A closer look at that spiritual Theme Hospital sequel

The news that Bullfrog & Lionhead veterans Gary Carr and Mark Webley were leading the development of a spiritual sequel to beloved 90s manage’em-up Theme Hospital seemed to go down rather well last week. So much of PC gaming’s past has been revisited in recent years, but the design’n’build’n’simulate’n’giggle formula used so successfully in Theme Park, Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper hasn’t enjoyed anything like the degree of 21st century resurrection that, say, pre-2000 RPGs have. Two Point Hospital is planned to rekindle that flame whilst doing a few things of its own, as well as being the first part of a wider universe of Two Point sims.

But while I coaxed plenty of detail about the whys and wherefores out of Carr and Webley, we didn’t get to see all that much of the game itself. This new video shows off a fair bit more, along with chatter from the devs about their plans for it.

Half the fun of these sorts of games is simply watching people beetle around, your construction growing busier and busier as you add more to it. The clips in the below give some sense of how the bustle will look in motion, and how an Aardman Animations-inspired aesthetic is going to translate to real-time characters.

Also: real humans superimposed onto hospital backgrounds. At least, I’m pretty sure they haven’t decorated the studio with ward beds and IV drips, but I’d be impressed by their commitment if they had.

Still no word on a release date beyond ‘2018’ yet, but, as the devs told me previously, this will be a straight-to-full release game – no early access or Kickstarter here.

19 Comments

  1. Splendid Snail says:

    I think the title should read ‘A closer look at that spiritual Theme Hospital sequel’.

    • Bull0 says:

      Verily. And while I like the look of the game, I’m skeptical of anyone who thinks of their game like they’re launching a series – just seems artificial. Make a good game, if it does well make another. That’s how that works.

      • Someoldguy says:

        On the contrary, I think it shows vision to want to produce a thematically similar set of games and work out how to make that happen before developing the first. It’s a lot harder to inject that if you don’t have the core planned out beforehand.

        Similar to trying to introduce a big feature like multiplayer into a game after you’ve built most of the single player part. It rarely goes well.

    • Sakkura says:

      Looks like a simple brain fart. Wonder if the hospital can cure that…

  2. Hunchback says:

    It’s really incredible how long i’ve been hoping for this to happen! Theme Hospital is one of my dearest “early-teens” memory of gaming (with Theme Park being the first ever “theme” game i played and Hospital the one i spent the most time with)…

    I just hope it lives up to the original (that i still have installed on my machine oO), i don’t care what people say.

    • celticdr says:

      Agreed, I loved Theme Hospital as a teen, though the difficulty spiked on level 4 or 5 astronomically and I stopped playing it out of frustration (ahhh, my teen memories of rage quitting).

      Hopefully their plans will work and they make this game more accessible and less punishing than Theme Hospital was.

      • WoodGuyThreepBrush says:

        In my opinion, the most punishing and annoying thing about Theme Hospital was 2 or 3 successive earthquakes causing your machines to blow up, leaving a permanent blight on the sheen of your hospital that you couldn’t do anything about to remove.

        Even if I had loads of space, that was always a rage quit moment for me.

  3. Vurogj says:

    I’m failing to see how this is anything other than “Theme Hospital, but not made 20 years ago”.

    I’m also going to be that guy and wonder how much more white and male they can make the dev team.

    Having said that, there’s no reason it won’t do well, it looks like they have a lot of the same talent involved from the last TH, so it’s unlikely they’ll fuck it up. I’m just not sure why anyone who played the original will want to play this one.

    • Crafter says:

      I can’t really remember how the interface holds up, that’s generally the part that does not age well (for example I would love to be able to drag over an area to dig in dungeon keeper).

      Other than that, yeah, it feels like a clone of a game that did not needed one.

      I wonder what it will add to the formula, because I am not interested at all in a straight remake.

    • Troubletcat says:

      I played the original, and I still play it from time to time. It holds up pretty well.

      I definitely want to play this one though, because, y’know, even if a 20 year old game holds up pretty well, it’s still a 20 year old game. And if it’s been keeping me entertained for all those years, an revival is good news!

    • BlueBanana says:

      “I’m also going to be that guy and wonder how much more white and male they can make the dev team”
      aside from being utter nonsense, how is that even remotely relevant to the game?

      • mike69 says:

        I’m not the OP but I would imagine they feel it would have the same impact as such a lack a of diversity would have on almost any product design. Diverse teams make better products, they have a wider and more varied life experience. Unless the product you are making is as singular as the demographic making it then it tends to be a hurdle. For example the difference in experience between a man and woman visiting the hospital is massive – and something that could be overlooked with a potentially singular-minded team. Note that I’m not just talking about specific illnesses, it’s about more than that, the whole experience.

        There are of course other ways to mitigate and allow for this, but ensuring that the people working on the product reflect those using it is one of the simplest. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that people are best at creating products for themselves.

        This isn’t always possible for a variety of reasons, and I wouldn’t attack someone for not having that diversity (half the games I buy are made by 1 person) – it can even be unattainable at times, but I think it’s perfectly fair to note it and be wary of how it might impact the game. Humans are a big part of what a game turns into, seems strange to pretend it wouldn’t have an impact on the output.

        But I assume when you say it’s ‘utter nonsense’ that in fact their team is diverse, and this is all irrelivent anyway.

        • BlueBanana says:

          First of all, thanks for that civil reply. I honestly expected some hateful replies after I sent my comment. I even was thinking about deleting it.

          Regarding your first paragraph:
          I can see how a diverse team could potentially make a better product. I would look up data supporting that claim, but I can definitely see the potential benefits of a diverse team.

          Why I said “utter nonsense”:
          OP literally said: “[…] how much more white and male they can make the dev team”, implying there was intent to make the team white and male. (also, isn’t that by definition racist and sexist?) ;)
          I don’t think having a diverse team is nonsense, quite the contrary. But I do think accusing them of intentional not having a diverse team – based on a short video – is nonsense.
          To me that seems just childish and destructive behavior. No evidence at all, but jumping straight to conclusions.

          So, no I don’t think it was fair to note it – at least not the way OP did it.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      “Theme Hospital, but not made 20 years ago”

      Sounds great!

    • kobadow says:

      When building a team in virtually any discipline, the only diversity that matters is intellectual diversity. The melanin content of your skin should be very far down on the list, if on the list at all.

      I’m really looking forward to this game; I have very fond memories of the original.

      • battles_atlas says:

        Well, pedantic perhaps but generally when people talk about intellect they’re referring to its “size”, as a metaphor for intelligence. So “intellectual diversity” would suggest you think the team should be a mix of smart and dumb people, no?

        What I think you mean is more like cultural diversity, and for that skin tone is a far from perfect proxy, but does have some correlation.

  4. Chimpanzee says:

    The last time I got excited about some “industry veterans” getting together to make a “spiritual sequel” to a game they originally worked on, Danger Zone happened. So I’ll be careful to temper my expectations with this… fingers crossed though!

  5. MotelHell says:

    I’m aware that this could go totally wrong. The original creator of Clock Tower managed to put out spiritual successor NightCry which was horrendous. But this is promising, so I’ll certainly give it a chance before writing it off.