[Dev Diary] Thrillville

Find out exactly what goes into making a theme park-based "party game with social interaction." Get the scoop from the PR side of things first, then delve into info straight from the development team (which is why the parts start over).
Published: November 13, 2006
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Forget everything you think you know about theme-park games. With Thrillville, LucasArts and Frontier Developments shatter your perceptions and throw them off the rails. Built from the ground up with a console audience in mind, Thrillville isn't just a theme-park building game - it's also a party game with elements of social interaction.

In addition to letting you call the shots while creating the amusement park of your dreams, Thrillville takes you somewhere you've never actually been before - to ground level as a playable character. "With Thrillville , as well as building and managing a theme park, you 'play' within it," explains Jonny Watts, senior producer at developer Frontier. "All the attractions you design or place in the park - like roller coasters, mini-golf courses, go-kart tracks or thrill rides, first-person shooters and videogame arcades - are fully interactive and at the very least can be 'ridden.' The majority are full-on games in their own right and can be played solo or up to four-player multiplayer. Plus, don't forget that you can talk to and befriend any guest...or even flirt with them! There is a huge variety of gameplay that will entertain a wide range of people and keep them coming back for more."

An engaging, lighthearted story further establishes Thrillville as the theme-park experience console gamers have been waiting for. What happens when your zany Uncle Mortimer has an accident in his lab and needs some help running his Thrillville theme parks? Naturally, he calls upon you to take over. "Meanwhile, you must contend with a rival theme park, Globo-Joy, that has heard about Mortimer's leave of absence and decided to take Thrillville down while he's out of the picture," adds Shara Miller, producer at LucasArts. "You'll need all your building and managing skills to keep this rival at bay!"

Staving off the Globo-Joy threat entails more than 125 missions to complete, from deciding where to plant your coasters, midway games and other 100-plus attractions to helping to hook up a park guest with the cute girl he's got his eye on. "You can do whatever you like while you're down there, controlling your character among the park guests," says Watts.

In Thrillville , even otherwise mundane tasks such as training your staff have been revolutionized. "To train a mechanic, you undertake electronics circuitry," notes Watts. "To train the groundskeeper, you frantically blast and suck litter and gunk with your vac-gun. And to train your entertainers, what else but a dance game?"

Miller believes that Thrillville's innovative control configuration will win over anyone underwhelmed by the complex building processes found in past theme-park console games. "I don't have to be a structural engineer to make a great coaster," she says. "Frontier has analyzed the system of menus, mouse clicks, and trial-and-error that worked so perfectly for their PC Roller Coaster Tycoon games and boiled them down to the essential elements that make coaster building rewarding and fun. On consoles and PSP, I enjoy every button press and every swish of the analog stick I use in the building process. I always end up making stuff that's fun to ride - even when I start without a plan."

Miller also sees Party Game mode - with its instant access to all of Thrillville's multiplayer minigames - as another big draw for console gamers. "It's anything from bumper cars to shooting galleries to arcade games inspired by classics," she enthuses. "Add the ability to play with up to four people? It's madness!"

The madness begins this November.
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