Ready to bring your university studies across the solar system?
For all you space fans, Two Point Campus (opens in new tab) has a new space-themed DLC available that doubles as a simulated astronaut training opportunity. The multi-console Space Academy (opens in new tab), priced at $9.99, starts your students with rocket development and before long, you might find yourself training off-planet working alongside aliens.
The DLC released Dec. 6 on PC, Xbox and PlayStation and Dec. 12 on Nintendo Switch; the base game must also be purchased for $39.99.
It will be a challenging journey to achieve orbit. Working on a PS4 console, we found it took several hours to figure out how to effectively manage a university campus in the base game, before the DLC unlocked. Keeping students, faculty and administration all happy while expanding the campus makes it easy to run out of credits, and to make nobody happy at all, so do be careful.
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Replicating the difficulties of student (or campus) life was a natural journey for Two Point Studios, "because the student life is something that's very relatable," design director Ben Huskins told Space.com.
"There's so many aspects to student life, both on the academic side and the social side," Huskins said, emphasizing the game allows you not only to forge relationships between students, but to act as an instructional nurturer, campus designer and (with the DLC) a space academy builder all at the same time.
Two Point Studios was founded in 2016 and is best known for their hospital management game, Two Point Hospital (opens in new tab). The company is a subsidiary of Sega and has grown rapidly since the pandemic erupted in 2020, more than doubling its employee numbers from 15 to 40.
With Two Point Campus, released in August 2022, the studio wanted to offer the game on multiple consoles immediately, which led to much of the growth, Huskins said. Sega provides public relations support as well as connections with other gaming subsidiaries to share expertise in-house, which Huskins said is key to Two Point Campus' success.
The base game acquired more than a million players in the first few weeks, which allowed Two Point Studios to gain "a lot of feedback" for the space-themed DLC, he said. One surprise for the group was how much players connected with individual virtual students, which meant that the student experience and training received as much emphasis as possible in the space DLC.
Huskins says space science fiction fans will see references "all over the place" in the DLC, which unlocks after the first four levels of the base game. The premise for the Space Academy on the campus is that the county is revising its dormant space program due to renewed interest in space.
"It's a little bit Star Trek-y and I also think of something like Galaxy Quest," Huskins said of the DLC. "We have lots of puns about real-world references. Our version of Cape Canaveral is called 'Cape Shrapnull' ... and there will be all sorts of little references from movies and TV shows as well."
Gamers will start with basic astronaut training, complete with spacesuits and zero-gravity simulation, and then will start a "cosmic expansion" course with references to all the billionaires flying to space lately. Also includes are rocket launches and eventually, off-planet versions of the campus.
Huskins said he hopes players will connect with the DLC, which also includes features like meteors landing on-campus that can be mined for dollars.
"There's a bunch of new features like that, that just add a bit of a new twist to the gameplay," he said. "You're still thinking about nurturing your students and running your classes, but you've got these other plates to spin at the same time."
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).