Auran maps out future of Trainz

Auran Games outlines its plans for future Trainz titles and expansion packs.

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In its latest newsletter, Australia-based developer Auran Games has outlined its future plans for the Trainz series of railroad simulation games. Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 (TRS 2004) was released in November last year, and Auran's immediate plans will see the game benefiting from a second free upgrade pack scheduled for release next month. Passenger Pack: Service Pack 2 will be the final free upgrade for TRS 2004, adding interactive passenger stations, driver timetables, rule improvements, AI tweaks, and a number of other features to the original game.

Auran describes the future of its Trainz franchise as "a careful balance between design and commercial realities." With that in mind, Auran's next project is the previously unannounced Engineers Edition expansion pack for TRS 2004. The aim of Engineers Edition will be to make the original game even more realistic through the introduction of new prototypical routes, new cabs and locos, and a number of other features designed to appeal to budding or retired engineers. No pricing or release date for the expansion pack have been announced at this time, although Auran has confirmed that it will release a TRS 2004 Gold Edition bundling the expansion with a copy of the original game. Auran is also considering plans for a number of other TRS 2004 expansion packs with themes such as Brachline, Commuter, and Network.

Auran also recognizes the importance of third-party content creators to its games and plans to appoint a full-time third-party liaison officer. That person's responsibilities will include assisting and coordinating third-party content efforts, selecting teams of volunteers to work on small projects, and ensuring that additional content is properly tested before release.

In the longer term, Auran has decided to split the Trainz product to follow two diverging paths. Losing the Trainz moniker, Railroad Simulator Professional Edition will head down the prototypical route, while Tranzportation will be a management simulation aimed at more casual gamers.

The gameplay in Tranzportation will see players managing transport fleets and attempting to expand them to meet the demands of industry, towns, and cities. In addition to trains, the game will feature planes, ships, and trucks, and players will have the option to zoom in on the action and climb inside vehicles. Tranzportation is currently without a publisher, but Auran assures us that talks with several publishers are already under way.

We'll bring you more information on all of Auran Games' upcoming titles as soon as it becomes available.

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