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Build Engine recreation of Matt Hancock's office quickly spirals out of control

Sainsbury's
(Image credit: 3D Realms, Dan Douglas)
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It's said you can't go more than 5 minutes in London without stumbling into a Pret a Manger. That applies equally to Dan Douglas' Build Engine facsimile of the English capital, which features some of the most obsessively mundane recreations of naff British chain stores I've seen since someone put a Greggs in Far Cry 5 (opens in new tab)

Late last month, avid Twitter user Douglas began a modest project. Using the Build Engine (the tool used to power 3D Realms games like Duke Nukem 3D back in the '90s), he'd recreate the office where UK Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock got caught violating covid restrictions by cheating on his wife (opens in new tab). Very topical, extremely good stuff.

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The original goal was simply to flesh out this office with a working security camera, wherein I'd imagine one would leak sordid sprites to the pixelated tabloids. But since then, Douglas has gotten somewhat carried away in recreating not just a room, but an entire English high street.

Like Far Cry's Greggs, I adore seeing mundane, kinda naff British shops recreated in videogames. Douglas' thread goes on to not only feature more middle class retreats like Pret (a vaguely France-adjacent coffee chain) and a Sainsbury's grocery store, but cheesy photo development shops and an estate agent vandalised with "Tory scum" graffiti. 

He's even included a bespoke texture for Quorn sausage rolls, despite admitting that the packaging "breaks continuity (opens in new tab)" since being designed long before the Hancock scandal.

Sausage Rolls

(Image credit: 3D Realms, Dan Douglas)

There is something hypnotising about seeing these kinds of mundane, familiar objects brought into games. Besides the odd Watch Dogs: Legion or Forza Horizon 4, we don't often see Britain represented in games—and when it does, it's often washed of all the absurdly earnest and consistently embarrassing imagery that defines this weird little island.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to recreate a Scotmid in Half-Life 2.

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.