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The Cost Of Living: Big Pharma

Big Pharma is “part business sim, part logistics puzzle”, set in the cutthroat world of throat lozenge development. Like Theme Hospital, Big Pharma looks at the price of healthcare through the lens of a management sim, and it seems likely that it’ll bring a strong dose of gallows humour to help the medicine go down.

Being totally altruistic may not be the best BUSINESS PLAN. The uncomfortable truth (is there an ointment for that?) is that some remedies are more profitable than others and illness is good for business.

As well as researching new machinery and active ingredients, you’ll have to cope with a dynamic marketplace and puzzling factory layouts.

From what I can gather, peering at screenshots and reading text on the official site, Big Pharma will have at least three main components. The development of drugs, all the way up from generic treatments to patented superdrugs. The pharma field is fascinating and terrifying – the realisation that your job might be to keep life-saving drugs away from the penniless majority while a patent still protects profits is sickening, but perhaps that can be justified if the earnings are pumped back into the cure-all machine. Probably not.

Dealing with markets and research should be familiar enough to anyone who has played a business sim, but factory construction looks rather unusual. A miniature version of Factorium or Pipemania with added complications? It certainly looks like a puzzle game of sorts.

Factory space is expensive, and those fancy new agglomerators and centrifuges don’t always SLOT nicely together.

You can play Big Pharma at EGX this weekend, where it will be shown to the public for the first time – the game has been picked up for publishing by Positech, developer of Democracy and Gratuitous Space Battles.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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