It’s always fascinating seeing the plans for games before they were released, and reading through the game’s design document reveals the team had to make some changes from their initial vision.
Dated October 2, 1995, the document is 36 pages long and gives a pretty thorough outline of the developer’s vision for the original Wipeout. “The project is an attempt to surpass the likes of Daytona USA, Ridge Racer and Need for Speed, whilst retaining the gameplay features of Stunt Car Racer, Mario Karts and Formula One Grand Prix,” the genre paragraph reads.
What’s interesting is reading the changes that “suggested development deadlines” forced to the game. Psygnosis, or at least some staffers on the team, originally wanted “36 fairly short tracks” for the game, but that was revised down to “15 slightly longer tracks with the difficulty of each track increasing more dramatically than before”.
Those tracks were separated into three groups, with tracks following one of five themes. “The order of these themes should be Track 1 – Industrial, Track 2 – Aquatic, Track 3 – Desert, Track 4 – Vegetation, Track 5 – Martian,” the document says.
“Sticking to this order will help me to influence the styles, designs and complexity of the tracks whilst providing the player with the knowledge that the next track will definitely be in the theme of what he or she expects and hopefully dreads playing.”
An added note that I never noticed while playing was that if there was a draw between the player and an AI racer after 5 tracks of a championship, the game would pit the player and the other drawn racers into a head to head battle on a random track.
You can read the full document here. How would you have changed the design of the original Wiepout, if you had the chance? (And yes, before you comment, I know the top screenshot is from Wipeout XL. Sorry. It’s a resolution thing.)