View Full Version : Some new Planet Coaster details - David Braben Interview

06-17-2015, 05:26 PM
So here is the first interview with Braben that I could find. It doesn't reveal much we don't know, but there are a few nuggets in there. Not least concerning the name change (it seems he didn't want 'Tycoon' as some other firms have screwed up other tycoon games recently).

Here it is, taken from: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/06/elite-dangerous-developers-talk-to-ars-about-planet-coaster/

Frontier’s PR privately teased the announcement to Ars before the show, telling us only that they were unveiling a game they’d been wanting to make for more than a decade that contained “no space, no guns.” We suspected that the project might be roller coaster park-related due to Frontier’s January announcement of a similarly named project, which Frontier’s PR confirmed has now been renamed Planet Coaster.

After the PC Gamer Show, Frontier Development studio head David Braben was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk to Ars about the new title (we’d already talked to him earlier in the day about Elite: Dangerous, but we held our questions on the new game until this second meeting).

Why Planet Coaster instead of continuing on with the “Tycoon” branding? Frontier, after all, developed the third game in the Roller Coaster Tycoon series. But after so many “Tycoon” games—from roller coasters to dinosaurs to toilets—the brand just didn’t carry the cachet anymore. “We’re revisiting everything,” said Braben. “The whole ‘tycoon’ thing—we looked at it a lot, and we did plan and consider that for quite a while, and decided actually it comes with too much baggage. There were too many tycoon games that weren’t very good.

“Let’s do something fresh, is the intention,” he continued. “We’re doing that with each aspect—to revisit the genre properly and do it really well, and do every aspect of it really well… because we love it, and we’ve done so many coaster games over the years—we know how to do it.”

The new game will share an underlying engine with Elite: Dangerous—Frontier’s proprietary COBRA engine. In spite of its Elite-sounding name, the COBRA engine actually has a theme park heritage, being first developed to power Frontier’s 2004 Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. It also powered Frontier’s 2010 Xbox 360 game Kinectimals.

Braben was excited about the engine commonality, too, talking for a couple of minutes about the advantages of having an in-house engine for all games and actually bringing up a lot of the same points that Bioware hit on when they discussed unifying development on Frostbite with us on Monday. “Compare Kinectimals to Elite: Dangerous! It’s a broad range, but actually the engineering problems you have to solve are remarkably similar—weather systems on planets or fluffy fur on the head of a baby tiger.”

On the subject of gameplay and features—well, it’s becoming rather a refrain at this point, but Braben didn’t have anything solid to announce. The “planet” in the game does imply that there are some MMO-style components. While Braben dodged our questions with a smile (“We’re going to talk about that over the next weeks and months!” he said), Frontier’s PR confirmed to us that players will be able to build connected “villages” of parks and share coaster designs with each other.

To preemptively address the fears of Elite: Dangerous players concerned that a new game will sap developer resources away from Elite and slow that game’s continued development, Braben reiterated that Planet Coaster was being run by a different development team within Frontier. “This is absolutely a separate team,” he told us. “We’ve actually got more people on Elite than we had three or four months ago… If you look at the cadence of what we’re doing—we’re doing Xbox, and that’s not contracting what we’re doing on the PC, and we have great announcements for the PC to come.”

The game can be preordered directly from Frontier right now, and the company is also offering additional perks that can be purchased, all the way from early beta access to having your name indelibly printed on in-game paving bricks. We'll have to wait until 2016 for the release (the exact release date hasn't been specified), but we'll try to get some impressions and hands-on time with the beta once it's available.

I suspected their intention was to revisit every part of what RCT3 achieved when I saw the trailer. They seemed keen to use the trailer to show that everything that was a restriction in RCT3 had been improved. I'm very glad to hear Braben confirm that is the intention :)

The Stig
06-17-2015, 05:27 PM
Alright guys, we gotta start posting these PCSE threads in Community Chat.

06-17-2015, 05:29 PM
NB: I also hope that by 'villages of parks' that means you can link parts in the same way Universal and disney have multiple parks in one region. I wouldn't mind collaborating with people to create a series of theme parks. I would still want single player too though... But it seems unlikely Frontier would risk losing that so I'm not concerned.

06-17-2015, 05:29 PM
Alright guys, we gotta start posting these PCSE threads in Community Chat.

They seem to end up there anyway, I assumed it was an automatic system :)

06-17-2015, 05:31 PM
Alright guys, we gotta start posting these PCSE threads in Community Chat.

wait - didn't you start a PCSE thread in General discussion earlier??

06-17-2015, 06:54 PM
Any chat about products that are not RCTW must be in CC. This thread will now be closed.