Reviews - Updated on March 30, 2022

There are a lot of amusement park simulators – from the traditional Planet Coaster and Rollercoaster Tycoon to the fantastic Jurassic World Evolution, where dinosaurs sometimes dine tourists. So coming up with something new in this format is not an easy task. However, the staff at Limbic Entertainment, also known for their work on Tropico 6, are full of enthusiasm. As part of Gamescom 2021, they held a press presentation of Park Beyond and then answered a few of our questions. Let’s see what took two years of work and creative searches.

Many people know the feeling in the spirit of Robinson Crusoe: the game seems to land you on an unfamiliar land, shows clay, leaves, sticks and says: “Create!”, And then everything develops according to the sandbox principle. Someone is confused, and who is not bored with himself, he entertains himself. Park Beyond has slightly different rules: the simulator introduces all the mechanics gradually, and the story campaign, consisting of missions of varying difficulty, helps in this. In addition, characters act here – some will take an active part in the development of the park, while others will put sticks in the wheels. According to the developers, the story will bring both dramatic surprises and the expected controversy at briefings about new attractions. However, to begin with, the park still needs to be built. And here the creation of Limbic will be revealed from a very unexpected side.

In Park Beyond, you not only choose the type of terrain and arrange the slides with swings to your heart’s content. The game includes complex management and a creative element. You can’t lure many tourists to your grandfather’s carousel with horses – for successful business development, you need to not only feed tourists burgers and sell them souvenirs, but also surprise them with the originality of entertainment. Thanks to the modular system, it is possible to assemble the most bizarre rides from the basic elements: even a structure made of Ferris wheels connected in the manner of gears in a watch, even a roller coaster with jumping over an abyss. The developers called this principle the word “impossification” (Impossification), and it forms the basis of creative gameplay.

Park Beyond: Interview

However, despite the flight of fancy, the virtual universe obeys the laws of the real world. The attractions are affected by gravity and inertia – the cart cannot be thrown from the rails into the air if the acceleration is insufficient. And visitors to the park are overwhelmed by quite ordinary passions: they want to eat, stare at something interesting and ride like a breeze. The game simulates their wishes, finances and their willingness to spend on this or that entertainment. So you will also have to take into account the age of tourists, as well as their marital status – not every dad will drag his wife and children to extreme swings, which are either thrown into the sky or immersed under water. The thematic design options complete the picture – Limbic employees showed a western and Candyland at the presentation. Like the attractions, the scenery is assembled from modules, which opens up the possibility of combining them freely.

Park Beyond’s development leads, Limbic Entertainment Managing Director Stephan Winter and Creative Director Johannes Reithmann, graciously agreed to answer our questions. So we were able to learn more about what the game will be like at release.

MoiNhat: At the presentation, you said that the park adapts to visitors of different ages – there are purely children’s rides, and there are adults. Will it be possible to organize completely adult entertainment, like in Las Vegas, for example?

Reitmann: There are three target audiences for visitors: adults, teenagers and families. You can only build a park for one of these groups of people. If you want, arrange everything exclusively for adults. In the story, by the way, there will be a mission where you will have to choose one of the target groups, at least the same adults, and open many shops, slides and other attractions for them.

SG: Will I be able to open a casino?

Wynter: You know, it’s a cool idea – you need to take it on a pencil. But seriously, opening a casino in the park will not work, just like building a Las Vegas boulevard. But there are shops, food courts, souvenir shops and a bunch of modules from which you can assemble something visually similar. There will be no gambling, of course.

SG: How many topics like Candyland are there now? And can you make your own designs?

Winter: I can answer the first part of the question. We now have two topics – the Wild West and Candyland. But we will introduce more themes for the release of the game. It is important that they are all interconnected, so that they can be mixed and combined to create new spaces on this basis. As for the second part of the question, it’s hard to do without spoilers. We will talk about creating themes and sharing them between users in the future. But we know what people really like, trust me.

SG: Okay, if I want to build something in the style of Star Wars, can I do it?

Reitmann: Without looking into the future, I will say this. You already have two themes whose elements can be recolored and textured. For example, take something from a western (I don’t know if something from Candyland is suitable for this, haha) and paint it like metal to assemble something like a starship. This is how it can work.

Park Beyond: Interview

SG: Tell us more about the landscape: how to change the terrain to build such an attraction that I have in mind?

Winter: We offer many different maps and terrain types that already include a lot of detail, such as hills, cliffs, rivers, lakes – all of which can be used in the construction of attractions. The player is free to move these objects around to organize the space the way he likes.

SG: And if I want to remove the forest from the map, I calmly do it …

Winter: No problem, a few seconds and the forest is gone.

SG: Building modular rides will be one of the features of the game. Is there a security check mechanic, like in real life?

