Total Wipeout: Formula Fusion

Formula Fusion is a new Wipeout game in all but name and the creators are former members of Wipeout’s previous home. Wipeout was an important link between the past and the future of games. Not in terms of design, but in terms of its position in popular culture. Created at SCE Studio Liverpool, formerly Psygnosis of Lemmings fame, Wipeout was a flagship title for the PlayStation that also read like a statement of Sony’s intent. With an aesthetic fuelled by The Designers Republic’s counter-cultural consumerist lines and made euphoric by the pulse of its EDM soundtrack, the futuristic racer was a game that you could imagine staring at the sea through dilated pupils on a moon-kissed Ibiza beach. Formula Fusion walks the same walk.

That’s about as much Wipeout as it’s possible to pack into just shy of a minute and a half of video. The game was originally announced as SlamJet Racing, says The Escapist, and will be released on Ps4, Xbone and PC.

I always loved the look of Wipeout but my reflexes were never good enough to handle the speed and the sudden switches in the track. I have strong memories of the front prong of my vehicle butting against the edges of the track and bringing me to an almost complete stop. Misery. Come to think of it, there’s only one futuristic racer that I ever conquered, as far as I can remember. It was, of course, the mighty Rollcage and I eagerly await Rollcage 2015.

75 Comments

  1. iainl says:

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

    Oh dear God, all my critical judgement has gone straight out the window. More wipEout? This is the best games news all year.

    • RecklessPrudence says:

      I know what you mean. I didn’t get halfway through that article before I found myself reaching for my wallet. It could end up being complete shit, and I’d wilfully miss all the signs, all the warnings, ignore all the bad reviews, and buy the thing, _just in case_ it was good.

      And be horrified immediately afterwards, wondering how I could let myself do that – but the first few levels, where I wouldn’t even see the flaws, would be glorious. Now, if only this will be as good as my imaginings…!

    • Guvornator says:

      I have to say, I’m an F-Zero GX man myself. Wipeout always looks so slooowwwww. It’d be good if they could get a bit of the pace and scale of that in there – with Nintendo seemingly ignoring F-Zero for the moment, I wouldn’t have a second thought about buying this.

      • iainl says:

        Really? I don’t think I’ve ever come close to considering Phantom Class “too slow”. F-Zero GX is by all accounts a marvellous game, but I just can’t play it at all – the handling feels really wrong after playing too much W’O” and I can’t judge braking or turn-in points, let alone come close to handling the argy-bargy attacking elements.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          Yeah, this. Phantom was always near unplayable for me, much as I adored Wipeout HD. There’s such a thing as too fast, or speed for the sake of it. I love the idea of F-Zero, but I’m pretty sure there’s a reason it’s never taken off like some of Nintendo’s franchises.

          • Guvornator says:

            No there isn’t. You are just WEAK!

            Oh alright. F-Zero GX is probably the toughest game I’ve ever played, and I’m still only halfway through story mode. But I found my brain adjusted to the speed – perserverance is definitely the key. Low res textures aside, it still looks amazing to this day – I think of the games I’ve played, only Sonic Racing Transformed has matched it for the shear wow factor of it’s track design.

          • Premium User Badge

            Mungrul says:

            Wait Guvornator, F-Zero GX had low res textures? Are you sure you’re not mixing up GX and the N64’s X?
            F-Zero X is personally my favourite of these types of games. It’s pure speed and brutality. There are no pick-up weapons, your ship is the weapon.

            Regarding this, yes, it’s nice to see someone picking up the ball and running with it, but after watching the vid, I hope that was alpha footage or something; those ships didn’t move convincingly. There was no tilting left or right, giving them a very slidey appearance.

          • Guvornator says:

            Sorry, to clarify, low-res by todays standards. Some of the ships looked a bit naff, too, although that was largely down to the huge amounts of GO-FAST! the engine had to pull out of it’s hat. But it still looks incredible.

      • Koshinator says:

        If you want a bit of the f-zero vibe, i’d suggest checking out the demo for Radial-G then (especially if you have a Rift). Good sensation of speed, even though the demo is just a single barebones track. Can’t wait to see what they pump out for release.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        It started slow and all but the original (IIRC but a bit fuzzy) then ramped up to unlocking impossible speeds! :D

      • ulix says:

        I’m an F-Zero man as well. Never liked the that you HAD to exactly memorize track design in Wipeout games, even on the lower difficulties/speed-levels.

