Wipeout (video game)
European PlayStation cover art
|Designer(s)||The Designers Republic|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer (for PlayStation via link cable)|
Wipeout (stylised in promotional materials as wipE'out") is the first in a series of futuristic racing video games developed and published by Psygnosis. It was originally released in 1995 for Sony PlayStation and PCs running MS-DOS, and in 1996 for Sega Saturn. In 2007, it was re-released for download on the PlayStation Store, first for PlayStation Portable on 8 March, then made playable on PlayStation 3 months later.
Set in the year 2052, players compete in the F3600 anti-gravity racing league, piloting one of a selection of craft in races on several different tracks. There are four different racing teams to choose from, and two ships for each team. Each ship with its own distinct characteristics of acceleration, top speed, mass, and turning radius. By piloting their craft over power-up pads found on the tracks, the player can pick up shields, turbo boosts, mines, shock waves, rockets, or missiles, which protect the player's craft or disrupt the competitors' craft.
Development and release
Wipeout was developed and published by Psygnosis, designed in part by The Designers Republic. Aimed at a fashionable, club-going, music-buying audience, The Designers Republic created art for the game's packaging, in-game branding, and other promotional materials. Music tracks were licensed from non-mainstream electronica acts to create an original soundtrack album to promote the game.
The game's vehicle designs were based on Matrix Marauders, a 3D grid-based strategy game whose concept was developed by Psygnosis employee Jim Bowers. Nick Burcombe, the game's future designer, was inspired to create a racing game using the same types of vehicles from his experience with Powerdrome, F-Zero and Super Mario Kart. The name "Wipeout" was given to the game during a pub conversation, and was inspired by the eponymous song. Designing the game's tracks proved to be difficult due to the lack of draw distance possible on the system. However, the player received completely random weapons, resembling Mario Kart in their capability to stall rather than destroy opponents.
Wipeout was first released alongside the PlayStation in Europe in September 1995. It was the PlayStation's best-selling launch title in Europe. Two months later in November 1995, it was released in the U.S. The game went to number one in the all format charts, with over 1.5 million units of the franchise having been sold to date throughout Europe and North America.
Because the company behind the PlayStation, Sony, owned the applicable rights to most of the PlayStation version's soundtrack, new music was recorded for the Saturn version by Psygnosis's in-house music team, Cold Storage.
In 1996, an OEM edition of Wipeout was bundled with new Sony Vaio laptops and the ATI 3D Xpression+ series video cards released for use in desktop computers. This 3D accelerated edition using the ATI3DCIF API provided additional resolutions of 400×300, 512×384 and 640×480 pixels as well as optional bilinear filtering. This version also made use of the 3D Rage's MPEG acceleration.
In 320×240 resolution the ATI version is graphically similar to the DOS version. However, when bilinear filtering is activated in 640×480, the ATI version demonstrates a considerable improvement in graphical appearance. Common PC systems in 1996 struggled to produce frame rates desirable for gameplay due to incapabilities of the ATI Rage IIc chipset in managing the task of powering Wipeouts 3d accelerated game engine. This can be observed in-game while using the Rage IIc and even the Pro series Cards on comparatively more modern PC systems that were produced in the early 2000s.
The game's electronica soundtrack was composed by Tim Wright under the alias CoLD SToRAGE. Additional songs by Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers, and Orbital were included in the PAL version of the PlayStation game, while the Saturn version included three songs by Rob Lord & Mark Bandola.
A separately sold Official Soundtrack Album was released to promote the game. This music album featured a selection which contrasted against the music included within the game, with CoLD SToRAGE being the most notable omission given his prevalence within the game.
The game received positive reviews. IGN gave the PlayStation version an 8 out of 10, criticizing the difficulty with maneuvering the vehicles but praising the game's originality and techno soundtrack.
Reviewing the Saturn version, Sega Saturn Magazine praised the large number of tracks and the distinctive flavor of each one, and remarked that the gameplay is very easy to get into but provides more than enough challenge. They criticized it as not being as good as the PlayStation version, though they noted that none of the shortcomings impact the gameplay. They gave it a score of 92%. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Saturn version a 7.125 out of 10, similarly praising the number and variety of tracks and the strong challenge, and were much more approving of the graphics than Sega Saturn Magazine, describing them as "vibrant" and "gorgeous".
- VGGEN.com News - WipEout Races to PSP via PS3
- PS STORE RELEASE DATES CONFIRMATION | Three Speech: Semi-Official PlayStation Blog
- "The Making Of: Wipeout". Edge Online. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- Hickman, Sam (March 1996). "The Thrill of the Chase!". Sega Saturn Magazine (5) (Emap International Limited). pp. 36–43.
- "Press Release - Archives 1997 - ATI's 3D RAGE technology selected by Gateway to provide feature rich 3D to the Corporate, SOHO and home PC markets". 9 January 1997. Archived from the original on 18 April 2002.
- "WayBackMachine Internet Archive - What does the 3D XPRESSION+ PC2TV come with?". Archived from the original on 4 April 1997.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG3hd1humM0 RetroCompaqGuy's 3D Acceleration Comparison Ep12: Wipeout on the ATI 3D Rage
- Kabuki's ATI 3D Rage IIc and Pro Turbo Wipeout Analysis.
- "Wipeout review". IGN. November 26, 1996. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Automatic, Rad (April 1996). "Review: Wipeout". Sega Saturn Magazine (6) (Emap International Limited). pp. 70–71.
- "Wipeout Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (84) (EGM Media, LLC). July 1996. p. 35.
- Discogs entry: European PlayStation edition
- Discogs entry: North American PlayStation edition
- Discogs entry: Sega Saturn edition