Planet Coaster’s Alpha In March, Mods After Launch

RPS have written extensively about theme-park sim Planet Coaster [official site] but Frontier keep announcing juicy features with every new dev diary and livestream. Unfortunately, the interesting news is spread over more than an hour of footage of two men talking in front of a green screen. Not a particularly exciting or intense ride, if you ask me. And possibly nausea-inducing.

So here are the highlights: the game will be highly modular, your creations will easily be shareable online with other players, and, not to be outdone by RollerCoaster Tycoon World, they too have promised mod support, but only after the full release, which is scheduled for a very vague 2016. Oh, and perhaps the most important bit of news: a paid playable alpha should be coming before the end of the month.

Here is the hour-long livestream and Q&A with Art Director John Laws from March 2nd. You can enjoy it all by yourself, or you can ride along with me and the timestamps I’ll give you below. Or you can just read the words, I guess.

Let’s begin from the playable alpha (6:55): it will only be available to those who have preordered the game at the appropriate tier, but you can still join the lot here for £49.99 if you so choose. There is no precise date, but it should arrive after March 16th and before the end of the month.

At 3:30 you can appreciate John Laws’ rapping skills. He can talk very fast indeed. Impressive. Such a weird contrast with the calm and collected host. You can tell throughout the video that he’s quite flustered and not at all used to talking in front of the camera. Adorable. Look again, at 7:42, look in his eyes as he says “Yeah, and tea, indeed.” I’m not trying to make fun of him, I genuinely find it cute.

Skip to 11:18 to see footage of brands and themes, each with their own unique mascots. These changes won’t just be aesthetic, but they’ll affect the target demographic your park will appeal to. Adults will like the pirate theme, whereas children will be more attracted to the fairy tale set and so on. You will be able to have different areas in your park to make everyone happy.

While you can just use the prefab models (“blueprints”) and build a perfectly fine park using what the designers prepared for you, the game is highly modular and customizable. You will be able to make your own blueprints by mixing and matching the game’s basic elements. They go over this feature at various points, but you can see it in action at 24:00.

Also around 24:00, please notice the tentacle decorations. Yes, everyone is thinking the same thing. I don’t think it’ll be a ride people can actually, huh, enjoy, at least not until modding comes around. Speaking of modding, they mention it at 27:40. “In the future we will absolutely look into doing it.” The press release we received confirms that “the future” means after the game’s full release, unfortunately.

Finally, from 35:10 to 43:20 you can get a tour of what a park could look like using the “vanilla” theme. Rides, shops, people with hats, and all the park things you’d expect. Minus the vomit. Great opportunity for a Viscera Cleanup Detail tie-in, right there.

And that’s it for our tour. Please do not close the browser tab until the ride has come to a complete stop. And if you feel like it you can give John Laws a hug on your way out.


  1. anHorse says:

    Alpha in March, Beta when the expansion comes out

  2. brucethemoose says:

    We have 3 competing games (Parkitect, Planet Coaster, RCT World) trying to recapture the RCT magic, and they’re all taking different approaches. Parkitect is basically RCT2 in Unity, while PC/RCT:W seem like they’re using the more divisive RCT3 as a base.

    Meanwhile, the OpenRCT2 devs are chugging away improving the base game for free… And seeing how multiplayer is already implemented, they’re making good progress.

    I wonder how all this will play out. Seems like too many companies are trying to target the same niche… 1 has to go.

    • Morgan Joylighter says:

      Crazy how we get nothing for so many years and then suddenly all these games at the same time*. Sounds like RTC:W has the name recognition going for it and is trying to create buzz with the “easy modding” claim but everything we’ve heard about the actual gameplay has been negative. I trust Frontier to knock it out of the park though. Haha. Pun actually not consciously intended.

      *there’s also NoLimits 2 which came out in late 2014 which is more of a hard-core ride design simulator, and Screamride by Frontier on Xbox One which is a fantastic physics playground with probably the best destructible structures yet in a video game.

      • trueGamer says:

        Yeah it’s crazy. Probably because of the popularity of RCT videos on Youtube, all the studios realized the interest and started planning those coaster games within the same years.
        NoLimits is great too and about 15 years ago there was a way to import your RCT 1/2 rides into it and ride them in 3D.

    • rochrist says:

      Don’t forget Theme Park Studio, which has some really advanced building and modding tools.

  3. ironman Tetsuo says:

    I love Elite: Dangerous but since playing from the days of the beta I’ve come to learn how best to interpret FD’s marketing talk, and so…
    “Speaking of modding, they mention it at 27:40. “In the future we will absolutely look into doing it.””
    This is not a promise, just a vague acknowledgement of a feature that would be nice to have. There’s a million of these features “promised” for Elite but game development is all so dependant on time, money and priorities and getting carried away with the idea of these features ever existing is the reason Elite suffers so much hate from people who become disappointed when the game can’t keep up with their imagination

    • trueGamer says:

      Thats why people should wait until a game is released. Especially if its something they’ve really looking forward to. Yeah it’s hard if there’s a beta/prototype but playing those for a long time until the game is released, destroys actually the enjoyment of the final game.

      • Cinek says:

        Not just wait, but remember that if they are going to buy it – they should base their decision on what the game is now, not what it might be or what features devs promise.

    • Hobbes says:

      It can’t even keep up with their initial Kickstarter “promises” let alone consumers imaginations. I think Frontier has more immediate worries.

      I’m just sayin’

    • Jediben says:

      Yeah Frontier got the £100 lifetime pass out of me for E:D but no hope in hell of me making purchases on any other games of theirs in future. If I wanted unfulfilled promises of satisfaction in exchange for regular transactions, I’d go to a strip club.

  4. Dinger says:

    So if they don’t make it possible to play as the dinosaur, will a mod make that possible?

  5. Laini says:

    I love all these videos they release, it’s clear this is a game they are really excited about and want to make as great as possible.
    And yeah, John is adorable :D

    RCTW has tried it recently but you don’t get the same feeling, they do come across as people hired to do a job more than anything else.