        F-Zero usually has much, much wider tracks.

        On top of that, in Wipeout the handling feels wrong after playing too much F-Zero :)

        Still looking forward to this, and judging by the trailer it will be easier to navigate than Wipeout.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Cooper says:

    Fucking loved the original Wipeout. Glad to see this coming to PC.

    On a wider point, I’d love to see some kind of “where are they now” of all those great 90s british dev studios. The depressing story, across the board almost, is of great studios being gobbled up by huge publishers then many staff jumping ship and the studio getting closed down. But those that jumped ship must be doing something, and it’d be interesting to see what.

    • Cephas says:

      That’d actually be quite a nice idea – although I imagine quite depressing.

    • tumbleworld says:

      Yeah, this could be great. I still miss psygnosis.

    • xcopy says:

      The magazine Retro Gamer has some interesting articles and interviews with the developers of the 80s and 90s!

    • RARARA says:

      I would like to point everyone to Rossingol’s rather excellent 2007 article on WipeOut and it’s importance to the futuristic racing genre.

      link to escapistmagazine.com

      It’s good to have you back, Psygnosis.

      • GameCat says:

        How I loved that owl…

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Forgive me if I’m mis-remembering but weren’t Psygnosis responsible for Metal Fatigue?
        I’d give anything for a re-release of that game but given how unlikely that seems, I’d settle for a re-make or spiritual successor…
        Oh um… Also Wipeout, yep. A lot.

  3. rustybroomhandle says:

    “Baby got an atom bomb…” – yeah ok, that’s stuck in my head now, thanks.

    Edit: Here, have at ye!

    • jrodman says:

      Personally I preferred the cold storage tracks, but this is nice.

    • Guvornator says:

      If we’re going by Fluke songs that were used in Wipeout games, “Goodnight Lover” is my personal favourite. But, point of order, Fluke weren’t EDM. EDM is an awful 21st Century turn for equally awful American ruination of beloved British dance music. Fluke were at their peak in the 90s, when Dance music was Good and Pure.

      • Deltadisco says:

        Hey now, don’t go laying all of “EDM” on us. The British and the Europeans aren’t exactly blameless here, especially since most of it has a clear lineage with the cheesiest trance of the late 90s. The last time I turned on a pop station in the US I was shocked by how much of it sounded like the European pop music that was prevalent while the “Good and Pure” was still going strong.

        Now for that whole dubstep (and I use that term loosely) influence, I guess as an American I still have to own up to Skrillex. Or at least disown him… somebody else can have him, please?

        I’d also like to say that along with Fluke I can’t help but think of FSOL when someone mentions Wipeout (XL/2097 since that was my first exposure). I even resorted to making a dubiously-legal copy of the game disc so I could have a way to listen to Landmass outside of the game.

    • Themadcow says:

      I’d put Psygnosis (inc DMA Design aka. Rockstar North) up there alongside the Bitmap Brothers for getting gaming popularised through music. Chemical Beats in the original Wipeout was simply the perfect compliment to the action, while DMA’s stuff with the Amiga Blood Money soundtrack is comparible with well known efforts from Sensible Software around the same time. Before that though, I guess it was Bomb The Bass tracks (Megablast) on Xenon II that really started the ties between gaming and mainstream dance music.

      • Geebs says:

        Oddly, the ST version of Blood Money had far more memorable music.

  4. aDFP says:

    You had to go and mention Rollcage, didn’t you? Now I’m having a severe attack of nostalgia. Also, the world needs an updated version of Stunt Car Racer. Somebody please inform Geoff Crammond about Kickstarter, sharpish.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      Also, Stunts! One of few racing games I actually enjoy, along with Carmaggeddon. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe it is car crashing games that I like…

      • aDFP says:

        Ah, I only knew that one as 4D Sports Driving. Burnout 2/3’s crash mode was pretty awesome too, especially with a choice selection of friends and some rigidly-enforced anti-controller-bogarting rules.

        • Premium User Badge

          Qazinsky says:

          I guess the thing that makes me remember Stunts though is the level editor, grid based with sections you slotted together, loops and rolls, jumps.
          If they could get something similar into a modern game, that would be fantastic!

          • snowgim says:

            Oh man, I played a lot of Rollcage, but nowhere near as much as Stunts! That game is probably solely responsible for my love of racing games and making games.

