It may have received a critical mauling, but Atari says it's not about to give up on its new Rollercoaster Tycoon game.
The CEO of Atari says Rollercoaster Tycoon World is already looking and playing better than it was a week ago, and that there are 55 full-time staff working on the project – a number that rises to around 80 when you factor in contractors.
Rollercoaster Tycoon World has gone through multiple developers and was due to arrive at the end of 2015. It finally turned up on Steam's Early Access - a platform for unfinished titles - last month, with the user reviews being ‘mostly negative'.
We have had a number of negative reactions from launch,” said Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais. But if you look at the number of concurrent users – people playing the game – I think it is pretty good. It's a long run, this isn't a hit and run project, we're not about to walk away. There is a lot to come, and we have a post-launch plan to introduce new features.”
One of the game's criticisms focused on its low quality visuals, and Chesnais says this was due to the team being nervous about the game's performance.
I take the blame on that,” he said. We were just a bit shy and afraid of things like frame rates. Before we launched Rollercoaster Tycoon World we were receiving feedback about frame rate issues that we weren't seeing on our end sometimes. So we thought there might be a disconnect and that perhaps we were asking too much from players in terms of performance from their computers. So I said let's put the focus on performance over the visual quality.
We could have released the game in 4K, but we decided to go in the direction of performance over visual quality. I think the balance hasn't been right, so that is why we have effectively reversed it with our latest update.”
He added that the firm has read all the online reviews, although not all of them have been helpful.
Chesnais added: If you work two years on a project and love your game, and then you release it and you have positive and negative reviews and other reviews – and by ‘other' I mean people who trash the game even if they've barely played it – then, well, you have to love your job, right?
What I want to say is that we do read what people are writing. Even if it is positive or negative, we look at it and work out how to make the game better. We do read all the reviews. We do care.”