Rebellion today announced they’ve bought the brand and portfolio of The Bitmap Brothers, a name that may impress or mystify you depending on how old you are and how successful the Commodore Amiga was round your way. Lot of goosebumps running up the arms of people who grew up in England during the 80s. Rebellion say they’re planning to rerelease vintage Bitmap Brothers games as well as make new games in the old series. I never had an Amiga myself but a pal did so here’s me going “Oh yeah, Speedball was good! Right? I think? I liked its sportfights?” Ugh, my tight five of ‘D’ya remember?’ gags is dangerously loose.
Rebellion’s announcement called out four Bitmap Brothers games by name, so it seems likely these are the ones they’re most interested in resuming and rereleasing: Speedball, the futuresport of murderhockey; the shmup Xenon, top-down shooter Chaos Engine; and robot RTS Z: Steel Soldiers. The biggest Bitmap games do still get releases and remasters every now and then, but I guess Rebellion will really go for it – and multiplatform it.
“We’re delighted with the addition of The Bitmap Brothers to the ever-growing Rebellion portfolio,” Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley said. “The Bitmap Brothers are renowned for making great games and for bringing gaming into the mainstream with inimitable style. We’ve known Mike Montgomery for many years, and we’re honoured by the faith and trust that he has shown in us by passing on the torch. We’ll strive to be vigilant custodians of one of gaming’s great names.”
Rebellion are well into a bit of nostalgia. They bought Battlezone off Atari a few years back and made a new VR-focused tank shooter as well as revamping the unexpectedly good FPS-RTS Battlezones from the 90s. They also recently remastered their own Rogue Trooper and are working on Evil Genius 2, a sequel to the 2004 Bond villain ’em up they bought up. They recently spoke with us about the challenges and opportunities of chasing nostalgia too.
They certainly are busy bees. Last week Rebellion also announced a board game division, Rebellion Unplugged. That’s starting with a Sniper Elite board game, and plans are afoot to trap more of Rebellion’s games in cardboard.
Speedball 2 screenshot via MobyGames.