Rebellion Are Remastering That Other Battlezone, Too

Rebellion are not content with simply rebooting the old green-and-black Battlezone [official site] from 1980. They’ve put out an open letter to fans of the series today letting them know that they will also be working on a “remaster” of Battlezone 1998. I guess now no one can moan at them for remaking the “wrong” one.

Battlezone 1998 was a risky mix of FPS and RTS elements which is still well-remembered, exciting for letting you jump around from unit to unit to control them yourself, so fans will no doubt be delighted to hear that Rebellion are working on a remake. It almost sounds like the decision to make this game was a response to the fans who were asking about it after their announcement at E3. If that’s the case, don’t expect to see any more info about it for a little while.

So now we know that Battlezones are like buses. Wait around for 16 years for one and two come along at once. I’m ignoring the XBLA version for obvious reasons.

45 Comments

  1. hollowroom says:

    Yes. Please don’t screw this up.

  2. Dominic Tarason says:

    Now this is interesting. There’s been a fan-run project to keep the game updated to modern spec for a while, led (for a time, at least) by one of the ex-devs on the game.

    link to battlezone1.com

    There’s also a similar project for Battlezone 2. Perhaps they’re getting those folks back on board to do it officially?

    • AriochRN says:

      I played through Battlezone 1.5 last year; heartily recommended. When I played the original it was in software mode ‘cos I didn’t have one of those new-fangled 3dfx jobbies, so playing this was lovely fancy on my eyeballs. I popped the VisibilityScale up to about 300 in render.cfg, gives a nice view increase without spoiling the ‘fog-of-war’

  3. CMaster says:

    Heh, was just saying at work last week (or the week before) how it’s suprising nobody’s had another go at this recentley.

  4. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Hurrah! One of my favourite games ever!

    • HKEY_LOVECRAFT says:

      One of mine as well. I used to write reviews for fan-made levels created for the original game on a site long-lost to both history and my memory–I can’t even recall its name now.

      But I’ll never forget Battlezone. It’s one of the reasons I made the questionable decision to fund Bionite via Kickstarter many moons ago. I expect Rebellion’s re-imagining will be released before it.

      Battlezone II was superior in most ways except atmosphere and that elusive ‘fun factor’ that the first one had. I recall another favorite around the same time was 3DO’s Uprising. Its sequel suffered from the same promise of ‘new & improved’ without actually being anything more than ‘new.’

      I miss these types of games. I don’t think we’ve had a proper one since the two sequels mentioned above. Command & Conquer: Renegade might’ve come close, but I don’t remember whether or not it let you place buildings. Oh! There were also the Savage games, but those were fantasy-based and pretty far removed gameplay-wise. A shame those didn’t do better commercially.

      • Kollega says:

        From what I remember, C&C: Renegade didn’t even let you boss units around, much less place buildings. It was for all intents and purposes a standard shooter set in the C&C universe, and the multiplayer, while inventive with the in-game economy and destructible bases, still wasn’t a proper FPS-RTS. So yeah, I think Battlezone, even if not one-of-a-kind, is still an exceedingly rare type of game.

      • DanMan says:

        I thought they messed up the controls in the 2nd one. Driving around was no fun somehow.

        Anyway. Finally a new, proper Battlezone. Please let it be good.

        • Nielk1 says:

          Literally the only difference in the control inputs and physics between bz1 and bz2 is mouse smoothing. That was added into BZ2 as a feature at some point and now if you play the Battlezone Classic mod, which adds the BZ1 content as faithfully as possible, it feels pretty much the same. I still prefer the smoothing off personally as it makes it far easier to control. Yes, it feels like there is less heft to your controls, but do you really want to feel like your ship refuses to go where you tell it not due to it’s physics but because it just doesn’t feel like taking your input?

      • radishlaw says:

        What about ?

  5. Leonida says:

    Oh yes!
    Give me also a remake of Future Cop: LAPD and I’m done with nostalgia

  6. BattlePsyche says:

    Out of all of the game announcements in the past couple of years, this one is by far the most exciting for me. Battlezone was the game that got me into level editing and was the first game my father really got hooked on and dove into the multiplayer. If there was one game that’d bring him back into the multiplayer today, it would be this one. I can’t wait to zoom around in the good ol’ black dog grizzly tank again.

