Wipeout (series)

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This article is about the Wipeout series of video games. For the first game in the series, see Wipeout (video game). For the series of video games based on the 2008 U.S. television show, see List of video games based on Wipeout (2008 U.S. game show).
Wipeout
Wipeout logo.png
Genres Racing game
Developers Psygnosis/SCE Studio Liverpool
Publishers Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Platforms PlayStation
First release Wipeout
29 September 1995
Latest release Wipeout 2048
19 January 2012

Wipeout (commonly stylised as wipEout) is a series of futuristic anti-gravity racing video games developed by Sony Studio Liverpool (formerly known as Psygnosis). The series is known for its fast-paced gameplay and 3D visual design running on the full resolution of the console the game belongs to; its association with electronic dance music (mainly Goa trance, uplifting trance and big beat), as well as its continuous collaboration with electronica artists (The Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, CoLD SToRAGE, Kraftwerk, Orbital, DJ Fresh and others). The series identified itself with a strong graphical design, mostly provided by The Designers Republic.

The concept of Wipeout was first discussed during a pub conversation, when one member of Psgynosis' staff envisioned an idea of creating a futuristic racing game which featured anti-gravity ships. Some elements of the game were inspired from Matrix Marauders, an Amiga game released by the Liverpudlian studio in 1994. A beta version of Wipeout appeared in the cult film Hackers, in which the game was being played by the protagonists in a nightclub. The game's appearance in the film led to Sony purchasing the studio in the following months after its release. The Wipeout franchise has been well received by critics, with Wipeout 2097 in particular being listed as among the PlayStation's best games. Wipeout 2048 was the last game to be developed by Studio Liverpool prior to their closure in August 2012. The series is later revived, with Wipeout: Omega Collection to be released in 2017.

Gameplay[edit]

A screenshot from Wipeout HD. The series revolves around players piloting anti-gravity ships through futuristic race environments.

The Wipeout games are a series of futuristic racers which involve players piloting anti-gravity ships through various forms of races. The series is known for its extreme speed, electronic dance music (mainly Goa trance, uplifting trance and big beat), and consequential difficulty.[1][2] Power-ups (or "pick-ups") come in the form of offensive or defensive weaponry, ranging from machine guns, missiles, rockets, to energy shields, auto pilots, and mines.[3][4][5][6] Power-ups are usually collected by flying over different coloured pads on race tracks.[7][8] Speed boost pads also feature prominently on race tracks: once flown over, the player receives a short momentous boost.[9][10] Every ship featured in a game is owned by a different racing corporation (collectively referred to as 'teams' in-game)[11][12] although the number of teams and ships will vary throughout the games. Every ship has different characteristics, for example each ship will vary in handling, thrust, maximum speed and shield strength.[13][14][15] Each ship is equipped with a compulsory shield which absorbs damage sustained during a race; energy is lost whenever the player's ship collides or is hit by weapons fire. If the shield runs out, the ship and player in question will explode and is consequently eliminated from the race.[16][17]

The games' campaign modes usually consists of single races, time trials, and tournaments. Standard single races involve the player competing against opponents to finish first and winning a gold medal.[a] Tournament modes typically contain of four single races in each tournament; the player who earns the most points during a tournaments wins.[20] Time trials and speed laps features the player obtaining the fastest time on a track in either three laps or a single lap, respectively.[21][22] "Zone" mode has been featured in every game since Wipeout Fusion and revolves around survival as the player's ship automatically accelerates to extreme speeds. The mode will only end upon the destruction of the player's ship.[18][23][24][25] "Eliminator" mode was introduced in Wipeout 3 and centres around players gaining points for destroying competitors and finishing laps.[26][27]

Games[edit]

Timeline of release years
1995 Wipeout
1996 Wipeout 2097
1997
1998 Wipeout 64
1999 Wipeout 3
2000
2001
2002 Wipeout Fusion
2003
2004
2005 Wipeout Pure
2006
2007 Wipeout Pulse
2008 Wipeout HD
2009
2010
2011
2012 Wipeout 2048
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017 Wipeout: Omega Collection

Wipeout[edit]

Main article: Wipeout (video game)

Wipeout (stylised as wipE'out") is a futuristic racing video game developed and published by Psygnosis. It is the first game in the series and was originally released for the PlayStation and PCs running MS-DOS in 1995, and for the Sega Saturn the following year. It was also a launch title for the PlayStation in Europe and North America. 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 around the world.

