My buddy Adam over at the Fragments of Silicon podcast recently had recurring guest Stephen Kick of Night Dive Studios on to discuss new releases and what’s coming soon. Night Dive’s mission is making sure classic video games are never abandoned or forgotten, and are playable out of the box.
Adam gave me a heads up that the episode (Season 4, Episode 20) had some cool announcements about revived classic games. I listen to FOS pretty often anyway but made sure to give this episode a listen and take some notes for all you classic game junkies out there. Confession: I am a classic game junkie.
Enjoy the notes / recap!
Update: After my initial post, Adam pointed out that one thing I had missed was that Night Dive is considering a re-release of survival horror puzzle adventure game D (1995).
Night Dive recently released Noctropolis (originally from 1994). Doing ok, about as good as expected. Not a well known adventure game but has dedicated following.
Getting up to speed with GOG Galaxy’s features is keeping them from releasing a couple of games (including Noctropolis on GOG for the moment).
Night Dive is about to release an adventure game called Timelapse (1996), an older point and click adventure from when a lot of adventure games were called “Myst clones.” Timelapse has an archaeologist arriving on Easter Island and discovering why ancient civilizations disappeared.
Azrael’s Tear looked into briefly by Night Dive Studios but no progress made.
Old FASA Games: Mechwarrior, Mech Commander, etc? Night Dive has looked into them but the rights are spread across several entities.
Night Dive is currently in “development mode”, which means they are working through and reviewing licenses they have already acquired rather than pursuing a lot of new stuff.
They did manage to track down owner of Capcom catalog. Some rare games a lot of people aren’t aware of.
Stephen feels its important to keep old games alive not just for the money. What if all pre-Blu Ray movies were gone in the digital age? A loose analogy to the Criterion Collection of movies is made.
Retroism partnership is releasing a couple of games: M1A1 Abrams Tank Simulator (1989) and World War II GI (1998), which is the sequel to NAM (1998).
Starlord (1993) strategy game also coming soon. The original box art actually almost looks like Chris Pratt. Will there be mass panic and confusion??? Adam feels its creepy.
System Shock Enhanced Edition now on both GOG and Steam. Rights transferred when they bought System Shock 2. They spoke with people in modding community and found a modder who had solved how to run game natively in Windows and support for mouse look, bug fixes, higher resolutions, etc. They signed modder on and put him in charge of development for Enhanced Edition. Doing really well.
Steam achievements in classic games can be a touchy subject (System Shock Enhanced Edition does not have achievements). Some people by games solely for the achievements. Some gamers feel very strongly about it detracting from the “pure” experience of playing / replaying a classic game.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (1997, first game in series) coming out. Night Dive took elements from PC and N64 versions to create “definitive” version. For example, they used the better soundtrack. Turok was one of the first 3D accelerated games Stephen played. The fog remains. You can’t have Turok without the fog! Turok 1 out around holiday, Turok 2 soon after that. Different engines plus Turok 2 has multiplayer. Night Dive has been working on Turok about 4-5 months (in addition to a dev working on it before that as a personal project). Not ready to announce price yet.
Night Dive are developers for Xbox and Playstation but are currently not developing any projects with them yet. They are waiting on success of certain PC games. Turok might be a good trial run for console development.
They are not Nintendo certified. Stephen says Wii U brings new things to the table but he has not personally used one.
Has Night Dive looked into reviving games from other computer platforms, like C64, Atari, etc? Answer is not really but mainly because of unfamiarility with platforms, so many DOS and Windows games to focus on. Not out of realm of possibility but would have to be the right title.
They did look at M.U.L.E. (1983) but felt it would almost be a disservice to release it in its original state given how much of a classic it is. Maybe revisit thinking about a remake.
Given Turok and Shadowman, any other Acclaim games? Yes, Good chance of updated version of Forsaken (1998). Acclaim’s version of Descent but “way prettier”.
Last announcement: more requests for a game called Machines Wired For War (1999) than any other game but Stephen had never heard of it. You build a foundry and then construct robots that become your units in an RTS game. They are in contact with original creator and it would be a passion project if they can bring it back.
Maybe a couple of more months before any more announcements from Night Dive Studios.
Remainder of the episode was the weekly topic of discussion: “Gametap” (one of the first digital game distribution services on PC).