European cover art
|Platform(s)||MS-DOS, Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android|
October 17, 2012
May 10, 2013
|Genre(s)||Vehicular combat, Racing|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Carmageddon is a vehicular combat video game released for personal computers in 1997. It was later ported to other platforms, and spawned a series of follow up titles. The game was produced by Stainless Games and published by Interplay Productions and Sales Curve Interactive.
In 2011, Stainless Games obtained the rights to Carmageddon from former company Square Enix Europe. In June 2012, it was announced that a new port of the game would be released for iOS and certain Android mobile devices. The game was released as both a free demo and paid game in 2013. In December 2018, THQ Nordic acquired the rights to the Carmageddon series from Stainless Games.
In Carmageddon, the player races a vehicle against a number of other computer controlled competitors in various settings, including city, mine and industrial areas. The player has a certain amount of time to complete each race, but more time may be gained by collecting bonuses, damaging the competitors' cars, or by running over pedestrians. Unusually for a racing game, checkpoints do not extend the time limit.
Races are completed by either completing the course as one would a normal racing game, "wasting" (wrecking) all other race cars, or killing all pedestrians on the level. The game includes thirty six race tracks, played across eleven different locations. The game featured three songs (in instrumental format) from Fear Factory's album of 1995, Demanufacture.
The title track and "Body Hammer" are both included with the song "Zero Signal" being used in the game's intro.
The game that became Carmageddon started out as "3D Destruction Derby", a banger racing sim prototyped by Stainless Software. This was signed by SCi in 1995, but under the condition that it be made into a licensed game in order to guarantee popularity. Initially, SCi wanted to use the Mad Max license, but they were unable to find out who owned the rights to the franchise. They instead secured the Death Race 2000 license, as a sequel to the original film was at that time planned.
According to head programmer Patrick Buckland, the initial concept stemmed from the team getting bored while playing racing games, leading them to ultimately drive in the wrong direction and crash into other cars. They decided it made sense to create a game where this was the objective to begin with. Shortly after, Psygnosis released a game with this same concept, Destruction Derby.
The notion of running over pedestrians was added in an effort to distinguish the game from Destruction Derby and arouse controversy. However, there had been a number of recent games which involved running over pedestrians, such as Quarantine and Die Hard Trilogy. Rob Henderson from SCi suggested that they could increase the potential for controversy by rewarding the player points for the pedestrian kills.
The sequel to Death Race 2000 was later cancelled, but by this point SCi were impressed enough by Stainless's work on the game that they felt they could try creating their own IP. The name Carmageddon was coined, and development proceeded with the designers allowed unusually free rein with regard to the content of the game.
The game uses the BRender engine, which Stainless Software were already thoroughly familiar with; one of their previous contracts was to port BRender to Macintosh and build the corresponding tools and demos. The PlayStation conversion was subcontracted to developer Elite, with the plan to release the PC and PlayStation versions simultaneously.
Buckland anticipated that Elite would have problems with the conversion due to Carmageddon's open environments.
Carmageddon was originally released for MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS in 1997. It won the "Game of the Year" trophy in the 1997 PC Zone reader awards and "Driving Game of the Year" 1997.[better source needed] An expansion pack, Splat Pack, was released in 1997. It included new tracks, vehicles, environments, network levels and 3Dfx support.
The Carmageddon Max Pack, released on February 17, 1998, bundled the original game and its expansion pack into one package. As a bonus, it also included a strategy guide, mousepad, and a leather car key chain with Carmageddon's logo on it. The Max Pack was nominated for the 1998 Computer Action Game of the Year D.I.C.E. Award
A port was in development for the Gizmondo, but was never released due to the system's demise. Carmageddon and its expansion Splat Pack were released on GOG.com on 27 September 2012 for modern operating systems, likely in conjunction with the 29–30 September closure of Interstate 405. In addition, a port of the game for Apple's mobile devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad) was released on 17 October 2012.
A port for Android based devices was released on 10 May 2013. As of August 2019, Carmageddon is no longer available to download on the iOS App Store in the United Kingdom.
They contained zombies with green blood or robots with black oil instead of people, as running over the non human figures was considered more acceptable by their respective ratings boards. In the United Kingdom, the BBFC refused to certify the game unless all blood and gore was removed. After ten months of appeal, the BBFC certified the original version.
Reception and sales
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2011)
According to the co founders of Stainless Games, the Carmageddon series sold around two million copies in total. NPD Techworld, a firm that tracked sales in the United States, reported 118,500 units sold of Carmageddon's computer version by December 2002.
GameSpot was enamoured of the open ended, chaotic nature of the game, commenting that "Carmageddon touches that particular collective nerve that fuses the wholesome popularity of the All American Racing Game, with the homicidal singularity of the 70s cult film into an onscreen experience, that can only be compared to the kind of automotive mayhem that a five year old American male wreaks, with his Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars."
GamePro gave a more mixed review, commenting that the game is intense and high on longevity, but that its focus on wanton destruction and gore is in questionable taste and ultimately to the detriment of the gameplay. They also found the graphics mediocre and the controls when using a keyboard to be "frustrating and sluggish."
The game was successful enough to become a series. The other games in the main series are:
- Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now (1998)
- Carmageddon TDR 2000 (2000)
- Carmageddon: Reincarnation (2015)
- Carmageddon: Max Damage (2016)
SCi had originally planned Carmageddon 4 for a release in the end of 2005. Little to no information was released about the game, then SCi (at the time owned by Eidos) put development on hold for unspecified reasons. SCi and Eidos went on to focus on other projects, while Square Enix Europe obtained the series Intellectual property rights.
A reboot of the series, Carmageddon: Reincarnation was developed by Stainless Games, who re-acquired the rights to the Carmageddon name, releasing in May 2015. The game is a downloadable or digitally distributed game for Microsoft Windows. In July 2011, the City of Los Angeles launched a massive media campaign under the title "Carmageddon" to warn drivers about a major closure on the 405 Freeway during the weekend of July 15–17.
Stainless Games capitalized on the coincidence to promote the new release by announcing on the official web site during that time that "L.A. Celebrates Carmageddon" and "Yes, it’s official! The news that Carmageddon is back has been such a hit in California, that the authorities have decided to dedicate a whole weekend to the game!" Funding for the game has come partially from a Kickstarter campaign and donations through their main website. Further funds were secured from Les Edgar (co founder of Bullfrog Productions).
On September 26, 2013, it was announced that the PC version on Steam would be released in Q1 2014. On March 27, 2014 the first 'pre alpha' release was available as an Early Access version on Steam. The first beta version was released on February 14, 2015, and on March 18, 2015, it was announced the game would be released on April 23, 2015, via Carmageddon's YouTube channel. The release date was later delayed to May 21, 2015.
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