Cauterised: Atari “Decline To Proceed” With Blood Update

By Adam Smith on February 18th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Monolith founder Jace Hall has been attempting to organise the release of an updated version of the company’s gloriously gory Build engine FPS Blood for some time, as we mentioned last August. At that time, confidence was high: “I certainly will be able to and will get all the support I need from all/any parties that may have legal interest in the game.” Unfortunately, one of the parties involved is Atari and, as you may recall, the gaming world’s own Lazarus recently perished yet again and in its state of pending rebirth has contacted Hall with bad news: “I just got an unusually short, one sentence e-mail from Atari, letting me know that given the current set of circumstances, they are choosing to decline to proceed.”

I love Blood. While I appreciated Duke 3D, I spent my teenage years watching The Evil Dead on a worn-down VHS so Caleb’s brand of the ridiculous was far closer to my heart. My bedroom was plastered with schlocky horror film posters that would make me wince in embarrassment today. I’m a much more serious and and mature chap now, you see, and my bedroom has no space for such things, being almost entirely filled with boardgames and a fingerpainting of a dinosaur that I created a few weeks ago.

Sad news, then, for all those like me who remember the incandescent love between a flare and a cultist, or the bouncing, booted head of a zombie. I’ve probably played the first level, in single player, deathmatch and co-op, more than any other single area in an FPS before or since.

Hall delivered the news to the Blood fans at The Post-Mortem, with a brief statement that I shall reproduce in its entirety:

Dear Blood Community:

I just got an unusually short, one sentence e-mail from Atari, letting me know that given the current set of circumstances, they are choosing to decline to proceed.

Obviously, I am disappointed. Particularly given Atari’s continued encouragement along with the amount of time, effort and correspondence that I have put into this venture.

The only thing that can be done at this point is to wait and see what happens with ATARI, and hope that they find themselves in a position and mindset to allow my efforts to continue on this matter at a future date.

Tears and Sadness,
Jace Hall

It’s impossible to know quite how much progress had been made, or how much work remained, but hopefully there will be more to come down the line. It’d be easy for someone who has never played Blood to look at a few screenshots and assume that its spirit lives on in the likes of Painkiller, with all the red stuff, body parts and demons that the games have in common. There hasn’t really been anything quite like it since though, including the plodding sequel. Given that a direct continuation is extremely unlikely, it’d be good to have something new, even if the game is available in its original form. As for Monolith’s other masterpiece, No One Lives Forever, I doubt we’ll see its like again and a swift Google search reminds me that John has had similar thoughts in the past.

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45 Comments »

  1. mrmalodor says:

    It’s amazing how many publishers and developers completely misjudge and ignore the market these days.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      It’s not about ignoring the market. They are filing for bankruptcy.

    • MOKKA says:

      Here’s what’s funny (and also somewhat sad), you (as well as most other commenters on RPS) aren’t really part of the market most bigger publishers are interested in.

      • mrmalodor says:

        Exactly. They are ignoring the market.
        You make your bed, you die in it.

        • misterT0AST says:

          You are not the Market.
          A huge company which needs huge profits to even survive must target a huge market.
          Not the niche-PC-old-school-shooter fanbase.
          Those numbers don’t even remotely compare with the Xbox teenager playerbase.

        • Hahaha says:

          Hahahahahah yep lets target the market that consistently only buy games when they are on sale for 50 – 75%. Talking about making your bed shit you guys have done that long ago.

    • Dorothy_Wildman says:

      just as Kimberly explained I didn’t know that some one can profit $4588 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you read this site… http://www.ace60.com

  2. faelnor says:

    So can we have the source code now then, please?
    I don’t really care much about a HD remake, but a modern source port would be great to have.

  3. Kobest says:

    I do hope they succeed and go ahead with the update. These days I’m playing through Shadow Warrior and my God, what I would give if a company made a new FPS with the design elements of these Build engine classics.

  4. aznan says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  5. Bhazor says:

    I imagine the one line email as this.
    “Here at Atari we’ve written up a list of priorities, here’s Ubisoft’s phone number, here’s the French translation for “We give up” and here’s our current situation summed up in one, rude, word”

  6. Hilden2000 says:

    Decidedly NOT open for business..

  7. Beernut says:

    Another “other” masterpiece made by Monolith would be “Shogo – Mobile Armor Division”, they sure knew how to create excellent fps!

    • MSJ says:

      All the Shogo references in the FEAR games made me think that it could be their next major project. An FPS that also has giant robots should be easy to get published nowadays.

    • skyturnedred says:

      Shogo was one of my favourites growing up. Would be really cool to see a remake or sequel.

      • Baines says:

        I want to recall there was a multiplayer mod that let humans fight against robots, at proper scale.

        But I never bought the game until it was in a discount shelf two-game pack, and it was long dead at that point.

