Roller Coaster Tycoon World
Atari is deep into development on the next Roller Coaster Tycoon title, and the team is hoping to recapture the magic that has attracted so many players over the years. I had a chance to check out the game in action, and I'm pleased to say that Roller Coaster Tycoon World takes a big step toward accessibility without sacrificing the joy of micromanagement.
One of the biggest changes is in the roller coaster construction, which now has an extremely intuitive push/pull/twist interface. I watched a new coaster built in under a minute and adjusted using the smart tools available. The track snaps together, making it simple to create loops, corkscrews, cobra rolls, boomerangs, and more.
All of the building in Roller Coaster Tycoon World is now "remorseless." You can build before you buy (in case you don't have the money on hand), and you can move and rotate rides after they are built (instead of bulldozing and starting again).
Roller Coaster Tycoon World will ship with four landscapes (Forest, Canyon, Island, Science Fiction) and four themes (Americana, Western, Science Fiction, and Adventure). Each will offer about the same number of attractions, vendors, and the new sit-down restaurants.
Each of the themes has its own mascot, and the producer Sean Kennedy tells me that the team is taking a Disney approach. Disney Land was built as a home for Mickey and friends, and your theme parks will carry the same ethos in Roller Coaster Tycoon World. There are different versions of the characters over the years, which is intended to create a sense of history for players.
The visitors to your park are also more expressive, and you'll know if they are hungry, thirsty, or about to lose their lunch after getting off a ride. You can even see your Peeps wet their pants if you sell them cheap soft drinks and charge exorbitant prices to use the restroom.
The title offers both online and offline modes, and you can build parks with up to four friends or take over new plots on your own. You can get on each of the rides in first-person, third-person, or in a free camera mode.
Roller Coaster Tycoon World looks to build on recent learnings in the industry (the offline mode was emphasized given the SimCity debacle in 2013). It also has more personality than you might not expect from a tycoon experience, which should please series fans greatly when the title is released in 2015.