THE COFOUNDERS OF TWO POINT STUDIOS CHECK IN WITH THEIR LOVE LETTER TO THEME HOSPITAL
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..