'RollerCoaster Tycoon' Creator Talks Adapting The Classic Sim To Mobile


RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, a near-perfect port of the original RollerCoaster Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 for iOS and Android devices, is now out and taking the mobile world by storm. Getting a four out of five stars from yours truly, the game is great and well worth the price for any fan looking to get a fun burst of nostalgia for their phones.

RollerCoaster Tycoon creator Chris Sawyer and Atari COO Todd Shallbetter talked to iDigitalTimes about RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, the future of the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise on both mobile and PC, and what their favorite rides would be, if they could actually go on them.

When asked why RCT1 & 2 made the jump to mobile, Sawyer mentioned it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. In fact, the project has been in development for some time. “It’s been an ambition in the back of my mind for many years, but the real work started about three years ago, first with some extensive technical tests to ensure it would all be possible, and then commissioning Origin8 to take on the full conversion,” he said. “Origin8 and I learned a lot from our previous work together on Transport Tycoon for iOS/Android and so I felt confident we could bring the original RollerCoaster Tycoon games to mobile platforms without losing any of their character or extensive gameplay.”

That confidence paid off, but hard work still went on behind the scenes to make everything appear just as you remember it. There are even some new features not found in the original RCT releases. “Great care was taken to ensure this was an authentic and complete conversion of the original PC games, to the extent that most saved parks from RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 can even be loaded into the iOS/Android game and vice versa,” said Sawyer. “We took the opportunity to improve a few things and added some new features too though – for instance, there’s a new function which overlays a guest’s recent actions and thoughts on the view so you can see where they’ve been and what they’ve been thinking or doing recently.”

This time and attention has paid off, as Shallbetter mentions the reception for RCT Classic has been overwhelmingly positive. “It’s great to see that people really appreciate the faithful port of the PC versions to mobile,” he said.

There are already a few DLC packs available for RCT Classic, but that will likely be it for the mobile game. In a move that sounds counter-intuitive to the rest of the modern gaming landscape, Sawyer says that a key to keeping RCT Classic feeling like the classic game it is, is to not clutter it by trying to make things bigger and better. And besides, according to Sawyer’s calculations, players will need six months of daily two-hour gaming sessions to be able to beat all of the scenarios included in the base game alone.

As for the future of RollerCoaster Tycoon on mobile, Shallbetter said multiple new RCT games are in development. One such game, called RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, is in a soft-launch stage in select markets, with more information coming soon.

On PC, RollerCoaster Tycoon World has now officially launched, and updates have already begun rolling out. “ RCTW has had a long journey,” said Shallbetter. “We recently released a new update that included new content, new theme, new camera and Holiday decorations.” More updates are sure to come in the following months.

When asked what his favorite ride in RCT was to build, both men said they enjoy building their own coasters. “I like the challenge of building a compact roller coaster which interacts with other rides or scenery or the landscape, so perhaps something like a Mini Roller Coaster or Spiral Roller Coaster,” Sawyer said. “These rides are all about interactions and details, making sure the little guests get flung around just enough to be exciting but not so much that it hurts, and giving them an interesting journey through, over, and under other rides, footpaths, and scenery.”

“Larger coasters are great fun to build too of course if there’s space – a giant Wooden Roller Coaster with twisting banked turns or a Giga Coaster with its elegant smooth drops and unique cable lift hill or LSM launch track,” said Sawyer.

Shallbetter also likes the challenge of building roller coasters, but likes his to be big, wooden rides instead. He also appreciates the ability to make pre-built coasters, saving time and money when trying to build out your park. “The more twists and turns it has, the better it is to watch my guests riding these creations,” he said. “Some pre-built favorites like Woodwind and Great White Wail come to mind.”

RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic is now available to download on the Google Play store and the Apple App store for $5.99.

So what do you think? Have you tried out RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic for yourself? What are your favorite rides to make in your theme parks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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