Unique at the time for its futuristic setting, Wipeout featured music from well-known techno artists such as CoLD SToRAGE, Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers and Orbital.[28][2] A prototype version of the game appeared in the teen cult film Hackers (1995), in which both protagonists were playing the game in a nightclub.[1] A marketing campaign created and launched by Keith Hopwood and graphic design studio The Designers Republic included an infamous promotional poster featuring a bloodstained Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox, which was accused by some of depicting a drug overdose.[1]

Wipeout 2097[edit]

Main article: Wipeout 2097

Wipeout 2097 (stylised wipE'out"2097; released as Wipeout XL in North America) is the second game of the franchise and is a direct sequel to the original game. It was first released worldwide in 1996 for the PlayStation, and for the Sega Saturn in the following year. Set in the year 2097, the game revolves around players competing in the F3600 anti-gravity racing league. The game was first unveiled to the public in the form of a pre-alpha demo at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May 1996.[29] Similar to the first game, music was mostly recorded from Psygnosis's in-house music team, CoLD SToRAGE, for versions released outside the PlayStation.[30]

Wipeout 64[edit]

Main article: Wipeout 64

Wipeout 64 is the third instalment of the series and is the only Wipeout title not to be released on a Sony console. It was released exclusively for the Nintendo 64 in November 1998 for North America, and later in 1999 for Europe. The game is set one year after the events of Wipeout 2098 and shares the same anti-gravity racing league.[31] Wipeout 64 re-uses most of the race tracks in featured in the previous games, albeit in mirrored layouts and different locations.[32]

Wipeout 3[edit]

Main article: Wipeout 3

Wipeout 3 (stylised as wip3out in Europe and Japan) is the fourth title in the franchise and was first released in September 1999 for the PlayStation. An enhanced edition entitled Wipeout 3 Special Edition was released exclusively in Europe on 14 July 2000; featuring minor changes to gameplay, such as different craft physics, auto-loading of saves and artificial intelligence bugfixes.[33] As with the first two games, Psygnosis once again hired The Designers Republic to assist in development. The Sheffield-based company, known for its underground techno album covers, provided "visual candy" to Wipeout 3's graphics, designing the game's icons, billboards, and colour schemes.[34] The game also featured music from well-known British electronica artists, such as The Chemical Brothers, Orbital, and Propellerheads. Psygnosis selected DJ Sasha to serve as the game's music director.[35]

Wipeout Fusion[edit]

Main article: Wipeout Fusion

Wipeout Fusion (stylised as wipEout fusion) is the fifth instalment of the series and was first released on the PlayStation 2 in 2002. The game was the first to be developed by the newly renamed Sony Studio Liverpool, formerly known as Psgynosis until 2001.[1] It is set in the year 2160 and revolves around players competing in the F9000 anti-gravity racing league. After the success of the previous games, the development team wanted to target Wipeout Fusion at an "older, savvier crowd".[36]

Wipeout Pure[edit]

Main article: Wipeout Pure

Wipeout Pure (stylised as wipE'out pṳre) is the sixth game in the series and was released simultaneously with the launch of the PlayStation Portable in 2005. The game takes place in the year 2197, exactly 100 years after Wipeout 2097, and centres around players competing in the FX300 anti-gravity racing league. Development of the game started in August 2003 and lasted until early 2005. Throughout production, the Liverpudlian studio created new user interfaces and other algorithms which helped speed up the development process in time for the PlayStation Portable's launch.[37] The game was notable for showcasing the PlayStation Portable's graphical capabilities, and marked the first time a Wipeout game featured downloadable content—an aspect which had the potential to draw in more revenue for Studio Liverpool.[37]

Wipeout Pulse[edit]

Main article: Wipeout Pulse

Wipeout Pulse (stylised as wipEout pulse) is the seventh instalment and was first released for the PlayStation Portable in 2007. A port for the PlayStation 2 was released exclusively in Europe in June 2009, featuring enhanced graphics and all of the game's downloadable content.[38] The game takes place one year after the events of Wipeout Pure and sets players on competing in the FX400 anti-gravity racing league. Development of the game was centred around focusing on the feedback left by fans on the previous game, and improving on aspects where Studio Liverpool had thought they had previously failed.[39] The game features sixteen licensed music tracks from techno artists, including Kraftwerk, DJ Fresh, and Skream.[40]

