Carmageddon: Reincarnation Ploughs Into Early Access

Meat is murder

While many retro revival Kickstarters dreamed of bring back old genres or broader old design philosophies, Stainless Games had a far more modest goal: mowing down pedestrians in several tons of murdercar. Two years later, it’s sort-of come true. Carmageddon: Reincarnation has now hit Steam Early Access at £19.99, giving an early taste of the vintage deathracer series’ thrills, chills, and bovine kills.

And hey, as it’s Saturday afternoon, why not ring in both the launch and settle into the weekend by watching a cute little Carmageddon cartoon? You’ll learn so much about friendship and viscera.

As one should expect from an Early Access release, Reincarnation is not finished yet. Right now it only has six cars and three levels, some more finished than others, and may be wonky in unexpected ways. Stainless broadly expects to have the game finished and ready for an actual launch later this year, when it’ll bump the price up too. For now, you’ll certainly be able to race around open-ish levels, smash other drivers to pieces, mow down pedestrians, and mince entire herds of cattle.

Here’s the promised cartoon:


  1. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:


  2. Demon Beaver says:

    The cartoon was actually a bit disturbing… maybe the game is, too.

  3. Halk says:

    Fucking Zero Signal!, Hell yes!

  4. mwoody says:

    Wow, these controls are not at all designed for PC. This is rather alarmingly a console game, from the “saving now, don’t turn off your system” icon to the bizarre WASD+IJKL inputs that are clearly designed for a D-pad.

    Ah well. What little I played wasn’t fun per se, but was close enough it could get there with a lot more work. Not sorry I backed the campaign.

    • gschmidl says:

      PCs also support controllers. It works wonderfully with one, plays just like the Carmageddon of old.

      • Lagwolf says:

        PC supports controllers but no PC game should REQUIRE them to be at all playable. Personally I prefer using A/Z & arrow key combo for driving games (yes I am left-handed). Any racing game that does not allow me to use that combo (on a PC) is lame.

        Or to put it another way… if I wanted to play with a bloody console controller I would have bought a damn console.

        • DrGonzo says:

          Or you’d buy a pc and use a controller…

          edit to add, pcs are about being open. So yes, you should always be able to use a m+k, but you should also always be able to use whatever controller or ridiculous peripheral you like.

        • trjp says:

          PCs are an open platform – the idea is that you can connect a wide range of different peripherals for a wide range of reasons.

          I fail to see why being on PC should force developers into making the game work “better” with a keyboard and a mouse – they support it (because they’d lose sales if they didn’t) but if a controller is a better system of control (which it is for driving as it offers analog steering/throttle and brake) then that WILL be reflected in the game.

          I’ve no idea why people resist the idea of owning a controller – games were played with controllers before the PC existed – why the sudden reluctance to use what is a better solution to the problem??

          • JiminyJickers says:

            Fully agree, no one complained about having to buy joysticks for flight simulators back in the day. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t have at least one controller.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            If I wanted to play all my games with a controller then I wouldn’t need a fucking PC, would I now? Consoles are much cheaper, and you’re guaranteed to be able to play every game with the standard controller. Why am I even reading RPS when it features so few console games?

            … Oh yeah, controllers suck donkey balls, that’s why.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:


            Nobody claims you should use it for everything. Each game is different. I’d never play a decent FPS with a controller, but a driving game is a no brainer, and that’s before even mentioning wheels.

            You don’t need the latter, but at least analog inputs are an upgrade, no matter how wonderfully you implement keyboard inputs.

          • derbefrier says:

            i’ll never understand why some people get so offended when you suggest using a controller. Its quite frankly ridiculous and comes from a immature mindset. I can only laugh at the silliness when people say things like “if i wanted to use a controller i’d buy a console” like that’s the only difference between a PC and a console or even the most important.

