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Cauterised: Atari "Decline To Proceed" With Blood Update

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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Adam Smith

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