If you've got an active PS+ account, you'll be able to download a little arcade racer for free this month. It's called Table Top Racing, and its the brainchild of Nick Burcombe, who worked on the first two Wipeout games back in the 1990's.
Unsurprisingly, he too would like another Wipeout game — but if it's going to happen, he'll need to go through Kickstarter.
In an interview with MCV UK, Burcombe's said that — like anyone else who worked at Studio Liverpool or Psygnosis during the Wipeout heydays — fans have repeatedly lobbied him to make a new Wipeout, a void he'd be happy to fill.
But there's caveats to this. For one, Burcombe wouldn't make another Wipeout unless he could call it that — which means he'd have to get licensing approval from Sony first. "It's kind of out of the question without Sony’s blessing," he remarked.
Secondly, the project wouldn't work without crowdfunding. "I’d have to make that PR story work on a Kickstarter level. You’d have to find out if there’s an audience for it first. I’d be looking at a proper undertaking on this and make it so that players can create their own tracks and really reinvent the whole thing."
It's not the first time someone's proposed making a new Wipeout, especially since Studio Liverpool closed their doors. Hell, there are even a few projects out there right now. Formula Fusion has been kicking around in Early Access for months, and while it's due for release later this year it's still got a fair way to go before it's feature complete.
Slipstream GX (SSGX) was another fan project positioning itself as a spiritual successor, but progress slowed to a crawl last year when the programmers opted to rewrite the game's code. The developers added in late December that the game would be a "low priority in their lives", especially after the main coder secured a full-time role thanks to his work on SSGX.
The other option: Ballistic NG, an open-source game that falls somewhere between Wipeout 2097 and Wip3out SE. It's currently waiting to be greenlit on Steam, but you can download a beta version that has several tracks, ships and some rudimentary multiplayer.
Wipeout left a mark for a number of reasons: its exceptional choice of electronic music, blistering speed and exemplary visuals. Wipeout HD was one of the few games on the PS3 that actually ran at a full 1080p resolution, using adaptive resolutions and innovative techniques that have become fairly commonplace amongst the current generation.
The indie games currently in production: they're decent, honest efforts. But they're not the real deal. They're missing pieces of the puzzle, crucial elements that made Wipeout so special.
Studio Liverpool and Psygnosis really was an incredible collection of developers. And without bringing back the full team, it's going to be nigh-on impossible to recreate the magic of the originals.
Like legions of fans, I really want another Wipeout game. But I don't want one that's half-arsed, or one produced by a studio that doesn't have the budget or manpower to do the series justice.
If there's going to be another Wipeout, it should probably be funded by Sony. But that doesn't seem likely, given the lack of movement on the IP in the last few years. And if a publisher won't invest into a proper sequel, then I don't want another Wipeout at all.
Don't tarnish the memory of Wipeout on Kickstarter. Please, don't.