This week we take another exclusive look at Hotel City. We spent a few minutes with Stian Hansen, the game’s producer, to find out what it was like to bring Playfish’s latest game to life.
Hi Stian. Let’s start with your role in Hotel City. Is it fair to call you the “proprietor”?
Hi everyone. Yes, I suppose it would be fair to call me that. But my official title at Playfish is producer. I’m responsible for all aspects of Hotel City, from the concept to getting the game launched, and ensuring the game is packed with all the fun and social features our players expect. In my role I work with a wide range of people at Playfish, which is really cool.
How did the idea for Hotel City come about?
Since everyone at Playfish is involved in making our games, the hotel management theme came up quite a few times. After putting the idea down on paper and getting some feedback, it really felt like the beginnings of a fun and very social game. When players see the name of the game I believe they’ll understand right away what this game is about, namely building and running your own hotel. We’ve managed to make it very easy to get in to. In fact, my 4 year old son got to play it during development and he absolutely loves it!
What’s the aim of the game?
Hotel City is about building and decorating your very own hotel. You’ll need employees, so you hire your friends. Your guests want to enjoy their stay at your hotel, so you can build them fun rooms that include a swimming pool, a restaurant, arcade, and many other fun things. It’s entirely up to you! I can’t wait to see what cool hotels are created by our players.
That sounds fun! How about a cool Hotel City tip?
I would suggest not spending all your money on just one thing. Hotel guests can be pretty demanding, so I recommend listening to them and the watching the speech bubbles that pop up. Those will give you plenty of direction.
What’s been the most challenging aspect of creating Hotel City?
Narrowing down the amount of features in the game, for sure. When people play the game they’re inspired and come up with all these fun things they’d like to see in the game. Filtering out the best ideas and deciding what goes into the first version of the game is tricky and you don’t get a second chance of doing that once the game is live. Of course, we’ll keep adding things, but we wanted to give players some really great features to play with in their first session so that they can start having fun straight away.
What’s been the most fun aspect of creating Hotel City?
Honestly, the whole thing has been one big joyride, even to watch the game develop. The Hotel City team is so full of energy and good spirits and that shows in the game. I keep hearing how Hotel City is the Big Buzz in our other studios right now, and that really is a great inspiration to me and the team.
Will you be adding any new features to Hotel City in the next few weeks and months?
Now that the game is live, we’ll dive right into adding more features. We’ve got small and big features planned – they all go very naturally with the hotel theme of the game. There will be something for those who play the game for the decorating fun and something for those who enjoy the more strategic managing and building aspects. Keep your eyes on the fan page for updates!
What’s your hotel called?
During development I came up with a new name for every time I played the game, but one day my creativity ran out and I got stuck with the name from the day before. It’s simply “Asda Hotel”.
Who have you hired as staff in your hotel?
That’s the fun thing about Hotel City – it’s a small twist on the concept of hiring friends in Restaurant City. You’re not really in control of who gets to work at your hotel. You post up an ad on your wall letting your friends know that you are hiring, and the first of your friends to click the link gets the job! It’s going to be a race to get there first because, as a bonus, your friends will receive coins for working at your hotel and can collect bags of coins from you every time you run a shift. There’s a bonus for you when your friends work at your hotel, too, as temporary staff are more expensive per shift, whereas your friends are far cheaper to employ!
Any final words?
Yes – a big thank you to all of our fans who have already started playing Hotel City! Don’t forget to check out our fan page and the forums for the latest updates from Hotel City. We love hearing your suggestions so please keep them coming in!