Apogee, One Of The Original Indie Publishers, Is Back

Apogee, One Of The Original Indie Publishers, Is Back

If you ever enjoyed Duke Nukem 3DBio Menace, Crystal Caves, Blake Stone, Commander Keen, Secret Agent, Wolfenstein 3D, Alien Carnage, Raptor: Call of the ShadowsShadow Warrior, Death Rally or Wacky Wheels in the past, then you owe a little bit of thanks to Apogee. The shareware publisher was a massive name in the early to mid-’90s for their work in helping publish a ton of iconic indie games, and overnight it was revealed that the indie publisher is making a comeback.

The publisher (which is calling itself Apogee Entertainment instead of Apogee Software), with a bit of help from Duke Nukem voice actor Jon St. John, showed off a string of titles that will supposedly ship over the next 12 months. While there weren’t any specific dates or announcements, the showcase did have footage of what looked like a remastered Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure, some Raptor gameplay (although it didn’t look remastered at all), some games with zombie elements, and a survival platformer called Residual.

In an interview with Gamesindustry, Apogee founder Scott Miller said the studio was looking to promote games that “have a strong fun factor” with a low barrier to entry. “I don’t think we’re going to do any games like Cuphead that are enormously difficult; that’s not really our thing,” Miller said.

The first title announced, Residual, is due out in the Australian spring. Players will explore a procedurally generated planet with light puzzle elements, according to the official release, and it’ll ship on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, and the Switch.

As for everything else? Apogee certainly has a bucket full of games that could totally use a sequel. The footage of the original Raptor with “currently in development” overlaid is definitely good news on a hump day. But remakes of Blood and Terminal Velocity — or a Terminal Velocity sequel/prequel — would do just nicely.

Update 10:50 AM: One of the developers involved has revealed that a Monster Bash remake, Monster Bash HD, is absolutely on the cards. It’s looking pretty authentic, all things considered.

Comments

  • I assume the 3D Realms brand will continue? It eventually replaced the Apogee brand in the late 90s, but I’m guessing both brands will exist moving forward.

  • If they didn’t screw it up a remake of blood it would be amazing, one of my favourite fps of that 2.5D era (maybe just edged out by the first two Dark Forces games but it’s been so long since I’ve played them don’t know if they hold up as well anymore)
    Even a release on the switch with updated controls would be very welcome.

    On mildly related tangent, would love to see a 2.5D retrospective on Kotaku (if there isn’t one already) and see what are the favourites of the community, I’m sure there are a few gems I would have missed.

    • Apogee didn’t do Blood. That was made by Monolith and published by GT Interactive, which is now owned by Infogrames/Atari.

      • Blood was actually originally pitched and conceived to the Apogee creators in 1994. The initial idea was to make it as a top-down Gauntlet game, similar to Get Medieval (which Monolith also made), and Apogee greenlit the project.

        Apogee then offered a few rounds of funding, but after the release of PowerSlave the project was rebooted as a horror 3D game on the Build engine in 1994.

        A year later, Apogee was still funding it — the founder hired James Wilson III to work as a mapper on Blood and helped him relocate to Seattle from Boston — but there was friction between Monolith and 3D Realms (which is what Apogee would eventually become).

        It wasn’t until November 96 when Monolith started negotiations with GT Interactive; by that time Monolith and 3D Realms had already been in court, and the game’s source code had leaked online earlier that year. Anyway, to say Apogee didn’t do Blood is absolutely not true — they helped fund almost all of its development, but they weren’t the final publisher because of a series of fractures, restricted funding, and legal dramas. Monolith eventually fully bought out the project, although precisely when in 1996 that happened I’m not sure.

        • Great bit of info thanks Alex. Read on wiki that the trademark and IP is now owned by Warner Bros. Gaming properties seem a right mess at times.

        • Sure! I worded it a bit poorly, but my point was that Apogee/3D Realms do not own Blood (despite funding a lot of its initial development), so can’t do anything with the IP.

          • Nightdive currently have their hands on the Blood IP. They released a new version called “Fresh Supply” within the last month or so.

  • Well that’s a great bit of news for the day. And the founder’s there! That’s just heartening news, unlike the Black Isle ‘in name only’ necromancy.
    I’ve revisited quite a few of those old classics recently (Raptor especially!) and they hold up. Wacky Wheels holds a special place in my heart for being the best kind of Mario Kart you could get without a SNES. Bio Menace was an underrated gem of its time with ultra-satisfying hitscan shooting, and Blake Stone was one of the best Wolf-3D clones before Doom came and rebranded the genre. So much of everything they touched was gold.

    Oh God. Can you imagine a Terminal Velocity remaster/remake? Excuse me, I’ll be in my bunk…

    • Can you imagine a Terminal Velocity remaster/remake… with VR support?

      I also think it’s great their new indie collaborations are kicking off with OrangePixel – a great fit with their brand of crunchy graphics and lighthearted gameplay.

  • Cool, Apogee takes me back to those crappy 1000 game discs full of mostly crap shareware and shovelware but had a few gems from Apogee.

    I would love a Secret Agent remaster like the Crystal Caves one.

  • Memories <3

    I bought Mystic Towers on steam cause I only ever owned the shareware floppies, it's nice when you finally get to finish a game where all your life you only had the demo

    • Haha, it’s kind of sad. I’ve done much the same thing. Those shareware discs paid off in the end… but not necessarily to the original developers, and not for the price they wanted at the time.

  • Absolutely unforgivable that they didn’t keep the original logo in all its jaggy pixelated, crappy 8-bit textures glory. What in hell is the point of bringing back such a historic brand if you are not going to shamelessly cash in the nostalgia?

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