Fast & Furiosa: Games Workshop’s Mad Maxy Dark Future

‘Can we make a game like Mad Max: Fury Road before everyone forgets about it or a massive backlash starts up?’ is probably a question on a lot of developers’ lips right now. Pure momentum, minimal exposition, a whirlwind of wordless world-building: this is the stuff digital dreams are made of. Avalanche are working on an official game, but I think it’s the games which react to the finished film rather than were made contemporaneously which are more likely to evoke some of the George Miller film’s breakneck ferocity and backstory-by-implication. We’ll see. In the meantime, while we’re still thirsty for more, here’s another latter-day adaptation of the 1980s concept of the post-apocalypse. Games Workshop’s road combat boardgame Dark Future. Witness it:

Dark Future: Blood Red States comes from Auroch Digital, who recently handled another GW adaptation, Chainsaw Warrior. This time, they’re tacking a crack at 1998 boardgame about vehicular battles in 2023. Dark Future’s dark future isn’t quite as bleak as Fury Road’s – it posits a world on the brink of collapse, rather than one long-gone. There are cities and towns, but they’re owned by either cyberpunky corporations or Immortan Joe types, and in between are the subtitular Red States, a vast and lawless area in which sanctioned road warriors try to keep innumerable Warboys renegades in check.

Stylistically, it’s a collision of cyberpunk and the post-apocalyptic tropes of armoured, weapon-laden cars. In practice, it’ll be a turn-based strategy game, “played out in simultaneous real-time action”, and in which you get to fiddle around with car and driver upgrades in between battles.

Dark Future: Blood Red States is due out this Winter, and you can find out more here.

29 Comments

  1. MrPyro says:

    I was chatting about Dark Future to a friend who hadn’t played it recently; hopefully they will have fixed some of the slightly broken rules when doing this. The way time was split into phases for a turn had a few issues and caused some really weird results.

    • AurochJake says:

      Hey @MrPyro,

      We will consider all of the gameplay mechanics and will almost definitely be making very slight tweaks and changes as we need to, in order to make the game more entertaining and platform-appropriate :)

      If there are any particular design flaws that stand out for you, don’t hesitate to let us know as we’d love to hear your thoughts. That goes for everyone reading this! I am available on jake@aurochdigital.com

      Can’t wait to show you all more of the game. Keep your eyes peeled!

  2. Monchberter says:

    The future may be a chaotic wasteland but at least their lane discipline remains respectful.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Hah! I wonder what is it about the dark future that changed people’s attitudes to lane discipline in this way?

    • MrPyro says:

      Some of them are driving on the wrong side of the road though.

  3. aircool says:

    Played DF tons way back when, although I seem to remember that the game mechanic made everyone slow down over time for better positioning. Good laugh though.

  4. iainl says:

    We played DF incessantly when we first got it way back when GW launched it, but soon got frustrated with how any strategy other than “Put everything on the biggest, most powerful truck you can have and just drive straight through anyone smaller” was a bit useless; the turn-based gameplay didn’t really seem to make nimble handling particularly useful.

  5. Premium User Badge

    shevek says:

    Sadly, the best thing about Dark Future – the utterly bonkers alternate history Kim Newman invented for the spinoff novels – never made it into the game itself.

    • trouble_gum says:

      Curses. This means the chances of being able to drive around, lasing hoodheads and panzergirls in a souped-up pink Cadillac as Colonel Elvis Presley (toughest Sanctioned Op in the South) are slim to none.

      • Premium User Badge

        shevek says:

        But on the plus side, your choice of in-game music won’t be limited to Wagner, Russian crooners, or the “Mersey sound” of Ken Dodd and the Diddymen.

    • TomxJ says:

      I reasd those books to tatters as a kid!

    • Twitchity says:

      Newman’s alt-history is literally the only thing I know about DF (and, in turn, it’s perpetually bound up with Jack Womack’s Elvissey in my mind), and it always differentiated the concept from, say, Car Wars. It’ll be a shame to lose the high-concept weirdness there.

    • jmtd says:

      Unrelated to that but on the subject of angry driving post apocalyptic fiction with a vaguely game related link, folks might enjoy “market forces” by Richard Morgan (who I think wrote crysis, game fans)

  6. SanguineAngel says:

    The question on everyone’s lips must surely be: “Why isn’t this news about a Gorkamorka videocomputergame?”