          • bill says:

            What kind of PC gamer would play a driving game with a Keyboard??? Or a flight sim with mouse and keyboard?? Good grief. You might as well say that all FPS games should be played with a keyboard only.

            Consoles are irrelevant.

          • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

            Yeah, try playing Trackmania or Rayman with the keyboard and/or mouse. It’s just awful. :S

          • PoulWrist says:

            I only played driving games with a keyboard before it was easy and accessible to use controllers.. which was before the launch of Windows 95.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            You don’t need the latter, but at least analog inputs are an upgrade, no matter how wonderfully you implement keyboard inputs.

            I don’t think so. I haven’t used a wheel since NFS2, or a joystick since Jet Fighter 3. They really don’t add much to the experience, and are much more fiddly than a keyboard and mouse. They might have improved since then, but I really don’t mind doing without them.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Then you can only play arcade driving games, any decent simulator can’t be played on a keyboard full stop. PCs are expensive, a couple peripherals make little difference.

          They actually help!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Nonono TacticalNuclearPenguin, controlling the angle of your steering wheels should not be analogue, but digital, full lock or nothing, obviously! And we should deliberately limit what we can plug into our computers – if it plugs into a console and I plug it in to my PC, it may turn my PC into a console!!!!

          • Faxmachinen says:

            It just so happens that Carmageddon is not one of your “decent simulation” games. Nor are most driving games for that matter.

    • satan says:

      So long as I can rebind to the original setup I’m happy (arrows for movement, backspace for repair… some other key to recover from memory…).

      • The Pink Ninja says:

        That’s some pretty impressive muscle memory you got there.

      • identiti_crisis says:

        I think it was insert to recover, but I could be wrong. Double tap backspace to fully autorepair over a few seconds (always had enough cash that this was the default action instead of repairing bit by bit). Z was wheelspin (for donuting round after annihilating someone, or jumping the start!), and space obviously for handbrake. I think shift was to fire the power-ups, and the only awkward part was selecting power-ups, which I forget how to do (might have been a nasty cycle-type-affair on the control key). Something like that.

      • Spacewalk says:

        Actually it was the numerical keypad for movement, the arrows controlled the camera.

    • DickSocrates says:

      Using a mouse and keyboard for a driving game is frankly idiotic. Get a controller and stop being a lunatic. That goes for all you keyboard and mouse only extremists. You’ve taken the master race cliché so far all you’re doing is making prats out of yourselves.

      • Lemming says:

        While I generally agree with you concerning driving games over the last decade or so, Carma 1 and 2 were arguably mostly played with a keyboard by those that owned it.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          That’s mostly because analog joypads weren’t a thing back then, and getting a wheel for such a game would be overkill and probably even an hindrance, let alone the fact that it probably wasn’t even supported. Still, it’s undeniable that it’s driving mechanics were simple enough to allow for decent keyboard control.

          • Finster says:

            Wheel and pedals support was one of the better features of the series. I recall many happy hours mowing down pedestrians behind an Act Labs ForceRS.

          • Allenomura says:

            They mentioned on a recent livestream that racing wheel support is a feature set to be included, although as yet, they don’t have a ready list of to-be supported models.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        We’ve played driving games with keyboards for decades. The idea that it doesn’t work is simply ludicrous in the face of evidence to the contrary. If this plays badly with keyboard – it’s the fault of the devs, not the genre.

        • bill says:

          Have we? I’ve played driving games with a controller for decades because digital controls don’t make sense for most cars. Good grief, imagine trying to play Interstate 76 with a keyboard.

      • identiti_crisis says:

        I consider good keyboard controls to be a sign of quality in any racing game, even sims (e.g. LFS and GPL). I grew up on racing games on the Amiga, where keyboard was my favoured form of control input, and pads or joysticks generally weren’t analogue yet.
        Then games like Screamer 2 on PC cemented my arrow-key skills. A and Z are common for changing gears, and space is almost always handbrake; my hands naturally land on these keys now.

