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.