  7. Pheeze says:

    Battlezone and Freespace were two of the first games that got me into gaming, so this is exciting!

    • GepardenK says:

      Add Thief: the dark project to that comment and you have just listed the holy trinity of enjoyable gaming

  8. jack4cc says:

    Oh god, yes, yes, yesssss!11

  9. Egypt Urnash says:

    But will it have the RAVE GUN.

    (Which was created one Saturday afternoon when I was hanging out with Ken at the Activision office seeing what he’d been working on. At some point there was also a giant Evil Death Cube with Ken’s face on it that shot lasers from his glowing eyes and spawned smaller Evil Death Cubes. I don’t know if that made it into the shipping game.)

  10. Uglycat says:

    I’ll always remember picking up my copy of BZ, carefully walking back to the car, opening the box and oogling over the manual in the afternoon sun, before driving home without realising the cd had slipped out the box under the car.

  11. Volt says:

    Though I never played Battlezone, it always makes me sad that when ppl talk about they never remember Uprising 1 and 2. I played a heck of a lot of the second one and it was pretty nice, if my teenage memories serve me right. Don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned online. Here’s a video of the second one: link to youtube.com

    • Sunjammer says:

      I loved Uprising! Played it to death! Not as big a deal to me as Battlezone but a superb game no doubt.

    • Kollega says:

      Does anyone remember Wargasm too? It was another attempt from the early 3D era to make an FPS-RTS game, and though it sucked horribly for not having mouse controls, it was a pretty interesting experiment with the RTS formula.

    • HKEY_LOVECRAFT says:

      See my response to Lord Smingleigh above. I adored the first Uprising. I’m glad to learn that those in my immediate circle of friends–for whom I host LAN parties at my house to this day–aren’t the only ones who’d heard of it!

      Uprising, Battlezone, Rocket Jockey, Action Quake II/Action Half-life, Battlefield 1942, Kohan, Blood: these were some of my favorite multiplayer memories.

  12. Kollega says:

    As I’ve said under the previous post on this subject, remaking Battlezone is all well and good, but what I want from Rebellion is a proper continuation of Evil Genius (as opposed to the shitty Facebook games they’ve made using the brand). Although considering that Battlezone is pretty much “FPSRTS Red Alert in space”, and considering that it completely passed me by when I was young, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one.

  13. soopytwist says:

    Battlezone ’98 was awesome. Well, I remember it being awesome anyway. I made four of my own maps – and still got them on my HDD after all this time! No idea how to use them though, even if I could get the game to work.

  14. system says:

    Want the Real Experience on the front? Battlezone1.org is at your command.

  15. yhalothar says:

    The original Battlezone 98, with the fan patch, holds up surprisingly well to this day.

  16. Diziet Sma says:

    Wohooo! Via the wonders of eBay I’ve recently revisited both of the ‘old’ new battlezones and they hold up remarkably well and run OK on modern PCs to boot!

  17. Sporkinator says:

    I’m excited to see how this turns out, I’ve been playing Battlezone since 2002. You have my attention, Rebellion! Entertain me.

  18. Kaeoschassis says:

    First Terra Nova finally gets a re-release, and now this. All those sacrifices to the gaming gods are finally paying off…

  19. Spacewalk says:

    Up with this sort of thing.

  20. bill says:

    I have to say that I’ve never gotten the devotion that Battlezone seems to inspire. I always found it kinda dull. I think it was the grey grey grey lunar level setting. Did it change to anything more colorful later on? I don’t think I ever finished it.
    Still, I’m happy for y’all.

    The game I loved most that was closest to this was Hostile Waters. It’s more of a Carrier Command style game than a full FPS. There’s no base building (hence – me liking it!) but you can direct control units and also send them off with more indirect commands. I think it’s back on GOG if anyone wants to check it out.

    I also have Sacrifice from GOG, but I haven’t gotten that far into that. That’s more of a TPS strategy game, but I don’t think you can control other units directly.

