Is the new Atari about to about to screw up RollerCoaster Tycoon?

Keep arms and legs within the speculation carriage.

Keep arms and legs within the speculation carriage.

Whoever bought the rights to Atari’s intellectual properties last year isn’t wasting any time in getting a return on that investment. If you go to RollerCoasterTycoon.com right now, you’ll see a landing page trumpeting the announcement that an iOS-exclusive RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 is coming soon.

Oh boy. Longtime readers will know that I am an optimist in most things but even through my eternally rose-colored lenses this RCT 4 has the sickly pallor of a free-to-play resurrection in the vein of Dungeon Keeper, a game that took a similarly storied franchise and ruined it with free-to-play shenanigans. Visit your friends’ parks? Get to the top of the online leaderboards? None of those features are bad in and of themselves, but this game is sure walking and quacking like a freemium duck right now.

I could be wrong. Perhaps this will be a stout, premium-priced theme park management simulator worthy of its fine name, like the Chris Sawyer-supervised Transport Tycoon was last year. There’s a lot we don’t know here. Who bought the rights to RCT after the franchise failed to sell in last year’s Atari auction? What (if anything) does creator Chris Sawyer have to do with this project? Is this game related to the RollerCoaster Tycoon that the old Atari announced and then abandoned in 2012? Who actually are these folks who are calling themselves Atari now — a brand name that’s been worn by more people than a thrift store parka?

So I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath for a proper PC-style simulation… but you never know. I’ll see what I can find out. The trailer is after the jump.

Hat-tip to Christopher Winn.