Last week, Sega teased an incoming project with a tweet that featured a light bulb. Today, the internet's hunch has been confirmed with the announcement of Two Point Hospital—a new management sim from ex-Lionhead and Bullfrog veterans Mark Webley and Gary Carr.
Due later this year, Two Point Hospital marks the debut project of Two Point Studios, and pulls from the '97 classic Theme Hospital. The light bulb, it turns out, is in reference to the game's Light Headedness illness. That's portrayed in the following announcement trailer.
Like its now (somehow) 21-year-old spiritual forerunner, illnesses and diseases aren't taken too seriously here. Light Headedness echoes the likes of Bloaty Head, Slack Tongue and King Complex, however Two Point is nevertheless keen to showcase this game in its own right.
"We've been thinking of coming back to these Bullfrog-esque games for a while," Two Point co-founder Mark Webley tells us. "When we did Theme Hospital we had ideas for Theme Prison, Theme Resort. We went our separate ways and kept talking about getting back together.
"We don't like to think of it as a spiritual succession to Theme Hospital as such, we like to think of it as a thing in its own right—something new and different. Thematically, of course, there are similarities, but we're making a completely new game. This isn't a reskinning of something we've already done."
Co-founder Gary Carr agrees, and adds: "When we were our separate ways it was nothing mysterious. When Bullfrog was bought by EA it was just the time to move on. We just parked that ambition for 20 years. With Black and White, and with Fable we had two pretty big franchises out of Lionhead.
"The values are the same, the humour is important. Theme Hospital had its own quirky off-centre, offbeat take on the sim genre. It didn't take itself too seriously, but under the hood there was actually quite a deep sim."
Two Point says mod support is planned for Two Point Hospital shortly after launch, and that online features include competitive challenges. Speaking to those, designer Ben Huskins says: "One of the things that we're putting in is competitive multiplayer challenges where you're playing the game as you would usually, but will start one of these challenges. There might be a bunch of different ones, like: How many patients can you cure in the next 12 months? Or how attractive can you make your hospital in the next half year?
"You'll keep track of your progress in that time period. If your friends have played that challenge already, their data will be stored on the cloud, and you can get this sense of playing at the same time as you. This was influenced by the ghost racing feature that appeared in old arcade racing games."
Two Point Hospital is due at some stage in 2018. Look out for our interview with Two Point Studios in full later this week.