Reitmann: You’ll have what’s called a “ghost cart” to ride the slides after they’re built. If the track is not finished or there are some problems with it, it cannot be put into operation. This is what a security check looks like in a game. Therefore, there will only be accidents with your “ghost cart”. There may be nuances with speed: for example, if the mountain is too high for a trailer with people to drive there, or the attraction does not accelerate enough to jump. All this can be tested in a special mode, and after the test is completed, you get a rating that determines the feature of the attraction – let’s say this is such a rollercoaster ride, 40% of which takes place in free flight. According to the rating, you can determine which visitors to the park will like the attraction and which will not. The family is unlikely to go for something extreme, but teenagers will love this kind of entertainment.

SG: Is it possible that the failure of the attraction will affect the rating of the entire park? Let’s say I’m playing and I get a message that one of the visitors has crashed, so my park is losing popularity.

Winter: Yes, rides can break down due to wear and tear. Therefore, you need to hire personnel who will monitor the condition of the equipment and change faulty parts. Or you will have to lock the attraction with a padlock so that no one uses it. But we do not show accidents and deaths of visitors. If you build a very dangerous slide, people can get sick, even throw up, but we do not show a physical simulation of a disaster in the park.

SG: How about solving the day-to-day problems of the park, such as cleaning up garbage left by tourists, connecting water and electricity?

Reitmann: The game involves personnel management. You need to hire cleaners, doctors to help people who suddenly feel bad. And also mechanics to repair equipment, as already mentioned. Artists, for example, will also …

Winter: Hush, hush, no spoilers.

Reitmann: In general, yes, there will be a solution to everyday problems. And this is part of the successful development of the park, since we have a developed visitor simulation system. They have certain needs, requirements for food, entertainment and space for relaxation. So the staff will help you deal with it all.

Park Beyond: Interview

SG: By the way, about the behavior of tourists. The mood of the citizens in your previous game, Tropico 6, was also well simulated. Did you take some work from there to Park Beyond?

Winter: Yes, Park Beyond has a very complex human simulation in which we use thousands of different parameters that affect statistics. For example, the amount of money in each visitor’s pocket and how much he wants to spend his money specifically in your park are taken into account. The implementation of this system ultimately depends on the capabilities of computer hardware, and we strive to transfer the entire possible experience from interacting with the game not only to PC users, but also to owners of next-generation consoles.

As for the second part of the question, we gained a lot of useful knowledge in the process of creating Tropico 6. And we took something for simulating visitors to Park Beyond. But there are already a lot of technically complex things here: animations are everywhere, something is constantly happening, a physical simulation of wagons on the slides is working, and all this makes different sounds. The challenge for us was to make sure all aspects of the game work equally well on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

SG: I would like to know more about the multiplayer aspect of the game. Can my friend and I build two parks in the neighborhood or equip our common park together?

Reitmann: We cannot yet answer this question in full detail. But let me tell you something. For starters, we’re making a predominantly single-player game. But we understand that if the game is about creativity, users will want to share their creations among themselves and be inspired by what others have created.

Winter: I can clarify one point right away. Building a park together in the same session with a friend is a very cool opportunity and a great idea, but it is extremely difficult to implement it in practice. We won’t have that.

SG: At the presentation, you said that the game will have a first-person view to ride the rides on your own. This capability would go well with virtual reality technology. Do you plan to add a VR mode to the game?

Winter: Actually, we have already added VR, tested it, and, frankly, there is little pleasure from such a mode. You are pleased for literally 30 seconds, and then discomfort sets in, because there are many sharp turns, elevation changes, insane speeds on the rides. In general, we discussed this idea among ourselves and decided not to use virtual reality in our game. At least for now.

Park Beyond: Interview

SG: One of the advantages of the game you declare its accessibility. Are we talking about beginner-friendly or handicap-friendly settings?

Winter: Both are true. We have already made Tropico 6 easy for everyone. This is part of our development and our mission, so that everyone starts with the basics and gradually moves towards some more complex things. As for people with disabilities. Firstly, we use subtitles in our production, including, as far as I understand, there will be a Russian translation. Secondly, there is a mode for colorblind people. Finally, we focus on connecting different controllers – there is no need to use only a mouse and keyboard if you need something else. That is, we meet both beginners and people with disabilities.

SG: What kind of post-release support is planned?

Winter: To be honest, the support plan isn’t 100% complete yet. I can say with great confidence that the game is designed for a long period, for many years of existence. And before the release, we will talk about our plans in more detail.

SG: Will there still be free add-ons?

Winter: Of course. Free content for Park Beyond will be released, I vouch for that.

The release of Park Beyond is scheduled for next year. The game will be released by publisher Bandai Namco for next generation computers and consoles. It is known that an unusual amusement park simulator is being developed on the Unreal engine, which was also used to create the previous creation of Limbic – Tropico 6.

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