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Atari are now publishers for the whole RollerCoaster Tycoon series, after buying missing 2004 sequel for $7m

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 has been on quite the ride

Classic management sim series RollerCoaster Tycoon will now be published solely by Atari, making the reborn retro video game company the new stewards for the theme park franchise as it marks its 25th anniversary.

Atari already had the rights to most of the long-running sim series, including its mainline numbered entries and various spin-offs, with one exception: 2004’s RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. That was instead in the possession of Elite Dangerous and Planet Coaster developers Frontier, who previously sued Atari in 2017 over unpaid royalties claimed on the sequel.

It wasn’t the first time the game had been embroiled in legal proceedings, after Atari sued original designer Chris Sawyer in 2007 over an alleged breach of contract relating to an enhanced version of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 co-developed with Frontier. That dispute ended with an out-of-court settlement.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 switched out the series’ original isometric camera for 3D visuals, showcased in the ability to ride your rollercoaster creations in first-person. Other firsts in the game included the chance to choreograph your own fireworks displays to music. Atari’s announcement of the acquisition notes that “Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is considered canon within the theme park simulation franchise” - I admittedly have no idea what being “canon” means in respect of games about managing theme parks, but it tickled me all the same.

Atari and Frontier seem to have since put their disagreements behind them - millions of dollars will do that, I guess - and agreed that Frontier will sell RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 to Atari for $7 million. The deal completes Atari’s collection of the complete franchise and makes them the sole publisher for all RollerCoaster Tycoon games in the future across PC and other platforms. (Thanks, GI.) Atari has also squashed its past beef with Sawyer, who licences the series to Atari, giving them permission to develop new games and other additions to the 25-year-old (and counting) franchise.

That’s something Atari plans to do, saying that “under the agreement, Atari will seek to develop new titles, expand digital and physical distribution, and explore brand and merchandising collaborations as part of a long-term plan to bring the franchise to new heights”.

“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of RollerCoaster Tycoon with Chris Sawyer, I am really pleased that we can unite this important and successful title in the series with the rest of the franchise,” said Atari chairman and CEO Wade Rosen. ”This is going to create new opportunities for Atari as we continue the great work done by Frontier, and bring benefits to the fans of games across the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise.”

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