The unexpected and enduring success of the original SimCity, combined with the relative lack of success with other Sim titles, finally motivated the development of a sequel. SimCity 2000 (or SC2K) was a major extension of the concept; the view was now isometric instead of overhead, land could have different elevations, and underground layers were introduced for water pipes and subways. New types of facilities included hospitals, prisons, schools, libraries, museums, parks, marinas, zoos, stadiums and arcologies. Players could build highways, roads, bus depots, and zone land for seaports and airports. Enacting city ordinances and connecting to neighboring cities became possible. The budget and finance controls were also much more elaborate.
News came in the form of several pre-written newspaper articles with variable names that could either be called up immediately or could be subscribed on a yearly basis. The newspaper option provided many humorous stories as well as relevant news stories such as new technology or recent disasters. SimCity 2000 is the only game in the series to have this feature.
The only process considered to be a 'victory' was the exodus process, where by when 200 'Launch Arcologies' were constructed, they would take off and fly to another planet, reducing the city's population to just existing residents who are not living in the Launch Arcologies, but opening wide areas for redevelopment and adding large sums to the city treasury.
A re-packaged version of SimCity 2000, SimCity 2000 Special Edition (SC2K-SE), was released in 1995 for Microsoft Windows and DOS PCs, partly because the original SimCity 2000 cannot be run under Windows 95 (not even in prompt mode). In addition to containing SimCity 2000, it also featured the SimCity Urban Renewal Kit, new cities selected by Maxis from a 1994 competition, additional scenarios, and movies. The movies included with the Special Edition were the first true movies included with a Maxis game, in contrast to the previously used "animated bitmaps", such as the winning screen in SimAnt. These videos included the introductory movie and four commentary videos by Will Wright; the latter were accessed via the "WillTV" application that came with the game.
A network version of the game, SimCity 2000: Network Edition was released in 1996 for both Macintosh and Windows. The Network Edition had the ability to share in-game resources and to compete or cooperate with other cities. If the user is on a compatible network (TCP/IP or Novell's IPX), then SimCity 2000 Network Edition works in a similar way to SimCity 4, giving the ability to cooperate with other cities (for example, by trading electricity for money, and vice-versa).
SimCity 2000 also featured a revamped user interface. Instead of a static toolbar, items were accessed via cascading menus from the right of the screen, resulting in more screen real-estate for SimCity itself, without sacrificing functionality.
A special release of SimCity 2000 for the Nintendo 64 for the Japanese market featured some additional features, mainly minigames, a dating game, horse races and monster breeding, among others, all of them in 3D. A few new "natural" disasters were also included, most of them being giant monster attacks (players were able to use their monster to fight against them). With these additional features, many felt that the game lost its original flavor.