Two Point Hospital: Following in the footsteps of Theme Hospitals is not easy
At a time when my “pile of shame” was basically non-existent, there were few games that I occupied myself with longer than Theme Hospital. It was the beginning when I came into contact with this industry on the PC, which developed into my hobby and my job. At that time I passed the time with games like Command & Conquer, Wing Commander, the Bundesliga manager and Bullfrog’s hospital simulation.
The latter exuded an idiosyncratic, never exaggerated humor and – ho ho – infectious charm. At the same time it still offered a high replay value after numerous hours. How can the hospital be made more efficient? How do patients heal better? And is there enough money in the account? The administration of the hospital was an increasingly difficult task, the absurd diseases caused regular laughs.
Mark Webley and Gary Carr, two of the original Theme Hospital developers, want to build on this with their new Two Point Hospital project. In it you also oversee a hospital, expand it and take care of the crazy complaints of your patients. A spiritual successor, at least that is a term that is often read.
“I just want to say that the term ‘spiritual successor’ did not come from us,” says Two Point Studios’ Gary Carr in an interview with SamaGame.de. “Honestly, comparisons were to be expected. We don’t look back at our previous work. Mark and I have had a huge impact on what made Theme Hospital the game it is. It’s part of us and so it can be Don’t ignore it completely. It’s inevitable that people will see a connection between the two games. “
One of the patients has a glowing bulb.
The idea for Two Point Hospital matured in the developers’ minds over many years: “Mark and I have talked many times over the years about going back and taking and spinning on some of the ideas we had in our Bullfrog days. It is It’s been 21 years since we worked there together, it took so long to make that happen through our work at Lionhead and my work at Muckyfoot Productions, “he explains.
The fact that many players see Two Point Hospital as the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital is fueling expectations and pressure. Carr doesn’t mind: “I like the pressure … it keeps us sincere,” says Carr. “Yes, there are some concerns, for example about the players’ memories and that they are looking at what we were doing through rose-tinted glasses. That some people think we should have let it go is inevitable. But these games are part of us. And as middle-aged men, it’s time to do the things we want to do while we still can! “
Webley adds that the team is thinking of letting as many people as possible play Two Point Hospital before launch. With this endeavor, the two want to make sure that they hit the bull’s eye with the game and not forget what the players loved and hated in the past.
Ghosts and mummies are not uncommon to see in these hospitals.
For Carr, the charm and humor of Theme Hospital and other Bullfrog games were key in reaching a large audience. They had depth and at the same time appealed to many players, which is why Bullfrog fans came from the casual and core gaming areas. Webley adds that at the time he appreciated working in a small, dynamic team that could quickly implement and try out new ideas.
The developers do not have any problems thinking up diseases, but according to Carr, they seem to have a weakness for that. The whole team thinks about crazy ideas and scenarios around fictional diseases and their healing methods.
“If we laugh at an idea, it’s a good start. If this thought can be developed, it is also a good indication that it could end up in the game. Some don’t make it and that’s fine. I enjoy doing it, to worry about these ideas. None of this is really well thought out. We just send ideas around our office. It honestly reminds me of why we make games: to have fun during the creative process. “
There are numerous patients to care for.
Compared to Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital is equipped with a rotating camera. That sounds like a simple feature, but it’s actually more complex than you think: “It was a tricky business getting this right and we’re still fine-tuning it. Having a fixed, isometric camera made it easy for us at Theme Hospital, there There weren’t any camera decisions to make. At Two Point Hospital, you tilt, zoom, and rotate the camera, and it’s all about getting that across to the players, “explains Webley.
Carr adds, “The free camera gives players more leeway to build a more varied and interesting world. It was always a little frustrating when walls covered a lot of the furniture and character interactions back then.”
A title with an indefinite ending awaits you here in a playful way. As Webley explains, the goal is to build a successful health organization. The team gives the players a direction and meanwhile they want to keep you busy with tasks and challenges. Different types of player types they want to appeal to with the different aspects of Two Point Hospital. For example, it is possible to revisit previously built hospitals and apply the things you have learned in the course of the game to them.
As in Theme Hospital, you build your own hospital.
At its core, Two Point Hospital is a single player title. The developers have also integrated a “more social game experience”, the design of which was a “more interesting challenge”. “We have come down an interesting path here,” promises Webley. “We’ll talk more about it when it’s all final.”
In the past, theme hospital games like Theme Prison or Theme Resort were planned, which should take up a similar game principle. This mind game was never implemented, with Two Point Hospital the developers are picking up on this vision again.
“We both left Bullfrog shortly after Theme Hospital was finished. Mark went ahead of me to co-found Lionhead Studios. I later joined Muckyfoot as a director. Although EA continued with the franchise for a while, they gave our plans for the series after we left, “explains Carr. “After Two Point Hospital? I can’t give you a full picture of our future work, but we’re definitely planning more games in our fictional world of Two Point County.”
Different areas are used to examine and treat patients.
Once a popular genre, simulations like Theme Hospital have faded into obscurity over the years and are now a niche. For Carr, games are cyclical, so it might be time for more games in this genre. At the same time, he doesn’t think they’re reviving the genre as other studios continue to develop great “God Games”.
“I don’t think Theme Sims were underrepresented. They’re not in the limelight as they used to be,” says Two Point Studios’ Ben Hymers. “Lately there have been some great sim games, especially from smaller, independent development studios. They are great. They lack the budget to market them appropriately. Or to fine-tune them to achieve a quality level with which they can find the target audience they deserve. “
In Sega, the makers have found a strong partner who can help. The development of the publisher in recent years with an increased PC focus made the collaboration interesting for Two Point Studios.
Is the clown a patient or an employee? We’ll find out later this year.
“We noticed Sega’s shift towards the PC, but to say we picked her would be a lie. Basically, they came up to us. We considered self-distribution. Ben Hymers (Founder / Partner) had contacts at Sega and so we had a meeting. Our luck was that Sega was looking for a team that could develop a good quality sim game. That made it easy for us, “reveals Carr.
Two Point Hospital is currently scheduled to be released on PC in late 2018. Will other platforms follow? “Just wait and see!” is all the developers say about it. That doesn’t sound like a no and gives hope for implementations for consoles.