Theme park games are an unfairly underserved niche. Many gamers have dreamt of building and maintaining their own theme park, but there are only a handful of games that cater to this desire. Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon led the charge during the classic era of gaming, but these days, it falls to Frontier Developments and Planet Coaster to keep the dream alive.
Well, all of that might be about to change with Park Beyond, which is a brand new theme park title coming soon from Bandai Namco. The developer is Limbic Entertainment, whose name you might recognise from Tropico 6 and Might & Magic X: Legacy. Will Park Beyond challenge Planet Coaster’s crown, or will it decline just like the theme park at the core of its story? Here’s everything we know about Park Beyond.
We don’t have a Park Beyond release date yet
Right now, Park Beyond is scheduled to launch on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S at some point next year. We don’t have a release date for the game just yet, unfortunately; its Steam page currently lists a date of “2023”, so it’s likely to be a little while before we learn more about it. However, given that the game looks like it’s probably nearing completion, there’s a good chance we’ll get a full release date within the next few months.
What is the Park Beyond story?
Unlike many other theme park games, Park Beyond actually has a story, and you’ll play through it in order to build the park of your dreams. Park Beyond puts you in charge of a struggling theme park company, whose park is in decline. It’s up to you to turn the park’s fortunes around by building outlandish rides and keeping your customers happy.
As you do so, you’ll have to balance the wishes of two individuals: the park’s founder, Phil, and its chief financial officer Izzy. Phil is a wild imagineer inspired by Willy Wonka and other fictional visionaries like that, while Izzy is all about the financial bottom line (although she’s also quite friendly, so don’t worry!). The game will also feature a full cast of characters outside these two, and the campaign will be story-driven, so if you prefer your theme park sims to have more of a narrative direction, this is the game for you.
Has a Park Beyond trailer been released?
Yes indeed. Park Beyond was first announced around a year ago, at which point it was accompanied by an announcement trailer. You can see that trailer here. It shows off the game’s aesthetic, its characters, and its general setup.
After a period of silence regarding Park Beyond, the game resurfaced at this year’s Gamescom event, complete with new gameplay. The Modular Building Trailer shows off Park Beyond’s building system, which allows you to create some weird and wonderful coasters and other rides by snapping modules together. It’s promising to be an exciting game indeed for theme park enthusiasts.
What will Park Beyond gameplay be like?
The buzz on the ground right now is that Park Beyond plays sort of like a spiritual successor to Frontier’s Thrillville games. While these titles were certainly theme park sims, they took place more on ground level than the average sim does, allowing you to view the experience of your park through the eyes of a guest. Park Beyond won’t be too dissimilar to that, although it focuses more on its narrative.
You’ll be able to construct buildings in Park Beyond using pieces from different themed sets, so if you want to make a building or a ride that transitions from a space theme into a cowboy aesthetic, then you can do that. Ride building is modular, so you’ll be able to snap pieces together and create extensive rides based on existing modules; you won’t need to have any kind of engineering expertise in order to play this game, of course.
Naturally, there’s also the story mode, which will see you taking control of a company that’s down on its luck. Theme parks don’t quite pay like they used to, after all…or perhaps it’s just a lack of vision that’s bringing this park down? Either way, you’ll be called upon to use all of the tools at your disposal in order to bring this park back to its former glory.
It’s not just about the rides, either. If you’re worried Park Beyond won’t be a “proper” management sim, then worry no more; it’s a fully-featured sim that lets you dive into your data and make minor adjustments to fully realise your vision of the perfect park. You can design your shops, recruit staff, decide on budgets, and monitor your guests to make sure they’re all having a good time. Park Beyond really is aiming to be the park sim to end all park sims!
Is a Park Beyond console version on the cards?
Much like Planet Coaster, Park Beyond will also be available on consoles. You won’t need to use a mouse and keyboard to play this one; it’ll be fully playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S at launch as well. The game has not yet been announced to be on its way to Nintendo Switch, but given how graphically and technically demanding it seems to be, we can’t say that’s too much of a surprise. Don’t expect a Switch version to be announced imminently.