17 November 2016
|Genre(s)||Construction and management simulation|
Planet Coaster is a construction and management simulation video game developed and published by Frontier Developments for Microsoft Windows. It was a sequel to the RollerCoaster Tycoon series, released worldwide on 17 November 2016. Frontier had previously worked in the amusement park construction and management genre with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (to which Planet Coaster is a spiritual successor), Thrillville, Thrillville: Off the Rails, and Zoo Tycoon. A version for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, known as Planet Coaster: Console Edition, is scheduled for release in Holiday 2020.
There are three different modes in the game, namely Sandbox, Challenge, and Career. In the career mode, players assume the role of a theme park manager and must complete tasks such as constructing unfinished roller coasters or hiring janitors. In Sandbox mode, players are tasked to construct their own theme park on an empty plot of land. The challenge mode is similar to the sandbox mode, but with added difficulty, as players need to take funds into account.
Originally called Coaster Park Tycoon, the game was revealed on 29 January 2015 and was renamed during E3 2015. Planet Coaster is Frontier's second self-published franchise, following Elite Dangerous. Frontier organized multiple alpha and beta testings before launching in November 2016. The game was supported with free as well as paid post-release downloadable content upon launch. The title received positive reviews upon release, with critics praising the game's sandbox mode and creation tools. Criticism was mainly directed to the game's career mode. It was a commercial success, with more than 400,000 copies sold in its first month of release.
Planet Coaster is a construction and management simulation video game. Similar to its spiritual predecessor, the game allows players to build different theme park rides and roller-coasters. These player-created attractions can be shared through a mechanic called "global village". The game also comes with ten mascots.
Before starting the game, the player must create their own avatar. Afterward, the player is able to choose between three game modes: sandbox, challenge, and career.
Similar to Frontier's previous game, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, the Sandbox Mode enables players to construct their own theme park on an empty plot of land. In Sandbox Mode, all features and rides of the game are unlocked and your funds are unlimited. This is the mode most players use to create items (parks, coasters, scenery, etc.) and then post them to Steam's Planet Coaster Workshop.
In the Challenge Mode, the player must construct an amusement park on an empty lot (similar to Sandbox Mode) but with limited funds and research depending on chosen difficulty—Easy, Medium, or Hard. As the player develops their park, the game presents the player with challenges that the player must accept or decline. Upon completion of a challenge, the player is given a reward such as a park rating boost or a sum of money.
In the Career Mode, the player must complete objectives such as constructing roller coasters, achieving park ratings or hiring janitors. Similar to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Career Mode allows players to progress by completing scenarios with objectives in different difficulties.
On 26 April 2017, Frontier revealed the existence of several cheat codes that were previously undiscovered on their official forums. These included the ability to drive go-karts and the ability for security guards to plough through guests similar to a bulldozer.
Before the development of Planet Coaster, Frontier Developments had developed several other construction and management simulation video games, including 2004's commercial and critical success RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, which sold over 10 million copies. Planet Coaster serves only as a spiritual successor to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 instead of a direct sequel, as the company considered the use of the brand Tycoon "didn’t carry the cachet anymore" due to the releases of mainly poorly-received Tycoon games in recent years. In a December 2016 interview with Cambridge News, David Walsh (the Chief Operating Officer of Frontier Developments) said that the success of Elite Dangerous enabled the company "to bring Planet Coaster to the market, which is highly significant as it demonstrates we are not a single game company”. Frontier Developments spent £6 million on the game's development and an additional £1.5 million on marketing.
The game was announced on 29 January 2015 by Frontier Developments. Originally called Coaster Park Tycoon, the game was renamed into Planet Coaster on 16 June 2015 during the PC Gaming Show at E3 2015. Frontier Developments aimed to turn the game into the company's second self-published franchise, along with the Elite series. The game uses an advanced version of Cobra Engine, which is an in-house proprietary engine developed by Frontier previously used by games like Elite Dangerous and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. Features confirmed for the game include a hybrid spline/piece-by-piece coaster builder, modular structure building, a voxel terrain editor among others detailed through Q&A's and "Dev Diaries." On the second live stream, the release date of the alpha was announced. Released on 22 March 2016, the alpha emphasized on modular building and paths. The alpha contained two themes: "Planet Coaster" and "Pirate". Although disabled by default, Coaster Building was included in the first alpha through a cheat code.
On 24 May 2016, Frontier released the second alpha build. This build included finances, terrain tools, improved path building, and the official release of a coaster builder. Also, on 25 August, Frontier discontinued further alpha purchases. On 24 September, Frontier announced at EGX 2016 that players who had pre-ordered the "Thrillseeker Edition" would be able to test the game that October. At Gamescom 2016, Frontier announced that the game would be released on 17 November 2016. The game was released with Denuvo's anti-tamper technology.
To record the audio for the game, sound designer Watson Wu took over the Holiday World & Splashin' Safari theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana to record the sounds of various attractions. Guests in the park and park staff speak their own fictional language, known as "Planco". According to James Stant, Frontier's senior audio designer, the language contains about 7,000 words. After the game's release, Frontier Developments released an official Planco dictionary.
Planet Coaster features an adaptive soundtrack composed by Jim Guthrie and JJ Ipsen, released under the album titled You, Me & Gravity: The Music of Planet Coaster. Additionally, players may upload their own sound files to use in their parks.
