Mucky Foot’s ER Tycoon: First Screen, Cancellation

Since Jim and Alec can’t post today due to ECM attack on RPS’ Bath headquarters (apparently), it strikes me as a good time to get this out of the world. When I was chatting to the Mucky Foot guys for the retrospective feature I wrote about them at the Escapist, Guy Simmons forwarded me a grab of their prototype of ER Tycoon (Mucky Gary Carr being an architect of Theme Hospital, of course). The story of why it didn’t happen is in the main article, but shots of games that never made it – in fact, were never even announced – are always sad things for me. Little snippets of alternative history…

Thanks to Guy for sharing. Of course, if there’s any Devs who’d like to drag something from the vault, our doors are always open. Metaphorically, obv. Burgulars, stay clear.


  1. phuzz says:

    Personally, Theme Hospital was my favourite of the lot, heresy though that is. Seeing the shot above I got all excited for a moment.
    then I bothered to read them wordy things and cried a little :(

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    A Screen To A Sigh.


  3. roBurky says:

    That’s scary similar to Theme hospital in its looks. Although that’s probably due to its prototype status.

  4. Troy says:

    Is it just me, or does this screenshot remind anyone else of Startopia?

  5. frymaster says:

    wow, a similarly-genred game, being designed by the makers of startopia, one of them’s worked on theme hospital and what does it remind people of? Startopia and theme hospital.

    Funny, that :P

  6. Ryan says:

    ER Tycoon, seriously? What’s next lawyer tycoon?

    lessons in brevity:

  7. Reiver says:

    Reading before posting tycoon?

    Nah it’d never catch on.

  8. Rob says:


    Your fantastically subtle self-advertising aside, with games such as Fairy Godmother Tycoon and Luxery Liner Tycoon out I really don’t think ER would have been the straw to break that camel’s back.

  9. Lacero says:

    Making another now is just adding to the camel’s burial mound.

    I like them though :)

  10. Rook says:

    what’s an atack?

  11. Robin says:

    Who is Gary Cary?

    (A suicidal Viz character?)

  12. CannedLizard says:

    Why do they insist on calling these games “Tycoon”? I think most reviews they get back would tell them it’s like calling your restaurant “McSomethings”. I’m just saying it doesn’t imply fine Scottish cuisine.

  13. Sucram says:

    I heard Mucky Foot had an internal profit sharing scheme. Nobody want to leave because at any moment they were about to become SUPER-rich.

  14. Pod says:

    This makes me cry.

  15. David says:

    I have my suspicions that Ryan is a spambot. Either that, or a lonely fellow with nothing better to do than attach a link to his web site to inane comments on every article here.

    It’s always sad to read about canceled games. It’s easy to get wistful thinking of all the brilliant things that could have been. But seeing a screenshot? That’s just an odd curiosity, like seeing a picture of a deleted scene from a movie. Maybe it’s because one screen doesn’t look that much different from the next. There’s no context, so it’s not as meaningful.

    Still interesting to see, though. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen an entire news story devoted to a screenshot of a long-canceled game. Another RPS first?

  16. yutt says:

    Theme Hospital was a blast. The world lost so much with the demise/split of Bullfrog. I never played Startopia, was it any good?

    I have my suspicions that Ryan is a spambot.

    Not a very effective one, as there are nofollows on all comment links. :P

  17. Lucky says:

    Startopia was pretty good. That is, if you could get over the lame campaign (which was practically like a set of tutorial missions) and a tacked-on fighting system.

    I’ll always have a soft spot for Theme Hospital and replay it every few years. So ER Tycoon might’ve really disappointed me by not being as hypnotically fun.

  18. Krushr says:

    After reading this article last night, I spent the majority of today playing Hospital Tycoon. I wish this was on the way, oh well.

  19. Pod says:

    Hospital Tycoon? Wassat?
    Oh, wow. I’ll grab the demo.

    Also, I remember seeing a “games wot were cancelled!” feature in PC Gamer ages ago. I’d never hear of “Tir-Na-Nog” before then but the article made me believe I should be upset for it’s loss.

  20. itsallcrap says:

    Gah! You can’t show us that a remake of Theme Hospital was happening and has now been cancelled in one fell swoop. It’s just cruel.

    It’s like being shown a picture of mangled red suit and antler parts being scraped out of a jet engine as proof that Santa Claus existed.

  21. MuckyGuy says:

    Actually it wasn’t so much cancelled, more a case that we couldn’t get anyone to sign it :-)

    Also, the reason it looks so much like Startopia is because I only had 3 weeks to produce a prototype & so re-used the startopia engine. I also got the artist to reskin the aliens to make them look like hospital staff & patients :-)

  22. Cigol says:


    Seems everyone missed the MuckyFoot employee comment and didn’t give it the slavish praise and attention it deserved. Much like the games they made I dare say…

    Startopia ftw.

  23. wholesale new era hats says:

    The blog article very surprised to me! Your writing is good. In this I learned a lot! Thank you!

  24. new era hat says:

    The blog article very surprised to me! Your writing is good. In this I learned a lot! Thank you!

  25. hearme says:

    With a patent, there are only two parties who are “true believers” about the patent. The inventor is a true believer, because he has spent a lot of time contemplating the possibilities. The other true believer is the marketing company, but their belief is a cynical one, presented only to lure the inventor into costy sucker traps.