It is already an established fact that Battlecruiser 3000AD v2.0 released by Interplay on 12/98, has done very well, in fact, better than expected. That feedback facilitated the deal I did with GTi a few months ago, for which several enhancements were made to BC3K which hits the European streets this Friday, the 6th of October as BATTLECRUISER 3000AD v2.08. Naturally, since BC3K has a long standing history of being the game that caters to its fan base, this v2.08 which contains bug fixes and several enhancements, including the amazing Tactical Operations Command module for which over 7000 planetary strike zones were created, was also made available, for free, to existing v1.0x and v2.0x owners. Units mastered by Interplay this season will also be of this version.
That version marks the conclusion of the v2.0x series forthwith and unless some showstopper is discovered (highly unlikely for a version whose primary kernel that was in public and private Beta testing since v2.06 back in March ’99), there will not be a v2.09.
The Battlecruiser series has had quite a long and colorful history. We have worked over the years to keep the fan base on our side and to keep them rooting for a product that continues to compete in an industry rife with product cancellations, diminishing returns and of course, shattered expectations. BC3K has become so advanced and chock full of features which give the gamer total control over his/her playing style, that sometimes I ask myself whether I will ever be able to return to simplicity. Never.
As I expanded the series, I added new team members consisting of support programmers, artists, sound engineers, modelers and Beta testers (hand picked from the growing BC3K community) who augment everything I have learned on this long journey and who bring their own special touch and expertise to what is arguably one of the most notorious and recognized brand names in the industry. Sporting a plethora of highly advanced, tried and proven technologies, the BC3K series remains on the cutting edge of the total immersion curve and its only going to get better.
The official website which hosts a real-time chat and discussion forum among other features, boasts a tight and close knit community of hard core cerebral gamers of all ages, sex and indeed all professions. Everyday, I read several role playing stories created by the fan base and posted in the discussion forum. Each day, I see dedicated fans who, over the years have quietly shaped the future of a title they believe in, passionately. And in those posts and wishlists I see the anguish of gamers who wish they had multiplayer, better graphics, support for more 3D accelerators (instead of just 3DFX Glide) etc, to go with the kick-ass gameplay they already have that no other game in the genre, this side of the galaxy, has or even comes close to having. Of course, they have to wait, patiently for the next generation, totally enhanced sequel, not due out until later in 2000.
So, one day I said to myself, “..self, why wait?”. With that, I frantically started drawing up a four month plan to do something absolutely brilliant. This was the same feeling I had when I decided to do the GTi release and I wanted to give back so much more to the fans that in the end and under three months, the v2.08 release turned out to be the most kick-ass version of BC3K ever released since ’96.
So, after assessing the state of the next generation engines developed to take the franchise into the Millennium, I came up with a design model that would give the existing gamers everything they’ve been asking for and more, without another year of waiting.
So, without further ado, I’d like to announce BATTLECRUISER MILLENNIUM, currently in development, using the new engines and scheduled for a late 2000 completion. This title sports everything that the fan base have wished for, and of course, a whole lot more. It will be huge. It will be fast and by golly, it will look pretty. All things being as they are and remaining constant, a scaled down version developed for a console, (Dreamcast or PSX-2) may follow.
Why Battlecruiser Millennium?
Some have asked why the ‘Millennium’ tag was chosen. Simple explanation. The original series released in ’96, was Battleruiser 3000AD. I tagged the company name (3000AD, Inc) at the end to go with the company tag line “Technology for the future”, and started the in game date on 04.04.3000. With Battlecruiser 3020AD coming down the pipeline and because I didn’t want to call it Battlecruiser 3001, Battlecruiser 3010 or similar, ‘Millennium’ seemed more appropriate as it is in line with ‘Battlecruiser 3001’, the new Millennium. This title signifies the next generation engines for the series, the new Millennium. However BC3020AD will still go into development, though none of its more advanced features (persistent online multiplayer universe, first person in-ship mode etc) will be in BCM. BCM will, however, show the simply stunning advancements we have made in areas of 3D graphics technologies, speed, even more sophisticated AI and gameplay. The good thing is, it ain’t a shooter. Never has been, never will be.
The Battlecruiser Millennium premise
In choreographing the BCM logo, I wanted to convey everything that the player currently does in the game and here is an explanation.
