Rollcage, Extreme

Rollcage Stage II, the soundtrack

Although Rollcage was hugely, critically successful, with heart-warming praise in all the games media, it didn't sell anything like as well as our publishers, or ourselves, had hoped. Much as the gaming press loved what we had produced, the gaming public seemed to think it was just too sodding hard.

Undaunted, Psygnosis commissioned us to write a sequel, which came to be known as Rollcage Stage II. We had more cars, better tracks, more game modes, specially commissioned music, refined graphics and a slick UI. On paper, it was set to be a much better game than its predecessor. However, the measures we had taken, at our publisher's behest, to make it more playable for a mass audience, somehow seemed to emasculate it. Although Stage II was a significant improvement in many ways, it was regarded by many hardcore players as a step backwards in terms of drive and addiction. It eventually became, we feel, the lesser game, despite all its obvious, and welcome improvements.

We will never know how well it might have sold, and therefore how much the general gaming public might have regarded it, because we essentially got f#cked by our own publishers. Even though they had commissioned us to write the game, at a time when we had already started to develop genuine next-generation technology for the then incoming consoles, when it came to actually release Stage II they pretty much just shelved it. My recollection of that time was Psygnosis merely manufactured enough units to fulfil its contractual obligations to us, which sadly also proved to be low enough to effectively bury it from the buying public.

Rollcage Stage II, advertising poster

Where Rollcage had sold several hundred thousand copies, copies of Stage II numbered a couple of orders of magnitude less. We were getting no bonuses from this game, that's for sure. It became obvious to all that a scheduling screwup was probably to blame, in that they released their own Wipeout 3 at the same time. Our guess was, they didn't want these titles competing with one another, but who knows? Just another story of ineptitude and failure that litters the entire industry. We did what we could, what we were asked to do, but in the end you just have to trust your publisher that they will actually put the product of your labour onto a bloody shelf so that it might actually stand chance of being sold. We never really had that chance with Stage II.

But that was then, and this is now. Stage II didn't always carry that name, and in fact it was originally called Rollcage Extreme, so much so that we even had a TV advert that promoted it under that name. And if that piques your interest and you'd like to get your hands on it, then your luck is in! As with the original Rollcage, I've recently recompiled it to be more compatible with modern systems. It too has a new audio system and improved graphics to make it a little more palatable to a modern audience. [Download] it here, and have yourself some more lunchtime fun, knowing that you're picking up one of the industry's forgotten titles. One that, for a few people at least, was a labour of love.

Big thanks to Mark Parry for providing a key piece of missing source code to make this possible.

[Posted 09/16/2014]

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