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Atari has bought Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 for $7m

Video game publisher Atari has bought the rights to Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 from developer Frontier for $7m.

(To be clear, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 itself is worth much less – around a fiver on Steam.)

The deal means Atari will be considered the game’s publisher going forward, and is now the sole publisher of all major Rollercoaster Tycoon games – the good ones and the bad ones – in the veteran theme park sim series.

“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rollercoaster Tycoon with [series creator] 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 boss Wade Rosen in a statement.

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Exactly what this might mean for the franchise going forward (are we now due a RCT3 remake? a new mobile port?) is unclear, though Rosen mentioned “new opportunities for Atari” and “benefits to the fans of games across the Rollercoaster Tycoon franchise”.

Atari already owned the rights to most other Rollercoaster Tycoon titles, including (deep breath): Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic, Rollercoaster Tycoon 2, Rollercoaster Tycoon Deluxe, Rollercoaster Tycoon Joyride, Rollercoaster Tycoon World, Rollercoaster Tycoon Puzzle and Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch.

The publisher has plans to create new games and continue selling the old ones, as well as to “explore brand and merchandising collaborations as part of a long-term plan to bring the franchise to new heights.

Atari’s ownership of Rollercoaster Tycoon to date has not been without controversy. Its 2016 effort Rollercoaster Tycoon World was widely panned (we warned readers to stay well clear in Eurogamer’s Rollercoaster Tycoon World review), especially after the launch of Frontier’s own Planet Coaster.

In 2017, Frontier announced it was suing Atari over unpaid royalties relating to Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and claimed it was owed $2.2m.

In 2018, Atari angered fans by asking for money to help crowdfund a Rollercoaster Tycoon port for Nintendo Switch.

In 2020, Atari announced it was turning RollerCoaster Tycoon into a match-three game, dubbed RollerCoaster Tycoon Story.

I could go on. On the upside for Frontier, however, the British company will likely be happy to get the cash, following a period of uncertainty that has prompted it to refocus its efforts after suffering layoffs and lackluster game sales.

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