GDC ’19: Hands on with Buildings Have Feelings Too!

At GDC this year, I sat down with the Creative Director from Blackstaff Games, Benjamin Donoghue, as we talked about and played their upcoming title Buildings Have Feelings Too!, a fun city management game that puts a new spin on the building simulator model as you pass through 100 years of development from the dawn of the industrial age onward past World Wars and economic downturns, to the modern age.

Buildings are People Too?

In most city management games, when it comes to placing new buildings, all you really need to worry about is having enough space for the actual building and maybe nearby resources for whatever the building’s purpose will be. That’s not the case with Buildings Have Feelings Too!, since the buildings aren’t your basic inanimate objects. These buildings not only have feelings, but they also have opinions on who should get built next door, and you better pay attention. Put the wrong buildings next to each other and your city will suffer. It’s almost like a seating arrangement at a wedding. Uncle Carl drinks too much and Aunt Carol is a busy body that can’t get along with Carl, and then there’s Cousin Eddie that needs to be close to a bathroom and can’t stand Carl or Carol, but the bride openly dislikes him, so he can’t be too close to her but it’s a limited space, and, and, and…

On the flip side of that coin, place the proper buildings next to each other and peace and harmony may ensue. Put some apartment buildings up, then throw a pub in the mix, and everyone gets happier and happier. Give them factories and other places of employment and your city may just thrive well enough that you’ll be able to create a massive, successful environment that can thrive for decades. As the years pass, you can research more and more industries and hire specialists to create an even better utopia with more specific areas like a financial district or a busy theater district. Multiple neighborhoods will also bring in to play things like electricity sources, transportation, and noise pollution.

Real Buildings from Belfast, Northern Ireland

An interesting twist to the game is that the developer decided to look in their own back yard for building designs. Their art crew went around and took photos of buildings and then replicated them, somewhat, in the game. While most of us may never visit Belfast, those that have or may in the future, may want to take some time to check out the real world counterparts.

Buildings Have Feelings Too! doesn’t have a release date yet, but they are aiming for sometime this summer. With 10-15 hours of projected gameplay, and with each play through unique to each person, the game should give plenty of countless hours of city building fun.