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'Rollercoaster Tycoon 3' developer sues Atari for $2 million in alleged unpaid royalties

Planet Coaster: Official Launch Trailer
Planet Coaster launched back in November to a very positive reception from longtime Rollercoaster Tycoon fans, who hailed the game as a worthwhile successor to the classic series. The game’s creator, Frontier Developments, was previously responsible for Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and it now claims that game publisher Atari withheld more than $2 million in royalties for that game.

According to TMZ, Frontier Developments calculated that it was owed approximately $3.37 million in royalties for Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 based on the game’s sales figures, but Atari only paid $1.17 million. The publisher then “delayed” payments after Frontier requested an audit of Atari’s sales reports — Frontier claims that a separate source showed far higher sales figures for the game than Atari has divulged at the time.

“We can confirm Frontier is currently pursuing a complaint against Atari. We have attempted to resolve this issue without legal action since April 2016. We have so far been denied our contractual right to audit by Atari, and we are unfortunately left with no other way to resolve our concerns,” said Frontier COO David Walsh in a statement to Eurogamer.

Digital Trends has requested a response from Atari, and we will update this piece should the publisher release a statement.

Though Planet Coaster has, for all intents and purposes, successfully taken the roller coaster simulator torch from Rollercoaster Tycoon, Atari hasn’t given up on releasing games. Rollercoaster Tycoon World was released just a day before Planet Coaster, but it received scathing reviews. Critics took issue with the game’s stability, performance, generic visual style, and low difficulty, and saw it as wholly unnecessary in a world where Planet Coaster exists.

Rollercoaster Tycoon World did fare slightly better than the series’ previous effort, Rollercoaster Tycoon 4. However, the iOS game was littered with microtransactions and was derided both by professional critics and series fans.

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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