RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures Interview — Atari Producer Talks Switch Development, Crowdfunding, and Possible Expansions
DualShockers recently talked with Atari Senior Producer Mark Perloff about RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures for Nintendo Switch's development, place in the series, and more.
December 13 will mark the North American launch of RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures for Nintendo Switch. It is the first console entry for the series in quite some time following in the footsteps of the mediocre RollerCoaster Tycoon World as well as the more well-liked and successful RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch. RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures seems to be a tentpole release for Atari this year so DualShockers wanted to learn more about it.
DualShockers recently talked with Mark Perloff, a Senior Producer at Atari, about the upcoming release of Nvizzio Creations and Atari’s Switch-exclusive RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures. Throughout the conversation, we touched on what the game’s place in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series is, new features, developing games for Nintendo Switch, and the possibility of including microtransactions or releasing expansions for RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures.
Tomas Franzese: While most of the older RollerCoaster Tycoon games are considered classics, are there any specific areas in which you believe RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures surpasses or improves upon those titles?
Mark Perloff: Chris Sawyer created an extraordinary, indelible franchise with RollerCoaster Tycoon. Each game brings its own unique twists, and so with RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures we’re offering some new and exciting features we think players will really love. One example is our brand-new Adventure Mode. We took the classic RollerCoaster Tycoon campaign mode and added a “Choose Your Own Adventure” twist.
As players build their parks, they’ll occasionally be prompted by a text pop-up with a tricky decision to make, which can have long-lasting ramifications on their park. Let’s say an inspector comes to your park, demanding a look at your rides. Do you let him in and risk a fine if things aren’t up to code, or send one of your mascots to distract him and hope he looks the other way? These decisions can negatively or positively affect the success of their park, and the branching paths of each decision ensure that each trip through Adventure Mode will be a totally new experience.
TF: Is there a lot of freedom in how parks and tracks can be designed, or are players locked to certain pre-set options?
MP: RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is built with player freedom in mind. The game has four distinct play environments to choose from – an Alpine zone, a dusty Western landscape, a Tropical paradise, and the Moon! From there, players have access to tons of rides, shops, restaurants and decorations – some general attractions, and some themed specifically for that environment.
Players can also beautify their parks with a selection of river and lake options, and other terrain tools. Lastly, our coaster builder is completely free-form. Players can build the wildest coasters imaginable using the intuitive builder and seven different coaster types – the only constraint is their imagination. With all these tools at players’ disposals, the choices you can make in your park layout are practically endless.
TF: Do you think RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures appeals more to the hardcore community that has stuck around since the classic games, or the never audience that jumped on board with RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch?
MP: With RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures we focused on creating an accessible and fun entry point into the series – a game that a young player, or someone new to the franchise, could jump into easily. We believe the game has a good balance between accessibility and depth, giving players of all ages and skill levels something they can sink their teeth into.
TF: Is RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures based on the framework and engine established with RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch? If so, what notable improvements have been made with Adventures when compared to Touch?
MP: RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures definitely shares DNA with RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch – from some team members on each project, to visual style. With that being said, RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is a full-fledged premium product, rebuilt specifically for the Switch. There are a ton of differences between the games, but some of the highlights include Adventure Mode, Sandbox Mode, 4 game environments, improved graphics and lighting effects, new terrain and water tools, no in-app-purchases, Research and Permit-focused game progression, new decorations, and new music and sounds.
TF: Your previous mainline RollerCoaster Tycoon game, RollerCoaster Tycoon World, was received poorly by both critics and fans. How much community and critical feedback from that game has been taken into account when developing RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures?
MP: We always listen to critical and fan feedback when thinking about our titles. For RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures, the fantastic critical and fan response to RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch let us know we had a great base from which to build a fun new RollerCoaster Tycoon experience.
TF: Does RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures have any special features that take advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s unique hardware (touchscreen, Joy-Cons, etc.)?
MP: In terms of specific features, the game takes advantage of the Switch’s hardware with full touchscreen control (as well as Joy-Con support) and HD rumble. In a more general sense, we feel like RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is tailored to the unique style of the Switch. We wanted to make a game that players can dive into for a few minutes or a few hours, and feel like they got something satisfying out of that play experience.
TF: Are there plans to implement microtransactions or release post-launch DLC for RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures?
MP: No microtransactions. This is a premium game, through-and-through. For DLC, the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise has a great tradition of awesome expansions, so that’s definitely something we’ve been talking about. For now though, we’re focusing on the base game.
TF: Why did Atari decide to partner with Bigben Interactive in Europe and AtGames in North America to distribute the game instead of doing it yourselves?
MP:We focus on digital distribution and rely on great partners for physical distribution
TF: Does Atari plan on keeping RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures exclusive to Nintendo Switch, or are you guys considering bringing this game or the franchise as a whole to other platforms like your upcoming Atari VCS console?
MP: Keep watching for any news!
TF: When and why did Atari first make the decision to support Nintendo Switch?
MP: As with most of our publishing peers, we saw the potential of the platform shortly after the Switch launched in 2017. The ability of users to have a handheld device with lots of power to run more complex and engaging games was an obvious draw for Atari – add the market trajectory to the mix, and it became an easy choice.
TF: How smooth has the development process been on Nintendo Switch, and is it a platform that Atari plans on supporting again in the future?
MP: The development process for RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures has been smooth. RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is the first game in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series to be available on Nintendo Switch and we are very excited about that. We already have another title, Atari Flashback Classics, that will be coming soon to Nintendo Switch. In all, Nintendo has been a joy to work with and we’re big fans of their latest platform.
TF: Atari attempted to crowdfund RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures on StartEngine. Was this strategy successful, and is it something Atari plans on doing for future titles?
MP: When we first announced we were developing RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures it was in conjunction with StartEngine, one of the leading equity crowdfunding platforms in the U.S. This was a test for us to see if it made sense for Atari to try some new sources of funding to see if these sources could be available down the road for more games.
We have always promised to deliver the title with or without StartEngine. We are delivering on our promise and are excited that RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is available now in Europe and coming to North America on December 13, 2018.
TF: Is there anything else you’d like DualShockers’ readers to know about RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures before they get their hands on it?
MP: RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is a premium title bringing new and exciting features tailored for the Nintendo Switch. We hope to capture the essence of RollerCoaster Tycoon while pushing the formula in an accessible, exciting direction.
As Mark Perloff mentioned in the interview, RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures is currently available for Nintendo Switch in Europe and will be releasing in North America on December 13. Those of you who want to pick up the game can currently pre-order it on Amazon.