But the gamepad controls aren’t too fussy
I wasn’t worried about how Planet Coaster: Console Edition would fare on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but if I had been, a recent live hands-off showing from Frontier would’ve helped convince me.
The visual fidelity was there, and while I only saw a theme park in its early, not-too-crowded stage of life, Planet Coaster didn’t show any worrisome performance blemishes in a build running on Xbox One.
I also saw some new character-driven tutorials (which reminded me of Planet Zoo) and the reworked-for-gamepads control scheme (which looks like it’ll click within the first hour once you get the contextual buttons down). One of the highlights was the up-close, first-person coaster-building tool.
Frontier “rebuilt the UI from the ground up” in an attempt to “make the basics super accessible and still retain all the intricacy of the tools,” according to lead designer Andrew Fletcher. “We had a good experience with Jurassic World Evolution and bringing that to console and PC at the same time,” he said. “That kind of showed us that there was an appetite for management games on console platforms.”
On that front, Planet Coaster: Console Edition will come with far more pre-built creations “so that newcomers can more quickly put a park together,” it’ll support mouse and keyboard – “you can just plug in and out and it’ll switch on the fly” – and there’s a Frontier Workshop for sharing user content.
You can browse content like parks, coasters, shops, and scenery items. You can even follow creators, rate items, and edit them. Frontier “built up a whole sharing platform” to “foster the community.”
Next-gen consoles were an “ideal opportunity” to “really go big,” said game director Gary Richards.
He added that if you buy Planet Coaster on PS4 or Xbox One, “all that content and all your save games and everything you create in those versions will be upgraded to the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X version when you then upgrade your console. There’s no reason not to buy it. Everything will transfer across for free.”
With the way these console ports are shaping up, I sincerely hope Planet Zoo is next.