Small indie studios are all the rage these days, often creating something that outsells the Triple A companies that have dominated gaming for so long. The mainstream trend right now seems to be bringing back gaming gems from the past; Crash Bandicoot being last years big reskin and this year we’re set to get both Spyro the Dragon and Medievil, two games I adores from my childhood. However, remakes don’t need to be the only way to bring a bit of classic gaming back, as Two Point Hospital is coming to prove.
Not too long ago, Kevin Kutlesa of The Mental Attice tagged me in on a post on Facebook by Polygon. It spoke about a game called Two Point Hospital, which claimed to be a spiritual successor to the legendary Theme Hospital. Those of you who have read GeekOut South-West in the past, or seen our Let’s Plays, will be aware of my love for Theme Hospital or, indeed, nearly any Bullfrog title released. So for a big website to report this would be a true successor, that made me skeptical, to say the least. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I read more into the details of the game.
Two Point Hospital then is being sold as an actual spiritual successor, or sequel, to the classic Theme Hospital. In many ways, I couldn’t believe it – How could you capture the charm and the joy of the original? However the key point that has made this title a genuine surprise and interesting – they’re working with ex-Bullfrog designers. But that’s not all. The whole thing is being looked after by Sega and there are not just ex-Bullfrog, but ex-Lionhead and ex-Muckyfoot developers too. This is a crazy development, as no one thought we’d get a team as close to Bullfrog together again, but there’s some sadness to this.
I have a small problem with Two Point Hospital – Part of the joy of the classic Theme Hospital was with the graphics style. 2D animation is so much more appealing for a game that deals with some genuinely gruesome details, such as blood, vomit and head-popping. However, Two Point Hospital has taken a more modern 3D look. I’m not against this; but I hope they do a lot of work on the animation and make it as non-offensive as the original. There is a lot of joy to be had for cartoonified chaos, so I am hoping this can translate to this 3D look without it taking a part of the initial charm away.
Another odd point, again to do with the graphics, will be to do with the end-game levels, when you will need to go through hundreds of patients. All of these 3D models on screen is going to be quite a powerful game, so fingers crossed they get the optimisation down to a tee. Don’t get me wrong, I trust my machine could handle it, as it can play Tekken on max, as well as games such as Planet Coaster and many more. But part of what made Theme Hospital so special was the fact it wasn’t a graphically intense game, but it also wasn’t much of a CPU intensive game either. People need to be able to experience it for themselves.
Still, there’s a few points that I hope this game takes away. I hope the game has an incredibly catchy OST, so we can all enjoy some awesome music. I hope we get some snarky commentators telling people to stop vomiting in the corridors. I really hope that the game remembers what made Theme Hospital so good – Not just the silly diseases, but the stupidly funny little commentary about video games. It needs to be silly, it needs to be quirky and it needs to remember to not just tell everyone what to do. Give people a basic, really quick tutorial – and drop them in it.
The game is looking really clean already, so I hope they keep it up! So long as they keep optimisation in mind, along with catchy music and to not deviate from the core experience of Theme Hospital too much, then we’re onto a winner. I trust this’ll go well – So what do you think? Do you think this will be a great successor to the Bullfrog classic, or will this be another failed cash-in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Psst, Two Point Studios – Won’t lie guys – If you want a free tester, hit me up on Twitter! Just saying!