internationally and dealing with the world's super powers?
El Presidente now has more partners in the international stage (including China and the Middle East). Tropico will enjoy favorable trading with partners throughout the world, suffer embargoes and even receive camels as personal gifts to El Presidente! The UN will also play a distinctive new role in the campaign.
4. Can you tell us how disasters are handled? Are there ways to mitigate them? Can you ask other nations for disaster relief?
Oil spills, volcanoes, tornadoes, tsunamis and good old earthquakes and llama flu epidemics are all lining up to hit Tropico one after another. El Presidente will be able to choose different approaches to dealing with disasters, or even preventing and mitigating them if the Tropico weathermen are true in their forecasts. Not to mention dealing with the stranded oil tanker in the middle of the city...
5. Are there any new construction tools for building your island? New building types or structures that we haven't seen before? (ie. Terraforming?)
Tropico 4 features a comprehensive map a mission editor that allows terraforming of the island, creating and sharing complex custom challenges. So yes, you can make a custom island and change the map landscape and resources with the mission editor.
Terraforming is not available during actual mission play, but you have the new option for quick construction that allows finish your urgent constructions almost instantly. This action is costly and should be used sparingly, especially without a strong economy to back it up.
6. Will there be more options to customize our El Presidente?
Of course! There is a more detailed trait system for the upcoming political season as well as several new costumes and accessories for various special editions of the game.
7. How does the Social networking aspect work in Tropico 4?
By spreading the word and image of El Presidente far and wide! The player will be able to inform his Twitter followers on his achievements, mission successes and in-game events like rebel attacks, which, of course, officially never happen in sunny and peaceful Tropico. El Presidente will even be able to share images from Tropico to his friends on Facebook.
8. What do you think a SimCity player would like most about Tropico 4!
Tropico 4 remains at its core a city builder game with the fundamental basics to balance population size, people's needs, economy, income and growth.
The SimCity player will surely enjoy the macro level of Tropico 4 - housing and economy, crime and pollution management, power consumption and power grid construction, as well as the roads and the transportation system.
Last but not least, the unique political aspect and the struggle to remain in power in Tropico will encourage the SimCity player to consider all the above known elements from a new perspective.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!