The key to keeping quirky students happy in Two Point Campus

For the next game set in its quirky county, developer Two Point Studios is taking us back to school – or university, to be more exact. This campus is sure to operate differently to most, though, simply because you get to design it yourself. Spy School? Wizardry? There’s seemingly no class (however bonkers) that’s off the table. Two Point Campus follows in the footsteps of Two Point Hospital, the team’s 2018 spiritual successor to Theme Hospital, but this time madcap illnesses are swapped for courses with an expectedly oddball spin. Nurturing students from enrolment to graduation just became fun.

“We always, always love seeing what people do with the games,” says design director Ben Huskins on the level of creativity he and the studio strive to offer players. “I think that the same will be true with Campus.” Riding off Two Point Hospital’s critical and commercial high, the idea for a sequel set around the schooling system came relatively quickly for Huskins and his team. “The whole idea of the world of education, we kind of latched on to that because it felt relatable,” he says. “Everyone’s got their experiences of their eccentric teachers at school, if not college and university. And so it felt like it was going to have lots of relatable elements that we could lean into, that people would have some sort of memories from their own lives.”

As well as making courses fun and educational, extra-curricular activities are key to keeping students happy between classes

We doubt most people can relate to baking a pizza in a giant, ten-foot oven when taking gastronomy class, or learning how to joust and act chivalrously as part of Knight School. Such creative courses, though, are indicative of the tongue-in-cheek tone Two Point Campus goes for. Because sure, while running your dream campus requires a bit of a business brain in terms of hiring the best teachers, making the most of space, and implementing extra-curricular activities to keep your students happy, Huskins thinks it’s crucial for players to never lose sight of what it’s all in aid of. The game’s appropriately silly courses are core to that, and more will become available as you move from campus to campus.

Was it tough to come up with an ingenious twist for each course? “We did a lot of brainstorming, because lots of things immediately sprung to mind,” Huskins says. “A little bit like Two Point Hospital, you’re visiting different locations around Two Point County. We want to structure the game so that you’re gradually being introduced to the features as you progress.”

Progression in Two Point Campus works by having you visit different locations around the county and designing new academic years based on the surrounding environment

Each location will grant you access to new courses themed around that area. “You start getting into stuff like Knight School, where students are training to be knights of the county, and they’ve got their little toy horses to do pretend jousts on and things like that. We just start to get into more peculiar courses as the game progresses.”

One of the biggest differences between Hospital and Campus is how the people you manage are handled. Whereas your objective in the former was to cure patients’ illnesses quickly, the sequel has you moulding young people’s minds. This new structure allowed Two Point Studios to imbue the NPCs roaming the university halls with a bit more personality, giving each their own behaviour and routines that players can recognise. It’s hoped that by spotting such unique traits, resolving their specific needs – boredom, friendship, etc. – will become second nature. Improved student happiness results in good feedback, which, results in more money to fund the next year.

“Having an education setting and students is a really nice opportunity for us to focus on these quirky characters and spend more time with them,” explains Huskins. “Because they’re not just in and out in a few minutes. They’re there for, say, a three-year course. That means we’ve flipped things around the other way. So it’s more about ‘What can I do for these students over a fixed time period?’ as opposed to ‘How fast can I get them through the system?’ It gives you that opportunity to spend more time following around a few individual students, getting to know different social groups, shaping their lives, and giving them a cool social life as well as a cool academic life.”

Two Point Campus may have suffered a delay from June into August, but it’s already clear from what we played that the studio has a class act on its hands. Having already parodied the medical field and now set to do similar for education, we can’t help but wonder if there’s an industry this zany business management formula wouldn’t work for. Could we see a Two Point Space Colony release one day?

“There are lots of ideas on the plate,” chuckles Huskins. “We’ve found plenty of reasons to explore unexpected locations within Two Point County. We wouldn’t want to close any doors.”

Personal Space

One of the most important bits of feedback Two Point Studios received following‭ ‬Hospital’s release was how some players found rooms having preset sizes quite limiting‭. ‬Hence why in‭ ‬Two Point Campus‭ ‬this is no longer the case‭; ‬players can now smoothly adjust the size of areas by dragging across a grid‭. ‬“People wanted to be able to decorate outside and actually tweak the shapes of buildings‭,‬”‭ ‬says Huskins‭. ‬“It‮ ‬wouldn’t make sense to add that as an update to‭ ‬Hospital‭ ‬because the game wasn’t really balanced around it‭. ‬Whereas starting‭ ‬Two Point Campus‭, ‬it felt like this was actually a great opportunity for us to make that a pillar of the game so that players could have a lot more creative freedom‭.‬”

Genre Management, business simulation | Format PC  / PS4  /  PS5 /  XBO  /  XB S/X  / Switch | Developer Two Point Studios | Publisher Sega | Release 9 August 2022 | Social @TwoPointStudios

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