Thorpe Park: General Discussion

Prophecy

TS Member
The project had been a VR project long before Derren Brown was confirmed to be onboard. There were other themes for the ride considered; almost all of them were not IPs as well. Merlin's market research had shown interest in a Derren Brown / illusion based ridew and there were a couple of other options considered for a 'Derren Brown attraction' (even a wooden coaster was considered at one point, for example). So when Derren was bought on board to Ghost Train, it had already been decided to be VR and the basic principle (get on a vehicle, get off for live action sequence, got on again) was there too.

Simworx offer a lot of effects which could be installed on the train carriages, or be used to move the carriage (for example, the train shudders slightly when a ghost breaks the window in the first VR sequence). Many were considered (like window misters, etc), but most didn't make it to the final implementation phase. The only one which was bought but never used were leg ticklers; something which was never installed and the park got rid of them in early 2017.

I’ve done DBGT a couple of times now without the VR (it’s probably better as people’s reactions are really funny).

But there’s a whole video that plays on the train on the outwards journey about sub core, that literally no one will ever seen (unless you take the headset off).

The original plan was that the screens on the train would effectively play the same footage as the headsets. This would allow staff to see what was happening, and also meant anyone who was too scared/uncomfortable with the VR could still see the footage.

This later changed to the loop we have now, again for the impression that if people didn't like the VR they could still watch something. But then they realised how bad the experience would be just sat in the dark watching the screen and seeing staff touching people. So they scrapped the idea of allowing people to take headsets off and just encourage them to close their eyes.


Ghost Train has all been a mess really. Simworx completely over-promised what they could do, and severely under-delivered. Thorpe underestimated the amount of money that would need to be invested into the VR aspect. Too little thought was put into the operations of the ride when it was being designed, leaving the park with something which is extremely difficult to operate correctly/well. Derren isn't exactly fond of the experience, has had some problems with how Merlin and Thorpe handled certain aspects. It's all just not great.

The park have certainly considered dropping the VR element altogether. Even from late 2015 the park have had a back up plan should the VR completely fail. But the trouble is, dropping the VR either means they would need to spend a fair amount of money turning it into a decent-ish simulator, or going cheap and being left with a ride that isn't much better. And we all know what option they would go towards...
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Very interesting stuff; thanks for your post @Prophecy!

I certainly never knew a number of things in that post; for starters, I never knew that VR was decided upon before Derren Brown came into the design stages, or that he apparently didn't originally want VR! In a Q&A with the ride's designers, it said that Derren was "really into the VR thing"; very odd. I must say that I'm also very surprised that Merlin didn't utilise the train's in-built effects to a greater extent; I remember reading a TechRadar article about DBGT from before it opened that described things like self-misting windows and leg ticklers being in the train, which I thought sounded very cool! I also never knew that the ride system moved according to events in the VR film e.g. the juddering when the window smashes; it's a great shame that clever features and effects like this aren't properly utilised within the attraction, in my opinion.

I think some of the other attraction concepts would have been very interesting; I'd be intrigued to see what a Derren Brown wooden coaster would have been like, for example!

I'm sure Thorpe will eventually work out the kinks with Derren Brown's Ghost Train; with a little work, I'm sure it would be a more reliable, more well-liked attraction.
 

IanSR

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Smiler
When you get older @Matt N youll come to understand that statements like "really into the VR thing" said in a Q&A is just here-say opinion of a single individual and really doesn't mean jack shyte, I'm sure if you asked Derren the same question at the same time you'd have got the same answer, whether he means it is another thing. As someone once said either here or somewhere else, maybe in 10-15 years we will get the full story of what happened, but all the time he is under contract, nobody is going to seriously slag the project off, especially Derren, the mere fact of him almost completely staying silent on it tells you enough of what he truely thinks.
 

djtruefitt

TS Team
I do feel that the effects aren’t really used to full effect or they noticeable, the train rocks so much in the last section? Yet with the VR you don’t really notice it and it only does it once. Same with the banging on the train, etc. They should use these effects more.

Be interesting if they do remove the VR, as it’s actually a really long ride, however once the train moves it then spends a lot time sat there doing nothing, not sure what you would do to fill such a long amount of time.
 
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AT86

TS Member
Is it confirmed project 2020 is no more ?

No it’s still happening, just been a few budget changes. Here is the latest concept art.

ryan-heights-playground-sudbury.jpg
 

Doublethink

TS Member
From what I have heard from a couple of contacts close to the park no new attraction next year (unless you count something like bouncezilla as an attraction).

I belive only lego (junior coaster) and towers (CCL work) are getting anything new.
 

D4n

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Zadra
Especially odd considering that Towers and Lego were already the most recent recipients of investment
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
In that case, I wonder which RTP will be receiving major CAPEX next year; I'd perhaps presume one of the foreign ones?

Maybe if Thorpe isn't adding an attraction in 2020, they might be doing some park improvements a la Towers Loving Care? Or maybe more events?

As for Project 2020, it was apparently a project planned by the old divisional director that got scrapped when the new one came in. Reports are now very mixed as to when Thorpe will be receiving its next major investment, with some people saying 2021/2022 (the most likely outcome, in my opinion), some people saying after 2022 and some people even saying never.
 

Benzin

TS Member
Gardaland are getting a water park if that counts as the "big" CAPEX?

They'll just do more weird pointless events because apparently having a direction and sticking to it for a few years isn't good business...
 

Lurker

TS Member
There’s a carving in one of the trees in the Colossus queue line saying “RMC 2020”

Guess it was just someone messing around :sob:

If you're a fan of the park enough to know ride manufacturers and be in the know regarding the future rides debate, why would anyone actively make the park worse by damaging things? I really hate that, it's as awful as putting your Snapchat in the queue line. Enthusiasts should know better.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Gardaland are getting a water park if that counts as the "big" CAPEX?

They'll just do more weird pointless events because apparently having a direction and sticking to it for a few years isn't good business...
I think things like waterparks come out of a separate budget, don't they?
 

AT86

TS Member
I think things like waterparks come out of a separate budget, don't they?

CapEx investment is CapEx investment, doesn’t matter how it’s sliced up internally. Merlin said they were reducing CapEx by £100 million in RTP and this is the reality of that.
 
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