Last night, games manufacturer Bossa Studios hosted a gruesome dinner in a mock operating theatre in London to promote the iPhone release of their popular game, Surgeon Simulator. With a menu featuring offal and bone marrow, it wasn’t for everyone, but we donned our scrubs and bravely went along.
We were greeted by scrubbed-up medical staff, tables full of ‘drugs’ (on careful nibbling, these turned out to be M&Ms and Tic Tacs) and a strong smell of antiseptic. Sample jars of wine were pressed into our hands and we were ushered through to put on our bloodstained scrubs.
Hapless patient Bob lay in the middle of the mock operating theatre, acting as a talking centrepiece while bits of his body were handed out:
Bob is the central character in Surgeon Simulator, undergoing brutal operations at the hand of the distinctly untrained player. Smashing ribs with hammers and yanking out stomachs is fine in the game as long as Bob doesn’t lose too much blood – if he does, it’s game over for you, too.
We spoke to Luke Williams, the game’s designer, about what’s new in the iPhone version of the game and why poor Bob needs so much surgery.
Hi Luke. We’re big fans of the existing Surgeon Simulator games on the PS4, PC, and tablets. What’s new in the iPhone version?
It’s a modified version of the tablet game, with some of the fiddlier elements removed (like needing to actually turn the tools on, which would be too difficult on a smaller screen).
The PC version has notoriously hard controls. Is that level of difficulty still in?
In the PC version, you actually control the surgeon’s hand, manipulating each finger individually with the keyboard in order to grab the tools. In the iPhone version, your own hand takes on that role. So you’re essentially using your fingers to prod, pull and cause all sorts of mess with Bob’s innards.
But there’s still that element of difficult controls – the game is famous for its clumsy mistakes, so we needed to make sure it was just inaccurate enough for you to accidentally sever an artery or knock some pieces of glass into Bob’s chest cavity. Although we’ve heard from several sources that it is indeed easier than its PC counterpart.
Any chance of the game coming to Android phones soon? How about Windows Phone and BlackBerry?
Surgeon Simulator is already available for Android tablets, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine it on Android phones, but I’ve got no dates on when or if that will happen. And I have no information on a Blackberry or Windows Phone version!
Poor old Windows Phone. Still, with the game being so popular on existing platforms, we’re guessing you get lots of user feedback. What kinds of requests have you had?
We’ve definitely had our fair share of disturbing requests, such as Caesarian sections (Ed: !!!) but we’ve also actually added a few of them. The eye transplant was created because of a suggestion, although we changed it slightly as the person also wanted the guy to be awake and screaming as you burnt out his eyes…
Yikes. Moving swiftly on, your surgeon Nigel Burke has a pretty detailed backstory. Will we be seeing more of Nigel? How’s his career going?
Nigel leads an interesting life, so who knows where or when he’ll pop up next? I imagine we haven’t seen the last of him or his adventures in the smallest county in England: Barnardshire.
Speaking of the game characters, why does Bob need so many operations? Does he have Münchausen Syndrome, or is he just really ill?
A more worrying question might be, does Bob even know he’s being operated on? Nigel’s taken it upon himself to make sure Bob gets the treatment he needs, whether he knows it or not.
Wow. Chilling. Thank goodness it’s only a simulator. And on that note, simulator games have got really big in the last couple of years – how does your game compare to other sims?
Well, we only came up with the name in the last half hour of the original Game Jam – we didn’t have a name so I suggested ‘Surgeon Simulator’ because at the time there were a lot of videos of people playing games like Farming Simulator badly, usually with hilarious results. We found it worked well because people assumed it was another serious simulator being played wrongly, then quickly realised that wasn’t the case.
Since then, there have been a lot more parody simulators, like Grass Simulator and Rock Simulator, where I guess the joke is in the name because there isn’t actually a game there, you just look at a rock. Goat Simulator tried something different, claiming to simulate the life of a goat but with added jet pack rides and gas station explosions. We actually tried to ground Surgeon Simulator in reality – it’s a fairly mundane environment, at least until the level where you operate on aliens in space.
What’s next for Bossa Studios?
We’ve just announced I Am Bread, in which you take on the role of a piece of bread in his quest to become toast by any means necessary.
That sounds outstanding, and we’re not surprised at all that you didn’t call it Toast Simulator!
You can find out more and download Surgeon Simulator here.