  8. kwyjibo says:

    Was Blood 2 any good? I remember it getting a decent review in PC Zone, but never got round to it.

    I’m fond of late 90s shooters, one overlooked gem is Requiem: Avenging Angel – bonkers good fun.

    • Anthile says:

      The only thing I remember about Requiem is this ancient Penny Arcade strip: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/1998/12/02
      In fact, the release of Requiem is closer to the fall of the Berlin wall than it is to present day.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Never played the demo, but the early levels (set in Purgatory) were a bit rubbish.

        In other things to make you feel old, I picked up the game on sale for £2.99 in an Electronics Boutique, on the high street!

    • mrmalodor says:

      Blood 2 was OK.

      But do you know if it’s possible get Requiem working in W7? I’ve been meaning to give it a go, but don’t have time to do research at the moment.

    • TimEatsApples says:

      Blood 2 had a lot of good, fun ideas in it but it was all kinds of buggy and the level design was very uneven. I played the demo three or four times through and loved it, but the main game didn’t live up to the promise. If I remember rightly it was one of those unfortunate late-90s FPSs that decided it’d be fun to include platforming elements, too.

      I’d say it has enough interesting bits to make it worth a shot though – it’s $5.99 on GOG.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      Yes Requiem was great, overlooked and innovative in many ways. Still have my CD. Blood 2 was shite, a rush job by the devs own admission. Still have that CD too. And Kingpin, and Sin … ah, me. Where does the time go.

    • Prime says:

      This is a sub-thread for me because I am old and many of you seem to be old too. God bless you all.

      Shadow Warriors was awesome, as was Blood. Boo to Atari for their going out of business just as they were being told how not to go out of business, by releasing updates to ancient classics.

  9. DickSocrates says:

    Saw last night that the Duke 3D TC to Blood (recreating Blood in Duke 3D) was released, and there was at least one update. I haven’t checked it yet and it may only be one episode. But if that got finished, we wouldn’t need the source, which is never going to get released. It takes people that understands value in terms broader than “how much money can we make right this second?” something not common amongst business people.

  10. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Can’t say I was too excited about anything Blood, anyway.
    I didn’t realize Monolith still existed.
    Make me some NOLF3!

  11. Baal_Sagoth says:

    “Sad news, then, for all those like me who remember the incandescent love between a flare and a cultist”
    Oh yes, this reference really hits close to home. How much I played and enjoyed that damn game. One of my early favourites as far as FPS games go. It’s a shame in general how badly Monolith seems to do these days. They’re such a talented developer.

  12. WhiteZero says:

    The heck? Jace seemed to imply before that he had all the necessary rights to make the game

    • Baines says:

      The post you linked to says he had “all the necessary rights/support to follow through on my ideas for bringing BLOOD back”.

      Having Atari’s support and approval would make that valid, right up until Atari rescinded it. With Atari acting so supportive, he probably had no reason to expect Atari to change their mind

  13. islisis says:

    they should be more positive and say they proceed to decline ヽ(´ー`)ノ

  14. Scumbag says:

    Are there any modern engines that Blood works with? I know Duke 3D, Doom and Quake all have had custom engines with custom content made for them, but was there anything for Blood?

    EDIT: And reading the in depth info I realize I am a moron.

  15. Deadly Habit says:

    Ah Atari… this reminds me of the interview I read where Troika wanted to make more modules for ToEE and other companies wanted to license Troika’s ToEE D&D engine for games but Atari never responded.
    It’s like they hate money.

  16. B1A4 says:

    There is a Blood themed roguelike, Infra Arcana. It is mashup with Lovecraft mythos but it’s not a bad thing. It has everything important, pitchfork, flare gun, tesla gun… shouting cultits and non-ASCII graphics.

    v14 is in the progress and it will be awesome.

    http://infraarcana.wikispaces.com/

  17. jimangi says:

    Ah, NOLF. I have many fond memories of that game (mostly the first but the sequel was still good). The majority of the jokes went right over my 9-year old head, apart from a sequence about monkey bargaining.

  18. mutopia says:

    Oh man I love No One Lives Forever and sequel so bloody much, and I never quite understood exactly how it is that we never saw more of it. Absolutely two of the best games of the era, and two of the most humorous games ever.

    Amazingly, the humour was just the icing on the cake, too. It had fun levels all over the world, bonkers but genius spy equipment (robot poodles to distract guard dogs, lock-destroying lighter, an extremely bulky camera-spoof thing, lipstick grenades etc.) and a fast-paced and engaging storyline. I also distinctly remember enjoying NOLF’s quirky brand of stealth more than anything Splinter Cell ever served. It also knew how to tell a story through the environments and characters a lot better than almost all FPS, although it does have cutscenes (which are actually great).

    I really recommend people trying them out, because these games have to be played and seen to be believed.

  19. age says:

    I live… again!

    Oh wait, no I don’t :(

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