Cities Skylines 2: Music

Cities Skylines 2 Mods |

Cities Skylines 2: Music

Jonne Valtonen, a renowned Finnish composer, collaborated with Jani Laaksonen to craft the melodies for Cities: Skylines. We’re thrilled for you to experience his musical genius in Cities: Skylines II. Delving into Jonne’s creative journey, here’s what he shared about his experience:

“After my rewarding collaboration with Jani Laaksonen on the original Cities: Skylines soundtrack, I was approached by Mariina Hallikainen from Colossal Order. She shared the exciting news of a sequel in the works and wondered if I’d be on board to weave magic with music once again. Given my fond memories of our past partnership and the exceptional team at Colossal Order, I didn’t hesitate to jump in.

For the sequel, I was tasked with crafting two specific compositions. The first was meant for the game’s Menu—a tune that encapsulated a light-hearted, unmistakable charm. The second was a more expansive Themes track, harmoniously blending the primary tune with variants tailored for different phases of the day. With early visuals and concept sketches as my inspiration, I set out to echo the essence of city-building in my compositions—symbolizing the patience, evolution, and transformative journey of urban landscapes.

During our review sessions, while one of the melodies I presented struck a chord with the team, they believed it required some fine-tuning. Taking their feedback to heart, I refined the tune—resulting in a more resonant piece that resonated with everyone. What stands out for me when composing a soundtrack is not just crafting a memorable melody but ensuring it has distinct motifs. Such motifs can be interwoven across the entire soundtrack, serving various roles—from accompaniment to rhythmic patterns. This intricate interplay, whether consciously perceived or subtly felt, binds the game experience, bestowing it with a unified narrative essence.”


Originally, our musical approach for Cities: Skylines II mirrored what we did for the inaugural game. I crafted and orchestrated melodies using the Sibelius notation software. Jani Laaksonen, a long-time colleague and fellow composition student, then transformed these scores with sample libraries and adept mixing. By segregating our roles this way, I could concentrate on the music’s progression, while Jani ensured sound perfection through programming and mixing. After a few refinements, the tracks resonated well with everyone.

During our discussions, I mentioned my association with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO) to Mariina. I had recently completed some significant projects for them. The idea of our local, top-notch orchestra contributing to the soundtrack was thrilling! As both I and Jani essentially had the scores ready due to our collaborative method, and with Colossal Order also being based in Tampere, Mariina was quite captivated by the possibility. Regrettably, scheduling conflicts with the TPO prevented this collaboration.

Nevertheless, we remained keen on engaging a real orchestra. Drawing on my extensive European orchestral contacts, we sought an ensemble meeting our budgetary and scheduling needs. Eventually, with producer Thomas Böcker’s assistance, we partnered with Staatskapelle Weimar from Germany, an orchestra boasting rich history and tradition. With the score polished, we shared it with conductor Eckehard Stier and the GENUIN recording group’s Holger Busse, who handled the recording and mixing.

Amid the fluctuating pandemic restrictions affecting concert halls, we were concerned about the feasibility of the recording. Fortunately, conditions stabilized during our scheduled recording time. While I couldn’t personally be in Weimar due to travel restrictions, technology allowed me to be virtually present, offering real-time input via Skype. The experience was akin to being in the studio’s control room. The orchestra’s stellar performance during the one-day recording session left me in awe.

Now, I present these two compositions to you. I’m immensely proud of the effort that went into them and thrilled with the final outcome. The authenticity and warmth exuded by a live orchestra, comprised of over 70 seasoned musicians harmonizing in unison, provide a listening experience that, in my belief, is hard to replicate with sample-based music. Enjoy!


The Menu track begins with a spirited fanfare, soon transitioning to a calm where the subtle patter of woodblocks can be discerned. As the piece advances, the main theme emerges, elegantly conveyed by a clarinet. With each progression, the theme amplifies, introducing solo instruments and expanding in intensity until it culminates in a grand crescendo, with the brass section heralding the main theme in all its splendor. Once the peak is reached, the music gently descends, signaling completion.

Initiating immediately after the game’s launch, this piece serves as the player’s first auditory greeting. Crafting such an introduction requires delicacy; I always lean towards starting subtly, allowing players to delve into the gameplay undistracted if they choose. For those who linger on the menu, the music gradually develops, offering a pleasant, evolving backdrop. While there’s an immediate burst of fanfare upon game start, there’s ample time before the melody asserts itself. The track’s progression is designed to gradually capture more attention, nudging players with a musical prod: dive in and start playing!


The “Themes” composition brings to life three distinct motifs representing various times of the day. Intended not for in-game use but to exhibit varied thematic and textural elements, the piece encapsulates day, evening, and night. It commences with a spirited fanfare, reminiscent of the menu track. Following this, the day theme emerges, gentle and nascent. It’s reminiscent of a fresh dawn, introducing the foundational melodies upon which the rest of the music builds. As the piece unfolds, new instruments join the tapestry, sometimes leading with soloistic flair and at other times blending harmoniously as a collective. After a grand crescendo of the day theme, the ambiance shifts, signaling evening. A slightly enigmatic tone envelops the soundscape, the horn section introducing the evening theme against the deep resonance of the tuba. This phase captures the twilight’s allure. As night descends, the scene transforms again, welcoming a vibrant, festive theme. It’s a celebration, and the revelry carries on until dawn, culminating in a majestic rendition of the day theme. The entire orchestra unites in this jubilant finale, concluding with a grand, celebratory flourish.

Our heartfelt thanks to Jonne for his contribution to this development diary and for crafting such a captivating theme for Cities: Skylines II. We eagerly await the moment when players can immerse themselves in this sonic journey as they sculpt their metropolises.

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