There was no shortage of disappointment being expressed online following this month’s debut of a RollerCoaster Tycoon World gameplay trailer (above). The graphics and cartoon-y art style were derided for not being much of an improvement upon 2004’s RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, but the game’s developer insists World is not complete, and that significant visual improvements are coming.
“Since the switchover of our development team this past fall, we have focused on core functionality and ‘under-the-hood’ engine work,” reads a blog post on the game’s official website. “This is why there has not been significant visual progress on the title.”
You might then ask why a trailer was even released, if it was only going to lead to the kind of reaction that ensued. “Our intention in releasing our pre-alpha gameplay as a trailer was to show that there is progress being made,” the developer says. “RollerCoaster Tycoon has meant so much to so many people over the years, and it’s entirely your prerogative to feel protective of the franchise, just as it’s ours to assure you that it’s in good hands. Our hope in releasing the trailer in its current state was to offer some reassurance that gameplay and features were coming along.”
The final version of World will sport improved graphics thanks to a move from a Unity 4.6-based engine to a Unity 5 engine. Describing the early results as “extremely promising,” the blog says we’ll be getting to see the new look “by this summer.”
“We know that today these words must ring hollow, but trust that we are doing everything we can to make the game look excellent,” the blog states.
As for the cartoonish art, changes are coming. “In response to requests and comments from our fans, we can confirm that our teams will be adjusting the art in the game to make it not only higher definition (taking advantage of our engine upgrade) but more believable/realistic overall, while still keeping the charm of RCT,” the developer says. “We want the rides to feel like they can be found in real life. Even though some of the rides may never actually exist, we want them to look like they could, and are constructed with real materials.
“Along with this, we are also taking a pass on our Americana theme to make sure those rides are closer to those you may find today when visiting your favorite amusement park.”
A release date for World had not yet been announced, though a “mid-2015” date is listed on the game’s Steam page. It now sounds as if that may not end up being the case.
“We will not release the game until we know that it is truly ready,” the developer says. “If the game needs to be ‘put back into the oven,’ then we will do it. We have waited for more than 10 years for the next great edition of RCT, and we plan to take the franchise to new heights with RCTW. We will take the time required to achieve that goal.
“We will communicate on the expected release of RCTW later this year.”