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New hotel management game inspired by classics makes it “fun to fail”

Hotel Architect is a management game where things going wrong is part of the fun, just like in simulation games such as The Sims and RCT.

A great management game makes you feel like you’re a master of your craft, sliding all the pieces into place and watching your clockwork creation tick. The best management games, however, make it just as fun when – intentionally or otherwise – a spring flies loose and the whole thing falls to pieces. Shown off during Wired Direct ‘24, Hotel Architect, from indie developer Pathos Interactive, is a delightfully light hearted management sim inspired by games like Two Point Hospital, The Sims and RollerCoaster Tycoon. Ahead of the showcase, PCGamesN spoke to Accel Sjöstrom from Pathos about its new game, the challenges of development, and making it fun to fail.

In case the name wasn’t enough of a giveaway, Hotel Architect is all about running a series of establishments for holiday goers, business travelers, and all other sorts. You’ll have to design, build, and decorate your hotel – and all its corresponding facilities such as spas, conference rooms, and bars to keep your guests entertained while they’re there – and hire and organize all your staff members in this charming management game.

As you progress through the levels, you’ll visit a wealth of locations around the world, starting off in Gothenburg, Sweden, where Pathos is based, and then spreading out across the globe to the likes of Greece, Las Vegas, and much more. Each region comes with its own aesthetics, with unique designs for the buildings themselves along with a variety of items and even restaurant dishes that capture the feel of the region. While you’ll unlock these in their respective areas, you’ll be able to bring them across to use elsewhere if you like.

Of course, the various locations each pose their own set of challenges, including a different mix of potential clientele and varying temperature conditions that you’ll have to consider when outfitting your hotel. You’ll also have to take noise into account – not only making sure that the haughty upper crust sorts aren’t bothered by the noise of the brats reveling in the bar, but also taking care that any new facility and room construction, which takes place over time rather than being instant, doesn’t disturb your paying customers from their beauty sleep.

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The multi-floor layout necessitated by the setting is something you don’t often see in such management sims and tycoon games, and Sjöstrom tells me it was “one of the most difficult challenges” the team’s had to overcome during development. It adds a unique dynamic to your play, however, especially combined with the need to plan out your building rather than just plopping new rooms down at will and having to consider aspects such as the logistics of cleaning up and sorting out all your hotel’s garbage.

Fundamentally, however, Sjöstrom says that Hotel Architect is designed to be played in many different ways and be relaxing and fun rather than overly challenging, inspired by the likes of The Sims. Things going wrong, such as guests upset about messy rooms or an inexperienced bartender dropping cocktails on the floor midway through making them, are accompanied by funny animations and help make it “fun to fail.”

Indeed, while levels have goals to hit first time through (with a sandbox option unlocking once they’re cleared), and regular visits from hotel critics might impose upon your facilities’ limits, you can actually go out of your way to have things go awry if you like. The ability to intentionally cause chaos or make your guests miserable is “quite a big part” of the appeal, Sjöstrom says. “We know there are a big group of people that want to play these games this way.”

Hotel Architect - A series of customers enjoy spa, sauna, jacuzzi, snooker, and arcade game facilities in the Pathos Interactive management game.

Hotel Architect is coming soon in early access. You can wishlist it on Steam if you want to be kept up to date with further news and be notified once it becomes available to play.

For now, we’ve got lots more of the best strategy games if you enjoy the task of trying to manage lots of different moving pieces at once. Or if you’re just here to take things easy and not stress too much, here are the best relaxing games on PC right now.

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