    Wargasm was more fun than its name might imply… or possibly the opposite of that.

    • Sporkinator says:

      If you never got past the Moon (tutorial and first 2 levels) then you didn’t actually play the game.

      • Gap Gen says:

        That segment with the Soviet superweapon looming out of the Venusian fog… also the bit with the Furies attacking as you tried to harvest biometal was terrifying.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Goddamnit, the moon and icy Europa were the best maps! The moon, because, well, it’s the moon! It’s got dirty commies on it! And you are shooting them! With space-bullets from space-tanks! Anyway, it’s deliciously camp and really set the tone for the game.

      Europa was just a beautiful map, huge canyons of ice and fun design. IIRC the scripting for that mission was also fun, with game constantly throwing enemies into your defenses.

      Of course, after that they had to ruin it with aliens and terrible brown planets, but clearly, all I’m saying is that you are very wrong.

  21. Gap Gen says:

    Is this gonna get confusing to market at the same time as the remake of the 1980 game? Not that I’m complaining, I loved the 1998 one as a kid.

  22. TheJamsh says:

    This is interesting.. especially considering that I’ve personally been working on a BZ2 remake in my spare time and posting the progress to YouTube (shameless plug): link to youtube.com

    Looks like I’ll have to do a nicer updated video. Naturally I doubt my version will evolve as fast as Rebellion’s will. Typical really, I finally get around to it after 10+ years and a bigger company goes and starts it anyway ;)

    Particularly like the bus comment!

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      The Almighty Moo says:

      Just logged in for the first time just to say that that looks incredible and now I am excited to float about in hover tanks again. My hat, to you Sir, is doffed.

  23. OmNomNom says:

    Wow! Loved this game, I used to create levels for it as a teenager. Even earned me some money from a gaming magazine (PC Zone I think it was) to publish on their coverdisks and in a seperate retail pack :D

    This was before creating game levels required talent… or skill.

  24. Hypocee says:

    Nothing to add to all the it’s great so this is greats, but I do want to put a couple things somewhere that I’ve been thinking about for the last few years.

    First, for people it passed by due to not being big or alive then or for other reasons, it has a serialised menu tree interface plus a context-sensitive cursor from pointing on the ground or units – ‘build light tank’ is a sequence of keypresses something like 3-build, 2-offensive units, 3-light tank. ‘Big attack, everyone follow me’ might be 5-select, 2-offensive units, 1-command, 1-follow me. This is probably by necessity of the genre; I played the Uprising demo, liked-didn’t-love it, so don’t remember whether it had a similar thing. I love serialised commands. I have a background in drafting and while I’m comfortable with AutoCAD and similar interfaces and they’re that way for a reason, using CADKey ’97 on an internship was a revelation to me. Later on, using Ford I-DEAS at university was another highlight for that and other reasons. To the extent that I have any facility with Serious Text Editors, I prefer vi’s serial modes and scripts to emacs’ parallel three-modifier-key chording. Command strings stick in my brain comfortably like a command from, well, a videogame – a brawler combo or a fighting game special. I wish they were explored more in strategy games in general.

    Battlezone ’98 was also the first thing that gave my young American brain a ‘feel’ for meters and kilometers. Millimeters and centimeters had come naturally from being science and engineering-minded, but Battlezone let me think ‘that’s about 20m away, steer this much’ or ‘that’s two klicks off and I’m five klicks from home, reinforcements will take too long to arrive’.

    The strategy multiplayer was amazing (when its backend could be persuaded to work) and I’d love to watch serious minds do it, but I do wonder whether the MBT should have been snipe-proof like the walker. I would think that given that win by sniping was my Counterstrike devotee little brother’s default activity, but also it’s a heavy tank c’mon. Topical and current controversy!

  25. Shigawire says:

    I bought this game in 1998.. this was an amazing game. I still have the original box. I would love to see a reboot of this.

  26. bitkari says:

    Battlezone was the first game I got for my 2600 back in 88.

    It will be great to play this on the Oculus so I can recapture not what the original game was, but what I imagined it to be.