Greetings from Thrillville! My name’s Shara Miller, and I’m LucasArts’ producer of this November release for Xbox, PS2 and PSP. As producer of Thrillville, it’s my job to lead the overall effort in putting the game together – everything from making sure it’s on time and on budget to helping it become the best it can possibly be. And I’m happy to say, right now it’s looking great!
I loved working on big hits like Mercenaries and Star Wars Battlefront II, and it’s been a stroke of luck to follow those up with Thrillville – yet another top-notch game with genuine appeal. Working on a theme-park game has been a very welcome change of pace. It has forced LucasArts to put our money where our mouth is by expanding our horizons with awesome new franchises. The idea of a video game set in a theme park may not be an entirely new one, but I guarantee you’ve never seen it presented in such a fun way – with so much more to do, play, see and interact with – as you’ll see in Thrillville.
So far, the team at Frontier Developments, led by Senior Producer Jonny Watts, is doing an amazing job of creating a game that ensures your experience isn’t just about creating the craziest, most puke-inducing roller coasters ever – though that certainly is part of it! – it’s also the only game that places you as a playable character in the park you’ve created. Being at ground level adds the social element of allowing you to chat and flirt with guests, while also checking out the rides you’ve constructed first hand. There are even over 20 multiplayer minigames for you to master, many of which are enough to justify a game in and of themselves. With so many awesome games, in addition to easy and fun coaster building and supercute people watching, it’s almost embarrassing how much bang for the buck you’ll get with Thrillville.
In all, there are 101 attractions, and you can interact with every single one throughout all of the five parks (Thrillville TimeWarp is my current favorite because of the killer dinosaur set pieces and Wild West wooden coasters). Of course, this includes just about every type of roller coaster you can think of – the aforementioned wooden, steel, standing, “flying,” corkscrew, even weird ones like the Spinning Wildmouse, you name it – as well as a ton of classic carnival rides, like Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and teacups. You can even actually design and build your very own mini-golf courses and go-kart tracks – and then play them yourself and with friends! There’s nothing cooler than tearing it up on a course that you created yourself.
You’ll know you’re doing a good job in your park by chatting it up with visitors to your park. Their feedback is invaluable, and it even extends beyond “how’s my park?” to flirty chat and small talk. Again – the social aspect can be an entire afternoon’s entertainment all unto itself.
Thrillville also features a cute little story with missions that will help you along one concept at a time to becoming a crackerjack theme-park manager in your own right. One day, your kindly Uncle Mortimer has an accident in his lab, and he needs some help while he recovers – your help! He’s an inventor and a genius, and throughout the game he’ll check in on you and give you access to his latest inventions. Meanwhile, you must contend with a rival theme park that has heard about Mortimer’s leave of absence and decided to try to take Thrillville down while he's out of the picture. You’ll need all your building and managing skills to keep this rival at bay.
There’s so much game and pure fun in Thrillville that it’s going to take a lot more just my yakkin’ to tell you everything. In the coming weeks, expect designer diaries from all facets of the development process, from the extremely talented bunch at Frontier in the UK to some of the creative folks here at LucasArts. I’d say you’re in for a wild ride with all of these diaries we have planned…but I’ll save the corny metaphors to describe the game ;)
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