Zynga today announced the launch of its newest “Ville” title, CoasterVille.
The game is a theme park management sim, which is a new direction for the “Ville” franchise. Players are given a small fairground and tasked with building the world’s greatest theme park complete with themed lands, shops and rides. CoasterVille was developed by Zynga’s Los Angeles office, which previously developed Empires & Allies for mid-core audiences.
Zynga Los Angeles General Manager Amir Rahimi tells us games industry veterans comprise the development team and, “the core group of us grew up with theme park building games. We thought we could adapt them into a really fun way for the social gaming space.”
Like the other “Ville” titles, the game is based on laying out and managing a community. Users place different types of structures around their property, and the layout plays a large part in how successful the park is. Essentially, areas with a high amount of foot traffic will generate more happiness. An example of this Rahimi showed us was a larger park where the central square was filled with shops and rides, which were all doing brisk business, while an outlying area with less foot traffic was going way slower.
Of course, the titular roller coasters play a major role in the game. Players can build and expand a coaster, which is based on one of the game’s various land themes (we got to see three themes in the demo: fantasy, frontier and jungle adventure). When a coaster is built, players are able to choose what direction the tracks will go and then can continue to build the ride one section at a time. After a new section of track’s been laid down, users can modify them to include exciting features like loops, corkscrews and enclosed sections. Even after a coaster’s been fully built, it can be re-designed at the drop of a hat; all players have to do is drag and drop the segments into new areas. This modular construction mechanic will allow users to dynamically adjust the layout of an area.
Players will also manage the area outside the park, mainly on a small stretch of road housing business that generate construction resources and hotels used to house guests once a resort reaches a certain size/fame milestone. Meanwhile, the main entrance and stores are the main producers of coins, the game’s soft currency. Rides and businesses operate on a timer, so they need to be turned on in order to attract guests or satisfy their need for things like food and bathroom breaks. Players can also “boost” (speed up) a ride, which attracts more guests towards it, but will actually make them sick if they boost an attraction too many times.
Aside from the standard social features where players can visit their friends’ parks, the game incorporates one’s friends into their parks’ populations. The game mixes and matches players’ friends’ names and creates characters using combined first and last names; Rahimi tells us he once found a guest with his wife’s first name and his boss’s last name. When players mouse over a specific guest, a bubble with the character’s name and what they want/need is displayed.
Rahimi also filled us in about what some of the post-launch plans for the game. Within a couple of months, the game will expand to let players build a full vacation resort next to the park. In addition to that, there will soon be an option to construct a park mascot who can tour around friends’ parks and generate additional fame.
Theme park sims aren’t terribly prevalent on Facebook, even though the PC game market has been well-saturated with them for the past couple of decades. Back in March, 6waves co-published Rollercoaster Mania from developer Noisy Duck, which peaked in May with 160,000 daily active users. Since then, the game’s fallen to 40,000 DAU. As a result, it’s probably fair to surmise that Zynga will have the top-performing theme park social game within a few weeks.
Zynga’s been seeing a good deal of success with its “Ville” games lately, thanks to the major traffic gains of FarmVille 2 and CityVille 2. That said, this is the first time the company’s launched an original “Ville” IP since it launched The Ville, which saw dramatic traffic losses after its summer debut.
CoasterVille is schedule to launch today on Facebook and soon on Zynga’s own Zynga.com.