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GDC 2023: How a trip to London inspired Mini Metro

While Mini Metro has lots of inspirations, the game we know and love today might look quite different if it hadn’t been for one trip to London.

Screenshot of London in Mini Metro

We’re on the floor at GDC 2023, getting all the latest on the titles to look out for and chatting with all the developers. Out of one of these discussions, a forthcoming interview with Dinosaur Polo Club, we learned something fascinating about the game’s creation. As it turns out, if it hadn’t been for one trip to London, things could be very different.

With our chat with the brothers responsible for founding Dinosaur Polo Club, Rob and Peter Curry, we found out that while the original project had already had a pitch, it was a trip to London that helped Rob put together what was already forming in his mind. Seemingly, London’s convoluted transport system is at least good for something.

“I was in London and I just really enjoyed having to get from A to B on the train. So it was interesting when I was like ‘okay, I’m here, and I have to get to here. I could take this route or go straight.’ It was just this kind of interesting puzzle that I hadn’t really done before.” From there, the brothers worked together to build on their original minimalist gaming concepts, furthering the basis for Mini Metro and then Mini Motorways.

It’s no surprise to learn that the London Underground was a primary inspiration in the development of Mini Metro, especially when you look at how similar the game’s minimalist graphics are to that of the metro maps that line the tube network underneath England’s capital. Still, it’s interesting to get inside the mind of a developer conceptualising what would become a future hit, and uncovering this information is just another reason we love GDC.

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There you have it, how Mini Metro owes so much to the London Underground. Be sure to keep an eye out for our future interview with Rob and Peter from Dinosaur Polo Club. In the meantime, check out our GDC Omega Strikers interview with the team at Odyssey Interactive.