Build ‘Em Up, Burn ‘Em Down: Constructor HD Announced

Ello, this is Constructor. Are you receiving me?

After you’ve bowed to a wealthy tenant’s demands and blown up their neighbour’s giant gnome, then sent a gang of yobs out to terrorise a rival council’s estate – backed up by a hippy holding a street rave to distract their council workers – by tossing bins and jeering, other city management games can feel a little dry. System 3’s 1997 game Constructor was that, a build ’em up with a strong kick of burn ’em down. It probably ruined other city management games for me.

Huzzah hooray, it’s coming back! Sorta. Or being remade, at least. System 3 have announced Constructor HD [official site] for release on January 29th, 2016.

Constructor divided your attention between building up your properties and pleasing your residents and trashing your enemies’. Starting from a single block of shacks, you’d build up a tech tree and outwards to sprawling estates with rich and poor, parks and factories, tenants and ‘undesirables.’ This special class of resident could be sent on terrible missions against your rivals. Plumbers trash pipes to flood houses, psychos chainsaw down fences to scare residents and weaken buildings for hostile takeovers, mobsters lend you money and whack enemy units, clowns play with fire, and so on. I fondly recall their silly voiced lines with daft British accents.

I never played much of the campaign, but I adored the sandbox mode.

A fair few folks behind the original game, including lead programmer John Twiddy, are working on the HD version. It’ll bring “re-imagined graphics”, an “enhanced interface” including wider zoom, new modes, new maps, and a rebalancing.

The original Constructor was available on GOG, but was pulled in September 2014 when its rights changed hands. Constructor HD’s producer says he “can’t comment on” whether it’ll return. Its sequel Mob Rule is still on GOG but pfffffff, it wasn’t as good.

I still find the original’s ’90s CGI cutscene style charming – check the intro:

12 Comments

  1. Kemuel says:

    I really hope the multiplayer’s gonna be revived too. This was one of the first demo games I begged my parents for the full version of, and I never did get the chance to try it against other people.

  2. Sir Frederick says:

    Woah. This I did not expect. I have played this game a ridiculous amount – when it was new, and since on GOG. It’s outrageously charming, but I admit the rebalancing would not go astray – the number of ridiculous tricks and limitations you had to learn to play was absurd. Like… students can’t have dogs. Clowns can evict ghosts but it’s easier to just use your own ghost. Give your majors wood panel fences and double glazing. A Mr Fixit is the only offensive undesirable you’ll really need because the AI doesn’t know how to counter his attacks. Build quickly or else the enemy will use up the inexplicable building limitations and you won’t be able to progress. (For all these eccentricities, I love it anyway.)

  3. nasKo says:

    Loved this game as a kid, though it was pretty hard and I couldn’t appreciate the english call-outs when I was young.
    Excited to see this!

  4. Allenomura says:

    “other city management games can feel a little dry. System 3’s 1997 game Constructor was that, a build ‘em up with a strong kick of burn ‘em down. It probably ruined other city management games for me.”

    I distinctly remember that last sentence being the case for me, I think at least one new Sim City or Theme Park may have gathered dust for failing to top its lure at the time. I initially had Constructor on PS1, and it was my go-to, first-in game for a long time. So many hours of enjoyment and fun.

  5. lordebon says:

    I missed this as a kid, but I played and loved Mob Rule, quirks and lack of replayability and all. I’ll be looking forward to this, fingers crossed it keeps true and doesn’t try to take things too far off.

  6. Janichsan says:

    System 3, of The Last Ninja and International Karate fame still exist? At least in name? o_O

  7. Shazbut says:

    “rebalancing”

    Yes please!

  8. spacedyemeerkat says:

    Do what, eh?

  9. Bing_oh says:

    I had never even heard of this game, nor did I realize that Mob Rule (a game that, despite its flaws, I really liked back in the day) was a sequel. I always through that Mob Rule’s unique city management deserved a sequel itself, so I’ll be all over this.

  10. Anach says:

    18 years ago, I was going through a relationship break-up, moved back home, and played this on a 166MMX with a 2Mb graphics card, 32Mb RAM, 2Gb HDD and 15in monitor. A very good game, which enjoyed immensely; I certainly didn’t expect to ever have another go at it.

  11. Raoul Duke says:

    Was this “Mob Rule” you speak of the same thing as “Constructor Underworld”?

  12. Durandir says:

    Wow, did not expect this! Love Constructor, played it a bunch again when GOG got it. But the best news is the whole “rebalancing” stuff. Would be awesome if I could finally beat the AI without sending one of my workers to squat all of their building sites…