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Theme Hospital was one of my favourite games growing up. The clever, witty humour coupled with a comprehensive and engaging strategy and simulation gameplay system cemented it as a fantastic experience for me and, along with Theme Park World, cemented Bullfrog as one of my favourite developers of all time.
Then EA did what they do best, and shut them down.
I don't often say this, but Two Point Hospital is a game I'm just happy exists. Tycoon games of this style just aren't made anymore, making this a niche ripe for filling. The fact the company behind the game has industry veterans from companies like Bullfrog and Lionhead is also a great omen; something about the scrappy underdogs coming back from being shut down by decedent publishers is an image we all love, even if it's somewhat romanticised.
So, that's the company, what about the game? Well, it launched for a reasonable price of £25, undercutting pretty much every new game released recently and embodying the middle-shelf tier of games which the industry as a whole seems to completely ignore; you're either a cheap indie title or a £60 AAA game, no in-between in the eyes of many publishers.
With that said, the game also launched with a 10 percent sale price—while originally intended as a pre-order incentive, the fine folks at Two Point Studios decided that, as a lot of people have a tendency to boycott pre-orders altogether, they would keep the sale price for an extra week after release, to show confidence in their product and strong consumer relations. I, for one, as somebody who is quite firmly against pre-ordering games, really appreciate this gesture and it's gotta be said that for a game to be so confident in itself and secure in its quality to offer a reduced price at launch simply for consumer benefit should be hugely commended.
Not that they could be accused of trying to sneak a stinker into our Steam libraries, of course. Quite the opposite, in fact; Two Point have hosted many unedited live streams of gameplay to not only indicate development progress, but to help new fans get a better grasp as to whether or not this style of game is for them. Beautiful! Something we rarely see from companies these days! We're often bombarded with pre-rendered, unrepresentative gameplay in a miserable attempt to get us hyped before we realise the games are crap and falsified.
The warts-and-all streams, the extended sale price for those who don't wanna take a huge risk on pre-orders, the confidence in its ability to fill the niche in the industry and be a weirder, more experimental title without needing to dumb down its signature system for a wider demographic... All these things indicate a company who, without question, know what they're doing. These traits are things we NEED in the industry, so I'm more than happy to take the time out to give props wherever due.
If you want to see the store page for yourself, check it out here. Hell, you might even think the game's worth the risk if you're unsure. If you don't like it, get it refunded. As for me, I've clocked in about 14 hours of the game in about two days, and I don't intend to stop playing it anytime soon. That's gotta count as a recommendation, right?
At the risk of sounding sycophantic, I have a lot of respect for the way Two Point have handled this launch, and I'm happy to support a quality product which shows respect for me as a customer. Incidentally, Two Point, if you're reading this, I do voice acting and radio work so if you're looking for a new host for Two Point Radio, hmu, yeah? I need a job, writing articles like this doesn't exactly bring in the cash.
Also, for the love of God, PLEASE MAKE TWO POINT THEME PARK NEXT.
Okay, I'm done. Clear off.