        The most recent game I played with good keyboard controls was probably one of the Flatout games. Many people apply “pulse-width-modulation” to the analogue sticks much as they would a keyboard, anyway, so getting good keyboard controls probably gives you good pad controls automatically (ignoring potential differences in the I/O processing involved before the game does anything), whilst actually “hitting” a broader range of players.

        • trjp says:

          See my post below – keyboard steering should have died a long time ago – it’s an idiotic idea…

          • Werthead says:

            I’ve either used keyboards alone (starting with REVS in the mid-1980s on the BBC) or keyboards+joysticks, including with the original CARMAGEDDON and its sequel. They worked quite well with a Sidewinder. Mouse (for looking around) and keyboard works very well in the GTA games.

            For a hardcore simulator, a wheel and throttle set-up would be great, sure, but this game is a long, long way from being a hardcore simulator.

      • Widthwood says:

        Arcade racing games were always perfectly usable with buttons, be it older controller like Sega or keyboard. Setting angle of turn by tapping frequency is just as (if not more than) accurate than those tiny analogue sticks on gamepads, and changing from 0 deg. (or -90) to 90 deg. is actually faster.

        Now, precise gas control is nearly impossble, but realistic driving games that require it (RBR, etc.) are better suited for a proper wheel anyway…

        • trjp says:

          Arcade racing games aren’t trying to simulate tyre grip, suspension position, weight transfer and other things – they were just left/right/fast/slow things.

          As games get more sophisticated, you need more sophisticated controls to make that work.

          You’re still making a ‘simulation’ of reality but one which maps onto a different (more complex) control system.

          • identiti_crisis says:

            Most people who drive these “sophisticated” games use driving aids, and using a pad is insufficient in sims also. Are you suggesting the only proper form of control for this game is wheel and pedals? It’s not really a true sim, despite the obvious “sophistication”.

            No, controls are always filtered, whether to take the edge off digital inputs, or to take the edge off lead-footed inputs from someone just trying to have a good time, or just to take the edge off of the force feedback. All control schemes are abstracted in some form, all control schemes are a part of the overall simulation system. This is even more true in motorcycle sims, where you control a simulation of a rider controlling a simulation of a motorcycle.

            Which is why I stand by my point: good keyboard controls in a racing game are generally a sign of overall quality, because it shows an understanding of the coupling between all of the systems, which implies they were actually designed (because they’re all still abstractions and simplifications with plenty of room for hand tweaking and artistic impression, no matter how “sophisticated”). Even, especially, in sims.

          • Widthwood says:

            Of course they aren’t, that’s a design choice. Just as not every RPG has full D&D style smörgåsbord of numbers and parameters. But Carmageddon is not “sophisticated”, it IS AN ARCADE racing game, no one is going to appreciate uncontrollable spins every time you try to accelerate while turning. So good keyboard controls are essential here.

            Btw I do have a gamepad, you know :) also a good logitech wheel. And I’m driving in Burnout Paradise much better when I’m using keyboard. (and RBR – using wheel. 2cm of travel feels too finicky for precise control)

      • Faxmachinen says:

        You don’t find it the slightest bit ironic that you choose to call the people using the standard PC input methods for elitists?

    • Fumarole says:

      It both plays and feels almost identical to the first game, which is all I wanted in this reincarnation.

    • Danorz says:

      the control layout is basically identical to the first carma game just with the driving controls moved off the numpad onto wasd so uh

  5. DrGonzo says:

    Oh dear, that didn’t look very good at all. Keeping my fingers crossed though, loved the first two games.

    • cpmartins says:

      It plays EXACTLY like carma 1 and 2, bar a few steering differences, which I think are due to a more sophisticated physics modelling. Highly recommended for any fan of the originals. I felt immediately at home.

  6. The Pink Ninja says:

    wot, no Cowmageddon pun?

    RPS, I am disappoint.

