The WipEout series came to be through drinking, trance music and Super Mario Kart

The following comes from a Playstation dev blog on the WipEout series...

WipEout was the child of a concept pitch and a vivid memory. The two met in a pub just outside Liverpool in the early ’90s, introduced by a pair of Psygnosis developers – designer Nick Burcombe and artist Jim Bowers. The drinking establishment was a regular haunt for studio staff of which Bowers and Burcombe were two. They’d regularly meet and bounce ideas of each other.

Years earlier, Bowers had created a concept movie of two wedged ships dogfighting along a race track, firing missiles at one another before soaring round a huge loop.

He’d showed it to Burcombe, who recalled the footage when regaling Bowers with a story of how he’d overcome a particularly difficult race in Super Mario Kart by turning the TV’s volume off and cranking up a trance track (‘Age of Love’ by Age of Love) on his hi-fi.

“I had a zen moment were everything flowed perfectly,” remembers Burcombe. That sense of exhilaration as the music reached its peak as he crossed the finish line “was the moment I knew I wanted to make a game that did that to you.”
He envisioned doing the same to Bowers’ concept, setting the piece to a Liam Howlett cover of surf track ‘Wipe Out’ that broke out into the Prodigy’s ‘No Good’.

“I think that was the moment we could both see immediately what the game could be,” Nick says. “Even if it was in our slightly sozzled minds’ eye.”

The concept was gold. But there were two other key elements that helped turn the concept into reality.

Categories: Interviews, Consoles
Tags: snes, mario-kart


Thu Jun 08 17 05:17pm
(Updated 3 times)

And then years later Studio Liverpool was entirely shut down by the hands of higher-up Sony execs! The business world sure does dumb things sometimes...

It's a reactionary world, if something is successful they follow, if something has a defined big audience they try to do the thing without really getting it.

I've heard is kinda dumb and chaotic how Marvel or DC manages character rights sometimes, like they put conditions if they appear on something. And in movies sometimes a sequel is just like "make more of this thing" without really caring about it improving it or fixing previous mistakes.

All in all, you could have the tastiest apple on the world but if you don't know how to sell it, it will never be a thing. At the same time if you want to score at times, companies need to bet on something they believe in order to make a breakthrough success. "Acts of goodness are not always wise, and acts of evil are not always foolish, but regardless, we shall always strive to be good."

Fri Jun 09 17 03:48am
(Updated 2 times)

I hear you alright!... although I may hold some contempt for cases like this one. The last game handled by Studio Liverpool was the Wipeout game for PS Vita whose low sales, much like with other PS Vita-related studio developers, meant the disbanding of the developing team. Good intentions from the game creators were there alright, but this has also been one of the many, many recent cases of Sony-related studios that were entirely shut down by their console-manufacturer parent company due to a single bomb on a portable system that in the end receives less and less attentions from its creators themselves.

From the top of my head, a similar situation also happened to the development team behind the Playstation All-Star Battle Royale PS Vita port...


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