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Fans of Theme Hos­pi­tal will love Two Point Stu­dios’ new game

Bull­frog’s Theme Hos­pi­tal was a big deal in the late Nineties, ap­pear­ing on PC and later Playsta­tion and gar­ner­ing a cult fol­low­ing.

Two ex-mem­bers of Bull­frog, Gary Carr and Mark We­b­ley have now formed a new com­pany, Two Point Stu­dios, along with Ben Hymers and their first re­lease is an ob­vi­ous trib­ute to the clas­sic Bull­frog game. We made an ap­point­ment to learn more.

How does it feel mak­ing a spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to Theme Hos­pi­tal af­ter all these years? Gary Carr: Never felt bet­ter! It re­ally feels like we are mak­ing some­thing that we are all very pas­sion­ate about. It feels very nat­u­ral and in­stinc­tive to be do­ing this right now.

What ben­e­fits does the iso­met­ric view­point of­fer?

Ben Hymers: It’s not ac­tu­ally iso­met­ric! It’s a per­spec­tive cam­era with a very nar­row field of view (about 17 de­grees or so), po­si­tioned quite a long way away. We felt that gave us the best of both worlds. It looks al­most iso­met­ric which gives a ‘retro’ feel, but it still gives you depth cues so you can in­tu­itively get a feel for the sizes and dis­tances of things in the world.

Have you learnt any lessons from work­ing on the orig­i­nal Theme Hos­pi­tal? How is Two Point Hos­pi­tal go­ing to com­pare?

Mark We­b­ley: Well, we’ve had 20-odd years mak­ing games since then, so hope­fully we’ve learned some­thing! We are also work­ing with a re­ally smart and tal­ented team, when it was largely Gary and I mak­ing all the de­ci­sions back then. I think the game was re­ally hard back then, and whilst a chal­lenge isn’t a bad thing, it did mean that you could eas­ily hit a brick wall and not get any fur­ther. I am not sure how many peo­ple com­pleted the game and saw the fi­nal videos and the game cred­its!

Will any of the ear­lier ail­ments re­turn or are they all new ones? GC: We have come up with a whole bunch of new ill­nesses. We re­ally wanted to try and leave Theme Hos­pi­tal alone for all sorts of rea­sons, and we had so long to riff on new ideas it wasn’t dif­fi­cult to move on and come up with a whole load of new features and weird and won­der­ful af­flic­tions, and, of course, ways to cure the peeps.

There's a lot of drama sur­round­ing the NHS cur­rently, are you con­cerned this might re­flect on your game?

MW: When Gary and I made Theme Hos­pi­tal 20-odd years ago there was a lot of con­tro­versy around the NHS then too, so not much has changed, in that re­gard. We had some crit­i­cisms that we were mak­ing a sick game that was of­fen­sive to NHS staff who were do­ing a great job as best as they could and I even went on the ra­dio to de­fend the game – the crit­i­cisms were from peo­ple that hadn’t even played the game. If we get any drama re­flected on our game, I think it would be pos­i­tive!

Will you be able to over-in­flate an avatar of Jeremy Hunt?

MW: One of the VIP Health In­spec­tors may bear a re­sem­blance! He thinks ev­ery­thing is fine and there’s noth­ing to worry about, but he’ll cut your fund­ing any­way! We’re based in Farn­ham and Jeremy Hunt is our lo­cal MP.

Two-point Hos­pi­tal is sched­uled to re­lease this year. Keep your eyes peeled in RG for a re­view.

if we get any drama re­flected on our game, i think it would be pos­i­tive Mark We­b­ley

(Top left) Ben Hymers, Gary Carr (top right) and Mark We­b­ley (bot­tom) are hop­ing retro fans will en­joy their mod­ern take on a clas­sic game.

[PC] Early footage sug­gests that the team has eas­ily cap­tured the hu­mour that was so preva­lent in Theme Hos­pi­tal.

[PC] It will look in­stantly fa­mil­iar to fans of Theme Hos­pi­tal, but Two Point Hos­pi­tal is very much its own game..

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