E3 2002: RollerCoaster Tycoon II impressions

We loop the loop with Infogrames' upcoming theme park management sequel.

At the 2002 Electronic Entertainment Expo today in Los Angeles, Infogrames gave GameSpot a demonstration of RollerCoaster Tycoon II, its upcoming sequel to one of the best-selling PC games of the past few years. Like its predecessor, RollerCoaster Tycoon II will let players create and manage their own theme park. It will improve on the previous game with an expanded map size, enhanced graphics and sound, higher coaster height limits, better animation, a scenario editor, and a new track-designer tool.

Senior Producer Thomas Zahorik showed off Magic Mountain, one of the game's five prebuilt theme parks based on actual Six Flags theme parks. The design of the park and the coasters was immediately recognizable to anyone who's been to the real Magic Mountain, and it gave the park a great sense of realism. Like the original, the new game will be played from an isometric perspective, but the increased map size and better graphics make it more visually pleasing. The improved animations also give life to the theme parks, with hordes of visitors wandering around and riding coasters and a variety of animated decorative elements adding color to the scene.

The new game will include a scenario editor that lets scenario designers create a scenario based on a saved game and determine a player's initial access to tracks and other theme park parts. They can also adjust the initial amount of money, the type of park visitors available, and the scenario goals. In addition to the scenario editor, the game will feature a track-designer tool that lets players create and edit isolated roller coasters outside of the scenario environment. These coasters, which can now be built up to approximately 400 feet in height, can then be saved and imported into the different theme parks.

While the developer hasn't finalized the system requirements for the new game, Infogrames expects the requirements to be low, though probably not as low as the original game due to increased map size and more animations. RollerCoaster Tycoon II is currently in the alpha stage of development and is scheduled for release this fall. We'll post more information about the game as it becomes available.

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