    The answer is, of course, that they aren’t making one and that videocomputergame isn’t a real word. Regardless of these truths, the fact remains that Gorkmorka would make a superb game and games workshop must surely face the issue that they have made a serious error in overlooking it. Detractors might claim this as simply the latest in a /string/ of errors such as not making a Necromunda game but supporters of the company would point to recent initiatives aimed to combat past errors, such as the production of a Mordhiem game, numerous iterations of Bloodbowl and two separate attempts at recapturing Space Hulk.

    Time will tell if Games Workshop will make the Right choice [and make a Gorkamorka game Ed.] and flourish or if they will remain dogmatic in their attitude and fall.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      It’s baffling that GW isn’t doing anything with Gorkamorka (or Necromunda…), but I’d be sadly cynical if either were announced as videocomputergames anytime soon. I think I’d prefer games inspired by them, rather than having GW add Gorkamorka to their streak of mediocre licensed games.

    • Spacewalk says:

      You could always do what I do and boot up Unreal Tournament 2004, play the map as-convoy and pretend it’s GorkaMorka. Then turn off, sigh deeply and consider drinking early.

    • unitled says:

      I actually played the fabled Gorkamorka game that was in development at one point at a Games Day (either 1999 or 2000 I think). It was a pretty early build and fairly boring, but I always loved that setting. Plenty of scope for Mad Max style gaming there. I thought they should have done a mini-game set there based on Orks racing vehicles, we tried to do rules ourselves, but it fell apart before we got it on the table.

      • blastaz says:

        Implying the setting wasn’t just entirely mad max shenanigans?

        Apart from the weird mutated tech people on horses who I tried to play a gang of. But then again I always did that seeing as I played eldar and spyrers…

  7. unitled says:

    Because it confused me, I’ll note the Dark Future board game came out in 1988 rather than 1998… I was thinking to myself that I was sure it had come out way before my time and had to look it up. I think by the late 90s they’d pretty much dropped all non-WHFB/WH40K games, right?

    • blastaz says:

      Dropped other settings but were cranking out variants manowar, gothic, epic, war master blood bowl necromunda etc…

  8. OmegaPointGames says:

    I have a game in development along these lines as well. I have been working on it since before I was aware of the Mad Max remake. “Rubber & Lead” is an homage to AutoDuel (1985), which itself was based on Car Wars. Similar to the description here it is more “Road Warrior” than “Mad Max” with a setting that is crumbling society rather than full on post-apocalypse.

    Hope you dont mind me dropping a link to my Greenlight campaign here, it’s a blatant plug but relevant to the article :)

    link to steamcommunity.com

    • wodin says:

      Would have bought it if it was turn based.

      • OmegaPointGames says:

        It’s a remake of AutoDuel which wasn’t turn based, that is a pretty good idea though I’m going to keep it in mind for my next project. A more straight interpretation of Car Wars with an FTL slant or something could be pretty interesting.

  9. islipaway says:

    Could be interesting. Sounds like they are going for something like link to dark-wind.com

    I really liked the way dark wind played in the tutorials but I couldn’t ever get a good game with other people. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Turn based vehicle combat is pretty interesting though.

    If we are plugging our own vehicle combat games here a thing I’ve been messing with! (sorry).

    link to i.imgur.com

    • wodin says:

      I loved Dark Winds driving mechanics. Shame it didn’t have a great involved single player element.

      The driving mechanics if you could add a Z axis would be cool for a WW1 air combat game.

    • Jahnz says:

      I don’t know if this will be seen, but do you have a web page or anything, islipaway? That looks pretty neat.

  10. wodin says:

    Car Wars. We need a proper Car Wars conversion. With all the advanced rules and rpg elements. Make it top down and keep the movement mechanics. Have a great car designer and be able to “paint” your car. The RPG aspect should be all important in the PC version but you could also just have an arena mode where you manage a team\garage hiring and firing and replacing drivers\gunners\mechanics etc.

  11. bill says:

    I loved Dark Future back in the day.
    The day being back when Games Workshop made dozens of these weird pop-culture inspired games. It was probably very flawed, a lot of them were, but it had great atmosphere and background and 80s design.

    I’m sure that concentrating on their main Wharhammer franchises was a good business decision, and they were probably much more polished, but I think I have fonder memories of Dark Future, Chainsaw Warrior, Blood Bowl, Adeptus Titanicus, etc.. than the vanilla games. (Though the vanilla games were much more gonzo originally – Rogue Trader FTW!)