            Modern stunts? Were you under a rock when Trackmania rolled by…? 13 times…?

      • doomlaser says:

        I’d just like to point out that Stunts was a legit clone of Hard Drivin’

    • iainl says:

      Oh no, now I’m having flashbacks to the insane number of attempts it took me to get the timing just right on Drawbridge. So, so many.

  5. Nereus says:

    I hate you Adam. I just googled franticly, hoping rollcage 2015 was a thing.

  6. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Please let them make a Rollcage clone next, I love Wipeout but Rollcage was the best racer Psygnosis ever published.

  7. jrodman says:

    It was pretty playable with a special controller. My favorite was the NeGcon. Even if it did give me RSI.

    • aequidens says:

      I remember seeing those in an ad, but I never got one. Thanks for reminding me, now I have to spend entirely too much money on a second hand obscure controller that I will probably play with for about an hour after which it ends up in the attic with ye olde lightguns and fightsticks.

  8. Cephas says:

    I need this in my life right now.

  9. Paradukes says:

    I’m still waiting for a worthy successor to Star Wars – Episode 1: Racer. This has my curiosity.

    • Vandelay says:

      Having not been a console child, I little experience of Wipeout (sure I played it with friends though,) Star Wars Racer was my immediate comparison too. Cracking game, although I remember it being incredibly easy.

      • iainl says:

        Both the first two wipEout titles came out on PC, but only those – I bought a Playstation for wip3out. However, thanks to the wonder that is the Microsoft Windows Personal Computer, by far the easiest way to play either of them on a modern box is to run a PS1 emulator and those versions instead.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Never played wipeout, so pretty much all I could think of was that this is Mario Kart + Pod Racing.

  10. Zankmam says:

    Honestly, I am skeptical.

    First off, I, too, always liked the visuals of the Wipeout games but not the gameplay.

    Looking at the gameplay video presented here, it again seems like the same thing – too realistic and not arcade-y enough gameplay and… Well, it doesn’t seem to be going that fast.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I adored both, but the video above leaves me doubtful as well. The game doesn’t look good in motion, especially the way the craft seem to rotate around their centre while turning. Maybe that’ll be fixed as time goes on, but the actual design of the craft is disappointing too. Modelling them after F1 cars just looks naff.

    • Geebs says:

      Wipeout really screwed up with the whole “hit a wall, stop completely” thing. I can win a race by pinballing off other cars and the sides of the track in Gran Turismo, why not in wipeout?

      • Banks says:

        I’m the biggest Wipeout fan in the world so i should be really excited, but this looks so cheesy. I understand that this is a very low budget game but I can’t forgive the dull sense of style and, worst of all, that the controls seem to be well below Wipeout standards.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        I thought that was only the first game that brought you to a stop? I seem to remember 2097 onwards being much more tolerant of side-on collisions.

  11. DeathCarrot says:

    Nice :D

    I hope someone makes something in the vein of Ballistics with decent production values, especially now that decent VR is around the corner.

    • jrodman says:

      Oh, your game makes a lot more sense. I was thinking of Ballistix

      • Eight Rooks says:

        God, Ballistix was utter rubbish. Nothing more than an uncontrollable gimmick. See my comment about speed for the sake of it above.

    • RARARA says:

      I’ve got something even better on Occulus – the inverse of Ballistics.

      Radial G.

    • particlese says:

      Oh man, I loved Ballistics so much. Homages to that and OMF 2097 are at the top of my “if only I had the dev chops” list. But for now, I think Radial-G is the game we’re supposed to be looking for. It’s all inside-out and stuff, but it would probably scratch my Ballistics itch really well if the tracks became a bit smoother/looser and a ton faster.

      I had actually forgotten about that game, so I’m downloading it now to check it out…

      Edit: Balls, me and my OCD proofreading. …well, my video is a subtle link to the dev’s video and doesn’t have commentary, so thpbt!

  12. Synesthesia says:

    I get giddy thinking about plying this with a proper wheel, pedals, and occulus. Not that it will happen, but i really wish cockpit/able games start giving us the option.

  13. Foosnark says:

    The craft design is a little less cool than Wipeout. Still. This will be tempting, and a reason to hook up my controller again.

