In recent weeks, Eurogamer and Techraptor have reported that Atari is keeping the RollerCoaster Tycoon license for another 10 years. Does this mean that this series of games is not likely going to disappear and there is a good chance that we might see a sequel in the near future?
Overall, it seems to me that the park building genre has gone untapped in recent years. The last big game was Planet Coaster by Frontier Developers and that came out in 2016. The question is if and what innovations can be brought to the world of theme park building?
What could be innovated?
Most games have always been set up so that you have relative freedom to build roller coasters. Planet Coaster brought considerably more scenery to the genre, but what I always found lacking in the games was any more strategic detail…
… it seemed to me that it was never possible to go too much into the details of a given park (at least in my experience) and somehow play more with what and how it would work. Now I’m not talking about basic infrastructure, but maybe some more realistic pricing, weather, maintenance.
It would be much better to work with target groups and create a park focused on families with children or, on the opposite, to focus the park on hardcore attraction lovers. It would be much more possible to work with “support” things like hotels – parking – marketing and it should be added that the entertainment industry is now not only parks, but also cinemas / boats / tours. But admittedly it wouldn’t be RollerCoaster Tycoon as we know it today.
The question of what we are looking for in this genre. For me I’m a fan of complex entertainment where you need to think, see some tips on how to be a better strategy player, so I think something more complex would make sense.
Is there space on the market for another game – how many players are there?!
Planet Coaster has averaged around 3,000 players since its release in 2016. The older version of RollerCoaster Tycoon has about 300 players per day, according to Steam stats. So the long-term player market doesn’t look very positive, and I can see why more developers aren’t getting into the genre…
… but it’s interesting that when the last Planet Coaster came out, there were over 21,000 players at the start of the game. But that number dropped off pretty quickly. I don’t know what the reasons were for others, but I myself had a weak PC at the time and it wasn’t so realistic to play.
What can we expect in the next few years?
Well next year we’ll get Park Beyond, but from the first trailer it looks like the game will be a bit wilder and probably further away from reality. So there’s still room for a true RollerCoaster Tycoon or something more complex and interesting, and a license extension could lead to that.
Whether Atari or anyone else tries to delve into this topic, we’re crossing our fingers for StrateGGames.