Hang onto yer helmet: 1994’s Carmageddon is poised for reincarnation

10 May 2012

Nineties hit and destructive driving game sensation Carmageddon may return in 2013 thanks to the support of a Kickstarter campaign.

When it first came out for the PC in 1997, Carmageddon was an instant hit – no pun intended. Inspired by Stainless Games co-founder Patrick Buckland’s love of destruction derbies, the game threw away the concept of racing, instead turning cars into killing machines that clocked up points for every pedestrian and cow mowed down.

The original free-form driving sensation and its successors went on to sell more than 2m copies worldwide, but Stainless later parted ways with its publisher and lost its beloved game in the process.

Fifteen years later, the Isle of Wight-based company has bought back the rights to Carmageddon and is planning a reboot, with a little help from its fans.

Return to a groundbreaking format

While many of the features found in the Carmageddon of old are now commonplace, the game was groundbreaking at its time – and even managed to upset the media with its surreal brand of comedic violence. It was one of the first PC games to have true 3D physics, dynamic car damage and repair, a feature-rich action replay system, and big roaming environments, and the freedom to play how you wanted to.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation is set to feature all the best bits from the original, and much more. However, having spent close to US$350,000 on the project already, Stainless is turning to fans to support its development.

Enter Kickstarter.

Gifts and goodies for philanthropists

Setting a target of US$400,000, Stainless is fans and gamers to donate to see Carmageddon reincarnated, and they’re offering whatever they can in return. Packaged rewards for backers with dubious titles like ‘Blood Donor’, ‘State of the Fart’ and catchphrase ‘Hang Onto Yer Helmet’ offer a range of gifts and goodies for philanthropists, ranging from the usual Kickstarter paraphernalia of posters, T-shirts, bumper stickers and USB keys, to a mention in the game credits, signed artwork, a hand-painted ‘Splatted Granny’ collectible and – of course – free copies of the game.

Really generous donors can get even more involved and have a hand in the game’s development, suggesting car add-ons, deciding where to hide power-ups, or designing routes; while others can opt to actually be in the game, turned into a pedestrian destined to be run down by rogue drivers for eternity.

The project has earned 4,534 backers so far, but still has a ways to go before it reaches its goal of US$400,000. The closing date for funding is 6 June and, if Stainless has reached its goal by then, keep your eyes peeled for Carmageddon: Reincarnation in early 2013.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.