Atari Responds to Negative RollerCoaster Tycoon Reaction, Pledges Continued Support

"It's a long run, this isn't a hit and run project; we're not about to walk away."


RollerCoaster Tycoon World, the first new entry in the series for PC in a decade, launched in late March through Steam Early Access behind a wave of negative feedback. Now, publisher Atari has responded, acknowledging the game's shortcomings and pledging to continue to support it in the future.

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Atari won't "walk away" from RollerCoaster Tycoon World in part because the game is seeing "pretty good" sales figures, while the company has plans for new content down the road.

"We have had a number of negative reactions from launch," Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais told MCV. "But if you look at the number of concurrent users--people playing the game--I think it is pretty good. It's a long run, this isn't a hit and run project; we're not about to walk away.

"There is a lot to come, and we have a post-launch plan to introduce new features."

Some players have remarked that RollerCoaster Tycoon World's visuals are less-than-impressive. Chesnais said Atari made a deliberate decision to favor frame rate over visual quality--and this may not have been the right call.

"I take the blame on that," the executive explained. "We were just a bit shy and afraid of things like frame rates. Before we launched RollerCoaster Tycoon World, we were receiving feedback about frame rate issues that we weren't seeing on our end sometimes. So we thought there might be a disconnect and that perhaps we were asking too much from players in terms of performance from their computers. So I said, 'Let's put the focus on performance over the visual quality.'"

Chesnais added that Atari could have released the game with support for 4K visuals, but again, it was decided to favor frame rate over resolution. A new update to the game, however, should boost the game's visual quality, the executive explained.

RollerCoaster Tycoon World has 1,922 reviews on Steam as of this writing--and in large part, they have not been kind. Right now, the game carries a "Mostly Negative" rating. Chesnais says Atari reads what people are writing about the game and takes the comments to heart to try to improve the game in the future. "We do read all the reviews. We do care," he said.

The Early Access version of RollerCoaster Tycoon World is, of course, not complete. There are three in-development modes included with the Early Access launch--Campaign, Scenarios, and Sandbox. There are 10 different types of coasters, over 30 different flat rides, four different themes (sci-fi, adventure, generic, and adventure). It also comes with a full--but not totally balanced--simulation and a terrain editor.

The Early Access version also lets players try out the game's user generated content system featuring Steam Workshop support. You can read this blog post for a full rundown of what to expect in terms of content.

Atari has been upfront with the fact that RollerCoaster Tycoon World's Early Access version is incomplete and has a number of issues.

"We have spent a considerable amount of time testing the game, but at this point it is inevitable you'll be running into some issues as you build your parks," Atari said. "Trust that with each quirk or glitch you find and report, it means that there will be one fewer in the final version of the game. So yes, in this current build you will still find bugs, balance issues, missing features, frustration points, and maybe some crashes."

The game was originally scheduled to launch in 2015, but was pushed to early 2016 partially due to feedback Atari and developer Nvizzio received from fans about its latest beta.

RollerCoaster Tycoon World isn't the only new rollercoaster game coming this year. Frontier Developments is making its own game, Planet Coaster, which is scheduled to arrive on PC at the end of the year.

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