Wipeout HD[edit]

Main article: Wipeout HD

Wipeout HD is the eighth title in the franchise and is the first to be released on the PlayStation Network worldwide in 2008, although a retail version was later released exclusively in Europe the next year. A major expansion pack titled Wipeout HD Fury was released worldwide via the PlayStation Network worldwide in July 2009. The game revolves around players competing in the FX350 anti-gravity racing league, and features the same race tracks from Wipeout Pure and Wipeout Pulse, although all content has been upgraded to render 1080p visuals in 60 frames per second.[41][42] According to the game's director, the team made the decision to release the game as a PlayStation Store exclusive title before development, in order to stress that downloadable content did not have to be focused on "small games".[43] Wipeout HD's expansion pack, Fury, received controversy over its in-game advertising, with many players complaining of extended loading times,[44] as well as consternation about advertising being retroactively added into a game that had already been paid for.[45] The game was also chosen as a free PlayStation Store offering as part of Sony's "Welcome Back" programme due to the 2011 PlayStation Network outage.[46][47][48]

Wipeout 2048[edit]

Main article: Wipeout 2048

Wipeout 2048 is the ninth and final game in the series to be developed by Studio Liverpool prior to their closure in August 2012. The game was released as a launch title for the PlayStation Vita in early 2012 and centres around players competing in the Anti-Gravity Racing Championships. It is set in the year 2048 and acts as a prequel to the first Wipeout game. Wipeout 2048 was developed alongside the PlayStation Vita console itself, and acted as a "testbed" for the device.[49] When the staff of the Liverpudlian studio were given development kits for what was then dubbed as a "Next Generation Portable", a group was set up within the team to brainstorm ideas. Among these included the proposal of a touchscreen device, which was not yet conceived by Sony at the time, and two analogue sticks—both features eventually made it onto the console.[1][49]

Development[edit]

From starting from a conversation in a pub, to a test video for a movie, to a piece of unknown hardware documented only in Japanese, to then, twelve months later having a working game on the shelf - it was an astonishing achievement.

Nick Burcome in a retrospective interview with Eurogamer.[1]

All games in the Wipeout franchise were developed by Sony Studio Liverpool (formerly known as Psygnosis prior to 2001).[b] The conceptualisation of Wipeout revolved around Psygnosis designer Nick Burcombe's idea of creating a racing game using the same types of anti-gravity vehicles from his experience with Powerdrome, a title first released on the Atari ST in 1988.[50] The game's futuristic vehicle designs were based on Matrix Marauders, a 1994 Amiga 3D grid-based strategy game whose concept was developed by fellow Psygnosis employee Jim Bowers.[51] The name "Wipeout" was decided upon during a pub conversation, and was inspired by the instrumental song Wipe Out by The Surfaris.[1][50] Shortly after the release of the film Hackers (of which a beta version of Wipeout appeared in), Sony expressed interest in Psygnosis on the basis of their "impressive work" they had performed with 3D graphics.[1] In September 1995 Sony purchased the Liverpool-based company outright.[52] Subsequent development of Wipeout 2097 spanned seven months, and a nightclub tour was initiated in conjunction with Red Bull to help advertise the game.[50][53] Both of the game's art, in-game branding, and packaging were made by Sheffield-based The Designers Republic.[1]

For the development of Wipeout 3, Psygnosis once again hired The Designers Republic to assist in development. Lead artist Nicky Westcott wanted to make the game to look like a "believable future" in order to retain a believable sensibility.[34] Wipeout 3 was also the first game to benefit from the PlayStation's analogue sticks, which were used to offer smoother control of the player's craft.[54] Pre-production of Wipeout Pure began in August 2003 and full production commenced in October of that year. The team received development kits of the then-upcoming PlayStation Portable the following year, and was made aware that Wipeout Pure was going to be a launch title for that console. During development, Studio Liverpool created user interfaces and custom plugins for 3D computer graphics software entirely from scratch in order to help speed up the process.[37]

