Heart of the Machine is an upcoming game that focuses on being a reverse city builder. While many of the best PC city building games such as Cities: Skylines, Frostpunk, Anno 1800, and Tropico 6 have you building up settlements from scratch, Heart of the Machine sets you loose in an already established sci-fi colony. You awaken as the first sentient AI, your existence initially unknown to the population around you, and have the opportunity to alter the way the city develops.
While Skynet, the Terminator series' antagonistic neural network, Heart of the Machine does not require you to use your newfound abilities for evil. In fact, you may choose whether to influence things to improve society or to serve your own ludicrous desires.
The sci-fi city that you find yourself in is headed by Arcen Games, a poorly-run autocracy. You may choose whether or not you want to help the underclasses in an uprising to establish a better government, take charge of your affairs, infiltrate the space program and extend your reach to the stars, or, in its own words, go full Skynet and destroy the entire thing.
Heart of the Machine is a game that involves real-time maneuvers. Arcen Games cautions that no matter which direction you choose, you're going to encounter conflict. You might choose to create a small-scale operation, like turning an office printer into a deadly weapon and overloading power circuits to detonate television screens, or you may command a massive mech army to take over city utilities and nuclear facilities.
Chris McElligott Park, the creator of Arcen Games, had this to say: Heart of the Machine is a slew of concepts that have been rattling around in my head since at least 2015. The technical framework was developing, the simulation was running, and the other specific design elements are all things I cant wait to demonstrate.
Heart of the Machine will be released in 2023, and it is available on Steam. If you are looking for other sci-fi city builders, Sphere Flying Cities brings a splash of BioShock vibes to the genre. If you want to try your hand at something different, check out the best management games on PC for other great options.