Hollywood Hospital - A welcome injection of originality from Player X

Head of production Paul Marshall explains how the team brought A-list glamour (and humour) to the A&E

Hollywood Hospital - A welcome injection of originality from Player X
| Hollywood Hospital

If there's one thing mobile gaming is guilty of, it's recycling ideas. Just take a look at the sales charts if you don't believe us: Tetris ports, movie licences, and console conversions abound, with no real relationship between quality and success.

Which is why we're always glad when games like Hollywood Hospital come along.

We loved Hollywood Hospital when we reviewed it back in January. Set in a clinic utilised primarily by celebrities, it wheels in the rich and famous and then consigns them to the background, forcing you to focus instead on the daily lives of the various grunts who service them and the financial workings that keep the hospital afloat.

"We – that is, Player X and the guys at 8-Bit Games – wanted to make a game that brought together the best elements of all the leading simulation titles, so that we covered the management experience," says head of production Paul Marshall. "Basically, we wanted to be a bit more ambitious."

In Hollywood Hospital, the most virulent disease is being single. Each staff member, from the janitor to the doctor, arrives a loner with an ever-darkening cloud above his or her head and it's your job to lift their mood by finding everybody a match.

Not just any match, though. If you put a part-time novelist nurse with the Corvette-collecting surgeon, the relationship can only end in failure, so you need to root out people who share interests. Pleasingly, if the best match for the Corvette collector is a security guy who restores Corvettes, the two chaps will get it on.

Was the decision to accommodate same-sex relationships deliberate? "Absolutely," says Paul. "We wouldn't have considered doing it any other way."

The premise of Hollywood Hospital is a versatile one, and it doesn't take a genius to see that Player X has laid the groundwork for a whole franchise. After all, its template can easily apply to anywhere people work together, and while Paul was not to be drawn on specifics, he was happy to give us an idea of what's in the pipeline.

"We're really going to concentrate on the relationships," he reveals. "We're integrating more story, a gossip system, recognisable characters – and we're making the characters deeper, so that their behaviour and performance is constantly tied to how you've been treating them."

But there's more. "We're also cranking up the satire, taking more of a swipe at celebrity culture." Any chance of seeing a tattooed crooner with a beehive hairdo tottering into rehab at some point? Paul laughs. "We'll probably draw the line before we get to that."

Most wise. What about downloadable content, though? "Yep, absolutely. In the UK at least we've got plans to offer extra missions, and we're working with Terraplay [the multiplayer platform company] to provide online high scores.

"Our main aim," Paul adds, "is to develop what we do well: relationships and humour. Those are the things that we feel make Hollywood Hospital really unique."

You'll hear no argument from us.

Chris James
Chris James
A footy game fanatic and experienced editor of numerous computing and game titles, bossman Chris is up for anything – including running Steel Media (the madman).