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Wipeout (stylized in promotional materials as wipE'out'') is the first in a series of futuristic racing video games developed and published by Psygnosis. It was originally released in 1995 for Sony PlayStation and PCs running MS-DOS, and in 1996 for Sega Saturn. In 2007, it was re-released for download on the PlayStation Store, first for PlayStation Portable on March 8, then made playable on PlayStation 3 months later.
Set in the year 2052, players compete in the F3600 anti-gravity racing league, piloting one of a selection of craft in races on several different tracks. There are four different racing teams to choose from, and two ships for each team. each ship with its own distinct characteristics of acceleration, top speed, mass, and turning radius. By piloting their craft over power-up pads found on the tracks, the player can pick up shields, turbo boosts, mines, shock waves, rockets, or missiles, which protect the player's craft or disrupt the competitors' craft.
Development and release
Wipeout was developed and published by Psygnosis, designed in part by The Designers Republic. Aimed at a fashionable, club-going, music-buying audience, The Designers Republic created art for the game's packaging, in-game branding, and other promotional materials. Music tracks were licensed from non-mainstream electronica acts to create an original soundtrack album to promote the game.
The game's vehicle designs were based on Matrix Marauders, a 3D grid-based strategy game whose concept was developed by Psygnosis employee Jim Bowers. Nick Burcombe, the game's future designer, was inspired to create a racing game using the same types of vehicles from his experience with Powerdrome, F-Zero and Super Mario Kart. The name "Wipeout" was given to the game during a pub conversation, and was inspired by the eponymous song. Designing the game's tracks proved to be difficult due to the lack of draw distance possible on the system. However, the player received completely random weapons, resembling Mario Kart in their capability to stall rather than destroy opponents.
Wipeout was released alongside the Sony PlayStation in Europe in September 1995. It was the first non-Japanese game for the console. Two months later in November 1995, it was released in the U.S. The game went to number one in the all format charts, with over 1.5 million units of the franchise having been sold to date throughout Europe and North America.[ ]
Launch activities for the game included installation of PlayStation consoles running Wipeout in popular night clubs, the release of an accompanying soundtrack music CD, and the sale of a range of Wipeout clubwear.
The Saturn version of the game, released in 1996, lacked some of the visual flair due to its difficulty to utilize multi-processor configuration. Particle effects were dropped in favor of simple sprites for weapon graphics, however, it ran slightly faster than its PlayStation counterpart.[ ]
In 1996, an OEM edition of Wipeout was bundled with new Sony Vaio PCs utilizing ATI's 3D Rage chipset. This 3D accelerated edition using the ATI3DCIF API provided additional resolutions of up to 640x480 pixels as well as bilinear filtering. This version also made use of the 3D Rage's MPEG acceleration.
The game's electronica soundtrack was composed by Tim Wright under the alias CoLD SToRAGE. Additional songs by Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers, and Orbital were included in the PAL version of the PlayStation game, while the Saturn version included three songs by Rob Lord & Mark Bandola.
A separately sold Official Soundtrack Album was released to promote the game. This music album featured a selection which contrasted against the music included within the game, with CoLD SToRAGE being the most notable omission given their prevalence within the game.
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The game received positive reviews upon release.
- Official UK PlayStation Magazine: 8 out of 10 (80%)
- IGN: 8.0 out of 10 (80%) (PlayStation version reviewed)
- Edge: 8 out of 10 (PlayStation version reviewed)
- Discogs entry: European PlayStation edition
- Discogs entry: North American PlayStation edition
- Discogs entry: Sega Saturn edition