    I love the Wipeout series and wish I was better at it. Probably my favorite game on the PS Vita in terms of style. I am much better at NFS: Most Wanted though.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Yeah, I’m a little disappointed as well because the Wipeout designs were downright amazing every time (I’ve spent a long time just looking at the ships in Wipeout HD) and those look less original. It feels like they’re worried that without the Wipeout name they’ll need to ground this closer to real life for it to catch on or something.

  14. Commander Gun says:

    Looks good, although the “high-speed” seems pretty slow for a racer tbh.

  15. Eight Rooks says:

    Right, for all the heathens complaining that this doesn’t look fast enough:

    Someone playing Wipeout HD on Phantom class against the hardest AI

    link to youtube.com

    Someone playing Wipeout HD on Zen mode and successfully making it to Supersonic class, the fastest speed in the game

    link to youtube.com

    If neither of those are enough for you, I don’t know what to say. Wipeout HD is one of the finest games ever created, and the number of PC players who seem to prefer gimmicky nonsense from the PS1 era bewilders me. Oh, I went there.

    Plus there is such a thing as too fast, and speed for the sake of it – no, seriously, shut up, there is. (Ballistix was absolute rubbish. You heard me.) One of the best things Wipeout HD did was when they patched the difficulty so you could get a gold, a better gold or a “proper” gold, basically – really evened the playing field in a way few games have ever done before or since. You need to coax people into the faster classes, and you’re not going to sell Joe Public on your whizzy futurecar racing game by showing everyone doing nothing but breaking the sound barrier in a couple of seconds. I always found Phantom on Wipeout HD near unplayable, and never got more than half-way through Zen mode, and I’d still count it as one of my favourite games ever.

    • honuk says:

      ok, but this isn’t that. and this looks slow

      (and f-zero gx is faster than that anyway)

  16. Bernt01 says:

    This looks fantastic.
    It reminds me of the mid 90´s, me and my girlfriend made our own T-Shirt prints were we borrowed the signs and gfx form the wipeout cd-cover. And then we went to a Jungle Rave and felt extremely cool .

  17. BLyon says:

    I’m definitely game for another entry into the futuristic racing catagory. But I think that in my soul, I’m still holding out for a new Kinetica… Which I know, will never happen.

  18. Simplisto says:

    Two studios grew from the ashes of Psygnosis/Sony Liverpool. I’m hoping they (Firesprite) will come up with their own take on Wipeout too – or even better – a Rollcage-type game. All we know so far is that, ‘At present, Firesprite is working on tools and an engine for a new unannounced project.’

  19. dethtoll says:

    yes yes yes YES YES YES

  20. IDBUYTHATFORADOLLAR says:

    I loved playing Wipeout back in the day, but these literally just look like F1 cars without wheels.

  21. kvazarsky says:

    Speaking of Rollcage, there’s a steam group with original Rollcage dev patching both R1 and R2 for new systems:
    link to steamcommunity.com

  22. LuNatic says:

    Bullfrogs Hi-Octane was my favourite AG racer. Also,bring back POD.

  23. Radiant says:

    BLOG HAUS!

  24. Radiant says:

    What I miss about the original Wip3out was the strange world building that the designers put into the game.
    Everything from letters from company presidents to weird corporations representing countries.

    It made the game a lot richer but sadly was dumped in the later games in favour of FAST TRACKING and BLOG HAUS.

    Or maybe that wasn’t in the game? Maybe the world building was done on the genius level wip3out website.

    Where someone took Dreamweaver and just licked their keyboard on the css editor.

    I really miss disgustingly expensive websites that ride off into the sunset.
    Middle fingers blazing to fad building conventions. Or UX. Or whatever the people who love BLOG HAUS call clicking these days.

  25. korsaat84 says:

    Hear a lot of guys complaining this is not F-Zero enough. This might be a little unethical, but… can’t help suggesting to check out our work-in-progress. http://34bigthings.com

  26. Ogun says:

    loved wipeout 1-3 to bits, they were achingly cool – will follow this one, but without the influence of the almighty Designer’s Republic and another incredibly zeitgeisty soundtrack it won’t be the same thing. idk, maybe they could incorporate features of something like AudioSurf, and find a professional/passionate graphic designer/team.

  27. Zergpussy says:

    I feel a bit disturbed by the drifting seen in the video.
    airplanes (as the vehicles are imho) tend not to drift. there was a neat airplay racing game with similar mechanics of power ups and did contain more realistic flight behaviour, skydrift.
    link to youtube.com
    check it out. original wipe out also had tight rolls, but not such extreme drifts.