  7. Sgt_Big_Bubbaloola says:

    And gonna be banned in Australia in 5 ….. 4 ….. 3 ……

    • Rublore says:

      Too late! I already have my copy! Muahahahahaha!

    • Jackablade says:

      Should make an interesting test of the new R rating. I can’t imagine they’d ban it at this point, but then I wouldn’t have thought the unaltered version of Saints Row 4 would’ve received one either.

      • drinniol says:

        Well, as long as there’s no sexual violence or rewards linked to drug use, they’re golden.

  8. Lemming says:

    I backed this and happily claimed my Steam key. Looking forward to the finished product!

  9. goettel says:

    Holding off until release, my early access slots are filled to the brim.
    Also: gameplay vid looks pretty aweful.

  10. trjp says:

    As a big fan of the older games, I’m expecting ‘more of the same’ and just hope this isn’t another ‘Carmageddon 3’ style disaster.

    If they make a modern version of 2 – I’ll be happy – but £20 is already at the high-end of what I’d consider it worth, so the idea it will go up in price at release diminishes my interest quite a bit.

    I suspect Stainless are living in the 90s when it comes to PC game pricing – I suspect they’re in for a shock because a lot has changed in the 16 years since they last released a self-produced Carmageddon and I’m not sure there’s all that many people who’ll drop more than £20 on a game of that sort.

    Given the premium pricing – I assume they’re offering a proper hosted multiplayer experience at least?

    • Rublore says:

      Multiplayer isn’t in it yet, but it’s something they say is going to be appearing in the eary access release sooner rather than later.

    • Danorz says:

      carma 3 was nothing to do with stainless and they hated it as well

  11. hideinlight says:

    The performance issues I see on the forums have me worried. People with a rig with twice the power of mine getting bad frame rates.

    I could stand the occasional crash, bug and lack of features from an early access title. But bad performance always seem to stick until release.

    • The First Door says:

      I’ve not played the early access version yet (just the earlier backer release) so this should be taken with a pinch of salt, but I had a abysmal time with it a week or so ago. Each time I ran it, it loaded for about 3 – 5 minutes. Then a black screen, the announcers voice and a complete computer crash. I’ve not really been very happy, to be honest. I know it’s an early alpha release, but I was still expecting it to actually run!

    • cpmartins says:

      It is quite heavy on my 680 GTX, so if you’re concerned about performance I recommend to wait till after some optimization passes. Having said that, whatever framerate you get, you keep. No stuttering on my end, which was a pleasant surprise.

  12. BobbleHat says:

    Backed it last year because I loved the first two, been playing the alpha quite a bit. Feels just like the second one but with better physics, so it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a car made of balloons. Good, throwaway fun, which is pretty much what you’d hope a modern Carmageddon to be. Some performance issues, but I have to say it’s gotten better with each patch.

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      After the third Carmageddon game, none of the others feel floaty.

      The cars on that game were more like helium-filled blimps than cars.

  13. altum videtur says:

    So I tried picking up Skull Basher on Chaos Knight, right? His thing is brute force and it dont get much more brute force than permastun and then getting trampled by like 6 hooved fuckers.

    But then enemy team ganged up on me and somebody else fed hard so we lost.

    The moral of the story is that sometimes, sometimes you gotta be less bold about things. Sometimes you gotta lame it out. Sometimes ultraviolence is not the right answer, nonsensical as that would seem.

  14. bill says:

    Oh good. My daughter loves “wheels on the bus” and similar nursery rhymes on youtube.

  15. Epidemik says:

    As nostalgic as I am over the original Carmageddon, this doesn’t look that good. I’m not sure the simple gameplay would hold up today. It’ll be cool if it were good, but I’m not expecting much.

  16. AyeBraine says:

    Somehow the combination of carefully modeled airbrakes on Max’s car and sounds of orginal Fear Factory track told me that everything will be alright from now on. Gentlemen, start your engines.