Online games news Tedious Retro Gamer, 21-08-2023
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Today something completely different, a curious case of a game, which might or might not be published soon. I know it doesn’t sound exciting or interesting, there are thousands of games that exist only as a list of promises and ideas, most of which will never be finished, but this one is a bit different. This one is definitely coming soon!
What is Trans-Siberian Railway Simulator? I think the title is self-explanatory, but let’s just say that it is an upcoming (supposedly) simulator, in which you will be put in the cabin of a Trans-Siberian Railway locomotive and (supposedly) you will be able to drive it all the way from the Far East to Moscow. It sounds interesting, even ambitious, the game was first presented (as an upcoming title) on Steam back in 2019. The one little snag was that it will be published by Polish company PlayWay SA, which is responsible for many, many "simulator" games, like Thief Simulator, Music Shop Simulator, Car Mechanic Simulator, Garage Flipper, most of which proved to be a bare-bones productions aiming for the least demanding users. This little detail put a shadow over Trans-Siberian Railway Simulator on Steam because many players know what kind of productions PlayWay usually publishes.
Nevertheless, the game was announced in 2018, and in 2019 was marked as "coming soon", which was encouraging. Some people were quite excited about perspective of driving the famous train for hours and hours without paying for each extra kilometre of the track (yes, I’m looking at you, Train Simulator and your "DLCs"). Also, taking care of the locomotive seemed refreshing - you not only will be able to fix the train, you pretty much will have to fix it if you wanna travel further. The author (or authors) also hinted that you will have to deal with local fauna, like bears or wolves, trees falling on the tracks - some good stuff in such a title. And that is how the 2019 has ended, with the game still "coming soon".
In 2020, there were not many updates, the game was still "coming soon", the author (or authors) kept quiet about the date of the premiere or... how the game actually looks like. When the pandemic started, some of the restless users on Steam started to ask some questions, like will this game ever be published or is it just another vaporware from PlayWay? Why the author does not answer any questions on the Steam discussions? Why is the game listed "coming soon" for over a year without any updates? This started a debate about is the game actually dead, or it is still in development. Some of the users were, for some reason, very combative, and tried to explain that because of the pandemic the work on the project must have been paused. It would be a logical explanation if we were talking about something that requires the author to leave the house, but... Come on, it sounds silly in the case of software development, where every single tool and asset is available online. But nevertheless, the debate went on for the rest of the year, even though the users who were, for some reason, defending the creator (or creators) were not even sure if it was being developed in Russia, in Poland or in some other country. The only person who never took part in this debate was the author himself.
In 2021, there were not many updates, the game was still "coming soon", the author (or authors) kept quiet about the date of the premiere, but during summer, some updates were uploaded, like the animation of what the locomotive looks like and (supposedly) how you can start that locomotive. Just a quick reminder - at this point the game was in development for over 2 years and for over 2 years was listed as "coming soon". The debate on Steam went a bit quiet, some users were still adamant that the game in not dead, and they are willing to fight anybody who thinks otherwise. Well, I exaggerated a bit, but only a bit. Other people simply lost the interest in the title that was on their wishlist for over 2 years without any news.
In 2022, the game was still "coming soon", the author was still extremely quiet, although some leaks from unknown sources made it clear that the game is in development, and it will be published very soon. Unfortunately, those were the same sources that were sure it will be published in 2021. And in 2020. There were some updates from the author, in form of simple animations showing some least exciting bits of the gameplay, like "how to start a locomotive" (again), "what the wolves will look like", "how important is vodka in driving a train"... No, I’m not joking, this was one of the factors listed as vital in the gameplay. The "is the game dead" debate went very quiet, mostly because all the people that cared about it were long gone.
But then something unexpected happened! No, of course the game wasn’t published, what kind of fairy tale you think this is? But something almost as exciting as this - the game is in a state that soon the tests will start. Oh yeah, closed tests. Oh yeah, we don’t know who will be taking part in the tests. Or what was the outcome of the tests. Or on what stage the development is. Or when the game will be published. But other than that, it was exciting news. The debate started again - the believers were proven right, that the game is in development, there were many questions about the game features, about which locomotives will be available, will there be a multiplayer option, which stations will be simulated... Yes, Trans-Siberian Railway Simulator was back! And that how the 2022 ended.
In 2023, the game was still "coming soon", but for once, there was an update on the progress of the development - the tests showed some unknown problems, so they had to postpone the premiere again. That is not that a big deal, even huge developers have problems meeting deadlines, and Trans-Siberian Railway Simulator clearly was not made by a huge developer. Oh yeah, and there were one or two tiny details - we still don’t know who was running the tests, what kind of problems they stumbled upon, for how long the premiere was postponed, all we know that it is, definitely, "coming soon".
So what was the curious about this case, you might ask. And you would be right - just a small, niche title, in development for over 4 years now, there are thousands of such titles. It gathered attention from train buffs, who would like to get a chance to drive a famous train in first-person perspective, and one day they will (supposedly). Well, yes, if that was the whole update for 2023, but it wasn’t. In July 2023, the developers published the new animations from the game (supposedly), f.e. what the locomotive will look like, what is the destruction model of that locomotive, how to use the Kalashnikov to kill people... Wait, what?!
Yes, boys and girls, Trans-Siberian Railway Simulator is "coming soon" to your computers, a chance to drive the famous train and... run errands for the mafia. Wow, that escalated quickly! From a niche title that was supposed to be about survival in Siberian winter while taking care of the locomotive, to running through buildings with a Kalashnikov and being a part of organized crime. One more year of development and who knows what will pop up in this title. Nuclear holocaust? You can start a farm on your train? The aliens will show up? Who knows? And if that is not a curious case, then my name is not Susan. Actually, my name is not Susan, I just needed a surprising and dramatic ending. Just like the development cycle of Trans-Siberian Railway Simulator. Which is coming soon (supposedly).
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