European cover art
|Developer(s)||Stainless Games |
Aqua Pacific (PS1/GBC version)
Software Creations (N64 version)
|Platform(s)||MS-DOS, Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, iOS, Android|
April 3, 2000
October 17, 2012
May 10, 2013
|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 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.
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 36 race tracks played across 11 different maps.
The game featured instrumental versions of songs from Fear Factory's album from 1995, Demanufacture, with the song "Zero Signal" being used in the game's intro. Other songs from the album that appear are Demanufacture and Body Hammer.
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 awarding the player points for the pedestrian kills.
The Death Race 2000 sequel 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 U.S. 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 and Microsoft Windows in 1997, and was eventually ported to Macintosh (1997), PlayStation (1999), Nintendo 64 (1999) and Game Boy Color (2000). The PlayStation and Nintendo 64 versions of Carmageddon are more similar to Carmageddon II, however the latter version was heavily censored at the discretion of Nintendo's policies on game releases at the time. A port was in development for the Gizmondo, but was never released due to the system's demise. Carmageddon was released for iOS in October 2012 and for Android devices in May 2013.
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.
Official UK PlayStation Magazine were scathing of the gameplay of the PlayStation version, saying that "no amount of pureed pedestrian can cover its faults." The Nintendo 64 port was ill-received, being N64 Magazine's lowest rated game at 8% from 1999 till 2004.
In many countries (including Germany and, for a short time, the United Kingdom), the first release of the game was censored. 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. In some countries, the game was banned completely, including Brazil. In Portugal and Australia the game was passed completely uncut with an +18 and MA15+ rating, respectively.
The Carmageddon Splat Pack is an official expansion pack released in 1997. The expansion pack included new tracks, vehicles, environments, network levels and 3Dfx support. The Carmageddon Max Pack, also released in 1997, 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 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)
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.
In 2011, Stainless Games had obtained the rights to Carmageddon from former company Square Enix Europe. After obtaining the intellectual property, Stainless developed "Carmageddon 4" under the name Carmageddon: Reincarnation. Backed by a Kickstarter campaign, the game was in public beta stage, scheduled for final release in April 2015. However, it was released on May 21, 2015 afterwards.
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.
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.
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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