Hollywood Animal is a nifty and detailed golden age simulator populated with eminently hireable alcoholics

By admin Jun6,2024

Hollywood Animal is a management sim about turning a bankrupt movie studio into a money printing machine, set in Hollywood’s golden age. While a Frostpunk 2 or Manor Lords might have you grapple with the elements, here it’s all about balancing a fickle audience and Tinseltown’s seedy underbelly. Maybe making some worthwhile art, too? Sorry, did I say ‘worthwhile art’? I meant to say “lots of money.” Let’s get clicking!

First up, I need to name my studio (I settle on Horace’s Revenge) as well as my crack new team of business bastards. There’s my chief legal officer, Jebediah End. My CCO, Anne Egg, and CFO, Rummy McLastdrink. He doesn’t have a sauce problem, because obviously I wouldn’t put him in charge of money if he did. In the wreckage of the studio, we find an unedited film reel hidden in the waffles n’ cocaine cupboard. It’s a noir thriller named ‘Messenger Of Death’. Whatever influential critic is currently directing this era’s discourse has chosen to categorise each film as genre percentages (‘60% detective/40% thriller’), and setting (‘modern American city’.) Let’s just hope those pigs in the stands recognise a solid gold picture when they see one!

This movie is already made, so things like themes, events, and roles are already picked out for me. Later, I’ll be able to customise these myself to drain as many dollars from the predictable pig public as possible. Uh, I mean, make great art! The game probably could have gotten away with being a bit loose and silly when it came to detailing these elements, but substantive flavour text for each pick starts to spell out a pretty convincing facade of a film. Hollywood Animal seems to love film in the way that, say, Two Point didn’t necessarily love hospitals, despite keeping some sardonic distance from the actual industry of it all.

Each film is rated for both ‘audience approval’ and ‘artistic appeal’. This may seem like an unnecessarily stringent binary, but remember this was pre-Boss Baby, so no-one knew you could master both yet. This is just the post-scripting phase, though. The ratings can still be tweaked by things like cast and crew, and that’s before you start filming and send everything off to be edited and scored.

Watch on YouTube

It’s time to pick an editor. I made that gag about my CFO being an alcoholic earlier, but it turns out one of my two potential editors does actually have an ‘alcoholic’ trait. Apparently this makes him unpredictable and aggressive. But, since this is the 40’s, I can only assume he’s far more qualified than my other choice, who is a woman. What visionary editor doesn’t like a few sherberts and a casual game of chasing the valets around the outside of the hotel with a golf club in one hand and the latest issue of Racism Monthly in the other! You’re hired, champ!

It happened again! I keep making silly observations about the era, but the game is one step ahead of me. One of my potential composers has the ‘racist’ trait. You know what? No. I pick the other guy, whose much better and cheaper anyway. I outsource some of the more boring production tasks, hire some department heads, and its time to wait out post production. In the mean time, let’s write a new script! First I’ll need a script department. This is where your more traditional building sim/management bits come into play. The script dept. is just one building among many, and I find space on my lot to pop it down. The twist here is that I can choose between construction companies – cheap, fast, and bad, or slow, pricey, and good.

Along with the choices I’ve already made for the first film, balancing these kind of trade-offs looks to be where most of the actual strategy is in Hollywood Animal. While that’s building, I pop down to ground level for a bit. There’s a fair bit of foot traffic, some moving vehicles, but this seems mainly for show. The lowest level of simulation, so to speak, is at the named hire level, people who have different loyalty scores, skills, and quirks. As for what I’m actually trying to earn here, there’s two major resources: reputation, and the almighty dollarydoo.

While I’m waiting, an event pops up: Rummy McLastdrink wants me to start locking the office doors so he’s not tempted to bone his hot wife when he should be working – it’s effectively a trade off between loyalty and happiness. I’m afraid your boning habits do not fall under business strategy, Rummy, so I refuse.

Messenger of Death finishes post-production, and we move to distribution. Here, you can tweak things like release schedules, and weekly screenings across your own network of cinemas. You’ll have to keep costs like venue rental and film printing in mind, and then there’s the advertising campaign to think about. We market the film towards adults, since that’s a thing you could do and reasonably make money back. It’s then a new resource pops up – influence, which is how you do all your backroom dealings. Here, the studio I took over doesn’t want our film to see the light of day, but I didn’t keep my editor in caffeinated scotch and whiskey-nated cocaine just to back down now, so we tell them to go suck a lemon.

The script department finishes construction, so its time to write our first film! I’d love to tell you what it is, but I’ve got you sneak weasels pegged, see. The last time I shared my idea for a groundbreaking piece of media, Universal Pictures refused to pay me a red cent for the Battleship movie. I’ll tell you this, though: Hollywood Animal might not reinvent the management sim, but it leans into the theme enough that I’m well up for grabbing the popcorn for more. You can find the demo here.

By admin

Related Post