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.