In August 2017, Frontier partnered with the Cedar Point amusement park to provide an in-game version of the park's upcoming Steel Vengeance roller coaster before the ride officially opened in 2018.
On 21 September 2018, Frontier announced the "Thememaker's Toolkit". This toolkit will enable players to import custom 3D models into Planet Coaster itself. This was released on 20 November.
|Winter Update||15 December 2016||The Winter Update added new rides, blueprints, stores, and staff features. One of the newly added rides, the "Collider", was determined by a community vote.|
|Spring Update||April 2017||The Spring Update added new rides and a crime system.|
|Summer Update||27 June 2017||The Summer Update added the ability to create firework shows, such as for the American Independence Day, New Year's Day, and Bonfire Night. Furthermore, the fireworks can be triggered by other events in the park and can be synced to custom music. This update also added the ability to add customizable images and video into the game.|
|Spooky Pack||25 September 2017||The Spooky Pack is a paid DLC pack that includes over 200 new building and scenery pieces as well as two new tracked ride types and a new entertainer, "King Ghoster". |
|Anniversary Update||22 November 2017||The free Anniversary update included several new rides and roller coasters in addition to picnic benches and a custom scenario editor - other smaller features allow for interchangeable coaster cars and relaxed track restrictions. More management features were also introduced including more control over vendors and staff rooms for tired employees.|
|Adventure Pack||18 December 2017||The Adventure Pack is a paid DLC pack that includes new water boat rides, a swinging mine train roller coaster and 320 new scenery and building pieces in addition to a new entertainer, "Renée Feu".|
|Studios Pack||27 March 2018||The Studios Pack is a paid DLC pack inspired by movie studio theme parks such as Disney's Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios. This pack includes new scenery, animatronics and 3 dark ride systems. This was released alongside a free update containing hotels, glass walls and path tunneling.|
|Vintage Pack||10 July 2018||The Vintage Pack is a paid DLC pack inspired by classic amusement parks. It includes new coasters, rides, scenery and audio. This was released alongside a free update containing a wild mouse coaster, vending machines, camera effects, scenery grouping, and custom staff uniform coloring.|
|World's Fair Pack||16 October 2018||The World's Fair Pack is a paid DLC pack introduction theming elements inspired by ten different countries. It includes new coasters, a transport ride and scenery.|
|Magnificent Rides Collection||18 December 2018||The Magnificent Rides Collection is a paid DLC pack that features 10 new rides including attractions based on Vekoma, Schwarzkopf and Mack Rides roller coasters. This pack features little theming elements compared to previous DLCs.|
|Classic Rides Collection||16 April 2019||Like the Magnificent Rides Collection, the Classic Rides collection adds in 10 rides. This was released along with a free update that contained a virtual recreation of Carowinds’ Copperhead Strike coaster.|
|Ghostbusters||4 June 2019||Ghostbusters is a paid DLC pack featuring a story-driven scenario, new gameplay mechanics, new rides, characters and scenery from the classic 1984 film, Ghostbusters. The pack also features Dan Aykroyd reprising his original role as Raymond Stantz and William Atherton as Walter Peck. This was released along with free downloadable content containing a shooting dark ride.|
The game was met with praise upon release of the alpha. Andy Kelly of PC Gamer commented that Frontier was "off to a tremendous start", adding that creating buildings with the creation tools hinted at "immense possibilities". However, Mark Walton of Ars Technica noted several small flaws including the "hard to navigate" menus and the lack of custom built roller coasters. On 27 April 2016, about a month after the release of the alpha, Frontier announced that Planet Coaster had grossed nearly two million dollars.
Matt Wales of Eurogamer recommended the game, concluding that the game is "the finest simulator yet". Meanwhile, Ben Reeves of Game Informer praised the game for its creative mode but criticized the game's career mode, referring it to as "boring" and "tedious". TJ Hafer of IGN compared the game's integration of Steam Workshop to Minecraft and Second Life. Edmond Tran of GameSpot praised the game for its accessible creative tools and for its evocative tone. Jonathan Leack of Game Revolution claimed that the game "resurrected the [theme park simulation] genre". In a critical review of the game, Jody Macgregor of PC Gamer praised the game's challenge mode but criticized the game for not innovating enough from RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. The original score (70/100) was retracted due to miscommunication between Frontier Developments and PC Gamer with the game version they received; its reevaluated score is 75/100. Patrick Hancock of Destructoid noted that the game suffers frame rate issues in larger parks. Furthermore, Edge noted that the game's "fiddly" camera makes some actions harder.
Upon release, the game topped the Steam "top sellers" charts. The game sold over 400,000 copies in the first month of its release. Despite being released in the later part of the year, Planet Coaster was featured on Steam's "Top 100 Best Sellers of 2016" chart as a "silver tier" game. In August 2017, the game sold its one millionth copy. In July 2018, a leak in Valve API revealed that over 1.68 million Steam users owned Planet Coaster. Two million copies of the games were sold by January 2019.
|2017||13th British Academy Games Awards||British Game||Nominated|||
|Develop Industry Excellence Awards||Animation||Nominated|||
|New Games IP||Nominated|
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