Wipeout HD was first announced during E3 2007, and was revealed to be a downloadable-only.[55] The game's director, Tony Buckley, said in a retrospective interview that the studio made the decision to release the game as a PlayStation Store exclusive title before development, in order to stress that downloadable content does not have to be focused on small games.[43] There was a significant delay when reports emerged that the game had failed epilepsy testing, and that it would have to be re-designed before it could be released.[56] Wipeout 2048 was developed in parallel with the PlayStation Vita itself, and had acted as a "testbed" for the console.[49] The development of the game influenced the design of the console itself; staff from the Liverpudlian studio were sent to brainstorm ideas to senior management at Soney. Among these ideas included the proposal of a touchscreen device—which was not yet conceived at the time—as well as the inclusion of two sticks.[1] On 8 August 2012, Sony officially shut down Studio Liverpool as part of an effort to focus on alternative investment plans.[57] At the time of their closure, the studio was working on a future Wipeout title for the PlayStation 4, which was reported to have been in development for 12 to 18 months.[58]

In December 2016, Wipeout: Omega Collection was announced for the PlayStation 4. The game will be a remastered 4K collection of Wipeout HD and Wipeout 2048 and is slated for release in the summer of 2017.[59]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Wipeout 90%[60]
Wipeout 2097 95%[61] 93%[62]
Wipeout 64 86%[63] 84%[64]
Wipeout 3 87%[65] 89%[66]
Wipeout Fusion 84%[67] 83%[68]
Wipeout Pure 88%[69] 88%[70]
Wipeout Pulse 84%[71] 82%[72]
Wipeout HD 91%[73] 89%[74]
Wipeout 2048 80%[75] 79%[76]

The Wipeout series has been well received by critics. Its fast-paced gameplay, high quality visuals, and prominent techno soundtracks have been cited as hallmarks of the series.[1][2][41][77][22] According to aggregators GameRankings and Metacritic, the highest rated game in the series is Wipeout 2097,[61][62] whereas the lowest ranked is Wipeout 2048.[75][76] Upon release, the first Wipeout game was widely praised for its electronica soundtrack, originality, and outstanding visuals;[78][79] however, a critic at the time questioned its longevity and potential to hold a long lifespan in comparison to Super Mario Kart.[80] In retrospect, Wipeout was described as being synonymous with Sony's debut gaming hardware and as an early showcase for 3D graphics in console gaming.[81] The game also increased awareness of the underground techno community in England, as it was one of the first games to include licensed music.[1] The second instalment of the series, Wipeout 2097, was released to critical acclaim. Reviewers unanimously commended its innovation, graphics, and unique blend of techno music.[82][83] IGN ranked it as the 13th best PlayStation game of all time,[84] and The Official PlayStation Magazine named it as the fifth best in 1997.[85] In addition, Wipeout 2097 also ranks as the third best PlayStation game of all time at GameRankings.[62]

Wipeout 64 received generally positive reviews, with some critics asserting that it was a superior game to F-Zero X in regards to graphics, atmosphere, and track design,[86][87] though others noted that it did not reach the standards of its predecessor, Wipeout 2097.[88] The fourth instalment of the series, Wipeout 3, was positively received upon release; critics lauded the graphics, fast-paced gameplay, and music,[89][90][91] although many reviews felt that the game's steep learning curve was a major fault.[91][92][93] Wipeout Fusion was more negatively received by critics; the graphics received mixed responses, with one reviewer saying that it looked like an "early first generation PS2 game",[94] despite another opining that the visuals had improved over all of its predecessors.[95] At the time of Wipeout Fusion's release in 2001, critics recognised the fact that techno music was an integral part of the series.[94][95][36] Wipeout Pure and Wipeout Pulse both received very positive reviews upon release, with critics praising their visual effects, attention to detail, and track design.[96][97][98][27][99] Wipeout HD, along with its Fury expansion pack, also received very positive reviews, with many critics agreeing that it offered the best visual representation of any Wipeout game due to it being upscaled in full 1080p and rendered in 60 frames per second.[41][42] It was nominated for the "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design" category in the 12th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards and was also nominated under the racing category for the 28th Golden Joystick Awards.[100][101] The final instalment in the franchise to be developed by Studio Liverpool, Wipeout 2048, received generally positive reviews despite it being the lowest ranked game overall. Critics cohesively commended the graphics and visuals, and also regarded it as a showcase for the PlayStation Vita's power.[102][103][104]

References[edit]

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Bibliography
Notes
  1. ^ In most single race modes, securing second or third place will reward the player with a silver and bronze medal, respectively.[18][19]
  2. ^ Although all Wipeout titles have been developed by Sony Studio Liverpool before their closure, the upcoming Wipeout: Omega Collection will be developed by various studios, despite the original games featured within the collection being developed by Studio Liverpool.

External links[edit]