In the distant future of 2001...
There are only 3 BattleTanx games in existence; two for the N64 and one for the Game Boy Color. That means it’s been an incredibly long time since we’ve seen the franchise, yet fans of the original still remember them fondly.
While a game about driving tanks around and blowing stuff up doesn’t seem too outlandish, there wasn’t really anything like it back in the day. It also turns out that the team working on the title had trouble believing in it as well.
In an interview with Destructoid, creative director, Michael Mendheim, talks about how he came up with the idea for BattleTanx, and also wades into the topic of trying to convince his team that this game was going to be a hit.
“I pitched BattleTanx as — ‘Tokyo Wars meets GoldenEye.’ We could build a Tokyo Wars-style game using the existing technology already developed and have the team focus on making a fun multiplayer game. That’s how I sold the game to the development and executive teams at 3DO.
At first, the dev team was reluctant. They thought it was a silly idea – but I had them play Tokyo Wars so they could understand the mechanics. Early in development, the team wasn’t happy with the new direction and didn’t believe in it. I don’t think anyone on the team trusted me at that point, but we moved ahead on the development.”
For those who don’t know, Tokyo Wars is a 1996 first-person shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco. The game let up to eight players control separate tanks, either as teammates or as opponents.
It’s easy to see how this game directly influenced BattleTanx, and then the further influence from GoldenEye’s multiplayer components made the game a hit. Once the dev team finally had a playable multiplayer prototype for BattleTanx, things really started to click for them, and they understood the vision Mendheim had.