The BC hovering over an asteroid hurtling through space, the ground units being attacked by BC units, the renegade fighter being engaged by BC fighters, the commander standing on a ledge, next to a player or NPC driven ATV and waving his ZS10 Combat Assault Rifle in the air, etc, symbolize all features already in the game. Every unit in that image, comes from the new model database for BCM/BC3020AD and you have probably already seen them on the BC3020AD screen shots page.
With the ability to fly ships and engage hostile forces in space or on planets, drive ATVs or 4 man Combat Assault Buggies (new in BCM), command marines in first/third person (new in BCM) as well as prosecute surface targets on planets from space – all in single or multiplayer, BCM is not just about pretty graphics, it is the next generation in the series.
I have some questions….
I know that I’m going to get bombarded with questions, so, I’ll answer some of them now and look forward to the rest.
Q. OK, so, what’s new in BATTLECRUISER MILLENNIUM that would make any fan want to buy it?
A. A lot! check the product info page.
Q. What is the exact street date?
A. I can’t give exact dates but since my last title was on time, it will probably be out before
the end of 2000. Either way, its ready when its ready.
Q. How much will it cost and what kind of release is it?
A. I am undecided but since it will be distribution deal, I suspect that it would be around
$50.00 on the street. It will be a front line release, complete with full printed manual,
keyboard commands sheet etc.
Q. Do you have a distributor yet and will it be a worldwide release?
A. Yes, I have several offers which I am considering; but this will be covered in a separate
announcement. And yes, it will be a worldwide release.
Q. Will there be an upgrade for existing BC3K owners?
A. Unfortunately not. There will most likely be a rebate coupon in the box, but that’s it.
No downloadable upgrades. No discounts. No trade-ins. No patches.
BC3K v2.0x was released as a value title in order to get the game back in the hands of the gamers, especially those who were disappointed by the original ’96 Take 2 release, and to prove to those interested, that BC3K was indeed the definitive all-purpose simulation. I have always funded all my development, one way or another. Royalties from a value title amount to little more than pittance when compared to the thousands and thousands, even millions of dollars it takes to develop and produce quality titles. I have, over the years, absorbed tremendous financial and personal losses in sticking with the franchise, as a result of the ’96 mishap, with almost 10 years in R&D alone. However, the saving grace for my company is the expertise of the team, the low overhead (my content team accuse me of running a sweat shop; go figure) and the fact that only one person is at the top of the food chain: yours truly. I have 100% control of my company, my assets, my intellectual properties, trademarks etc. As such, I maintain total creative and development control of what it is I am creating and releasing.
That, however, comes with a heft price tag in itself, especially if you want to call all the shots. A publishing deal rarely ever gives you that much control, so, I stopped doing them and instead, since the ’96 Take 2 release, have opted for distribution deals.
So, with that, I can’t continue enhancing titles for free or continue releasing value products. Of course, if I took the plunge and released my own titles direct, things would be different. But that takes huge sums of money and responsibility. I am sure that you the fans who know that the BC3K you are playing today, is worth many times what you paid for it, won’t think twice about picking up Battlecruiser Millennium, especially since you are always guaranteed the personal attention of the creator, the dedication of the team, a kick-ass game that makes you lose sleep and of course, the support of the BC3K community at large.
Q. Will there be a demo?
A. Yes, look for it around the time of the game release.
Q. OK, so, Battlecruiser Millennium is coming out in 2000 but should I buy BC3K v2.0x now,
or should I wait?
A. If you are asking this, it means you are not yet a fan. They are two different games and I’d
like to think of Millennium as the true sequel to Battlecruiser 3000AD because the kernel,
engines etc, are all vastly different. At the end of the day, what you do is up to you. Your
dollars, your choices.
Q. There are no less than 6 space sims coming out within the next twelve months, how will
A. The Battlecruiser franchise has never had to compete. It is a unique title geared at at
unique group of gamers. It has an established fan base that is constantly growing. Even if
only the existing fans purchase the title, considering the cost of development and low
overhead, it will be a guaranteed hit. Battlecruiser already has over 250K+ gamers worldwide
and that number will surely increase with the upcoming GT and JOAG v2.08 releases.