With an official announcement in the offing, RollerCoaster Tycoon designer Chris Sawyer has spoken out about his latest project, which is said to be very much in line with what he was doing on Transport Tycoon. "Internally we're calling it Locomotion," he told GameSpot last week.
Although Locomotion has been underway for a while, the chances are you haven't heard much about it yet, because up to now the game has been shrouded in secrecy and kept away from outside sources - even publishers. According to Sawyer, he did this to he could "take the risk without having to commit to a particular design and a completion date, neither of which were certain until very recently."
In an interview last week, Sawyer reveals that he's wanted to revisit Transport Tycoon ever since the original was finished, and only the significance of the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise waylaid his work. "Once RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 was finished, I decided to concentrate fully on creating a new transport game, using all the ideas and experience from the previous attempts and from the original game," he says.
Locomotion will apparently stick to being half-construction, half-world watching, and Sawyer says that his goal is "to ensure that the construction process is inspiring and the world-watching process is fun and rewarding." The game will use an isometric camera to help frame as much of the action as possible.
He says it will be simpler to play than the original Transport Tycoon - "if you can master roller coaster construction in RollerCoaster Tycoon, then you'll be adept at building transport routes in Locomotion" - and claims there's always something going on. "The depth of the new game comes from the interaction with the landscape and the activities of competing companies."
On the subject of rival companies, Sawyer also expressed his pleasure at having had such a quantum leap in technology to soak up since the original Transport Tycoon. "With around a hundredfold increase in processor power, I've been able to create much more effective and challenging opponents for players," he says, claiming that Locomotion "could handle many more transport vehicles, larger maps, and multiple-level bridges and tunnels instead of just land-based construction".
Looking forward, Sawyer comments that "I expect I'll stick to the style of games I enjoy most - anything which focuses on construction and management - but who knows what might inspire me in the future?" We know one thing for sure - we're to expect an official Locomotion announcement in the coming days.