We talk to Gary Carr, Creative Director and co-founder of Two Point Studios about the team's debut title, Two Point Hospital, and the inevitable comparison to the classic that inspired it.
With such fondness for the original Theme Hospital, how do you decide what to change and what to keep? Do you feel like you're anticipating how people's nostalgia might play tricks on them?
Ben was initially the yard stick to test this on. We realise obvious comparisons to Theme Hospital were inevitable...it’s impossible not to have some similar approaches when those concepts came from us in the first place. It’s just the way we think...it’s our style I suppose. Saying that, we were always intending to make a game that stood on its own two feet.
Theme Hospital always felt very British in its humour and style, is that something you've tried to hold onto in this iteration?
Funnily enough we were talking about this today. It’s inevitable that the humour reflects the makeup of the team but it isn't intentionally meant to be overtly British. We were definitely more aware this time that references needed to be more internationally understood but a British slant wouldn’t be a bad thing and easier to land for us and the writing team.
There's more than one hospital to take care of this time, how does that mix up the gameplay?
Yes it’s really made a big difference. I love jumping around my foundation. Taking all the features I unlock back to the earlier Hospitals I played.
Hospitals are famous for a lot of paperwork and process, how do you balance the elements of the game which are more simulation with the times you make a decision in the name of fun?
Classic trick… suck the player in with a charming world with visuals that are easy on the eye. Lots of fun and varied animations driven by our AI systems. Initially keep the game-play simple and well paced… then gradually layer on more challenges and abilities to tweak the simulation. Before you know it you are a hardcore hospital administrator farming illness for vast profits!
Without giving too much away, the personality traits the characters have in the game sound like they have the potential to create some really memorable combinations. How have you managed to balance all of those minute details to ensure everyone doesn't just become a raving lunatic?
It’s still an ongoing challenge! Getting the character interactions right is so tied into the traits systems, I’m amazed Mark Webley and Ben Huskins haven't lost the plot!
Other than TH, are there games you have revisited from the past that you still enjoy just as much today?
To be honest most games of a certain age are difficult to truly enjoy like I did when they came out… and include all the ones I worked on!
Is there something in the game you've just managed to sneak in, that you're particularly proud of, and players will have to keep a sharp eye out for?
Chris Knott, our lead animator is busy working on loads of animation alternatives for all the peeps interactions. He’s not supposed to, we are in bug fixing mode now, so don’t tell a soul!
Two Point Hospital releases on PC, Mac and Linux 30 August. Will you be readying your prescription pad and throwing on your lab coat? Let us know in the comments.