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Transport Tycoon's Return Won't Be Free to Play

The upcoming mobile reboot of Chris Sawyer's management classic will be a conventional paid-for title.

News by Pete Davison, .

One of the most common fears when fans hear a game is coming to mobile platforms is that the new version will be free-to-play, and in the process will become riddled with advertising and microtransactions.

It's not an unreasonable fear, to be fair -- EA utterly butchered Bullfrog's classic management sim Theme Park when it brought it back to iOS in 2011, for example. Rather than the complex simulation elements that defined the PC original, Theme Park for iOS was more FarmVille with rollercoasters -- it required precisely zero strategy, and was nothing more than a means of extracting money from its players under the pretense of allowing them to "express themselves" through their own "unique" theme park. And it was a particularly obnoxious example of the oft-criticized business model, too; one ride in the game cost the equivalent of about $60 worth of purchasable in-game currency.

The upcoming iOS and Android port of Transport Tycoon has a new look, but one that still remains true to the original's isometric perspective aesthetic.

As such, some reacted to the recent news that management classic Transport Tycoon was coming to mobile platforms with an understandable degree of caution. Fortunately, however, the game's original creator Chris Sawyer (who was also behind the excellent Rollercoaster Tycoon games) has come forward and, speaking with Gamasutra, noted that the impending remake will emphatically not be a free-to-play title.

"The game doesn't suit the free-to-play revenue model," said Sawyer. "I'm also not a great fan of the way free-to-play titles try to make money through in-game purchases or advertising."

As such, it sounds as if we can expect Transport Tycoon for iOS and Android to be a paid-for title that will likely be completely free of in-app purchases. Sawyer notes that it is "very much true to the Tycoon label and hasn't been watered down whatsoever -- it's probably the most complex game ever to be launched on mobile platforms."

Sounds good to me. You'll be able to try it for yourself later this year.

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Comments 4

  • Avatar for metalangel #1 metalangel 4 years ago
    This is not Transport Tycoon, it looks identical to Locomotion, a game Sawyer released after Rollercoaster Tycoon. Locomotion was inferior to Transport Tycoon in almost all respect, Sawyer is trading on the name.
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  • Avatar for bouncingjunk #2 bouncingjunk 4 years ago
    Oh! 3rd year of college TTD! Planning out tracks on Engineering Forms. Oh yea, I'd spend a few bucks to check this out.
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  • Avatar for pjedavison #3 pjedavison 3 years ago
    @metalangel I'm not sure about that. They've tweaked the graphics (presumably making it look more like Locomotion in the process) but they claim it's a full-on remake of Transport Tycoon itself, not Locomotion.

    Guess we'll see when it comes out. Being a mobile game, it's unlikely it'll be a huge financial risk to give it a try.
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  • Avatar for metalangel #4 metalangel 3 years ago
    @pjedavison I shall be very interested to see just what exactly the game turns out to be. The problem Chris Sawyer faces is competition in the form of the TTDPatch/OpenTTD communities (which I've been a member of for over a decade).

    Both are free and offer a staggering amount of customization as well as a lot of flexibility in how you can build your transport network. Giving that freedom up will feel stifling - much like we felt a decade ago when Locomotion came out. Nicer graphics and sound didn't make up for the tiny maps, broken pathfinding and terrible competitor AI. Even in these screenshots I see unwelcome things returning from Locomotion, notably the hideous brick viaducts covering the landscape like a knotweed on your patio.

    I can't help but feel cynical after the disappointment of Locomotion. TT (and OpenTTD) is perhaps my favourite game of all time, by contrast.
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