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Atari addresses Rollercoaster Tycoon World concerns

RollerCoaster Tycoon World detail
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Gamers got their first look at Rollercoaster Tycoon World gameplay earlier this month, and let's just say that not everyone was thrilled with what they saw (Tim included). Numerous commenters, here and elsewhere, compared it unfavorably to Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, which came out in 2004. But Executive Producer "Mattlab" said in a new blog post that its rough state is to be expected, because the game is still in pre-alpha.

"Since the switchover of our development team this past Fall, we have focused on core functionality and 'under-the-hood' engine work. This is why there has not been significant visual progress on the title," he wrote. "Engine work is critical to the overall stability of a game, and it requires significant labor and time to get right. We knew in the Fall we still had a lot of work to do to achieve the core engine we wanted—one that could support a game like RCTW. Now, however, we are able to finally continue working on the higher level functionality and visuals."

The point of the trailer was not to show off the game in anything near a final state, he continued, but simply to demonstrate that progress was being made. He also said that Atari has decided to upgrade the game to the Unity 5 engine, which should significantly improve its overall visual quality, and is adjusting the art direction to make it "more believable/realistic overall."

Mattlab said Atari hopes to have the upgraded graphics ready for public display by this summer, but he also acknowledged that not everyone is buying what he's selling. "We hope to take full advantage of the many new environmental, lighting, and shadow improvements as well as many other features in our original Unity 4.6-based engine to create a game that looks great. Our early results are extremely promising," he wrote. "We know that today these words must ring hollow, but trust that we are doing everything we can to make the game look excellent."

There's still no launch date, but it's expected to be announced later this year.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.