Battlewheels [Atari Jaguar – Unreleased]

Battlewheels [Atari Jaguar – Unreleased]

Battlewheels was a misterious project: the only image that remains is directly pulled from the Atari Jaguar box. It should have been released in stores in Q3 1995, but it vanished before being finished. Battlewheels should have been an upgraded remake of the atari lynx game with the same name, with a new 8 players multiplayer mode.

As Adam has wrote in the comments, Beyond Games has told people in the Jaguar community that they got as far as making some 3D models for the game but it was so early into the development phase when it was cancelled that they didn’t get any further than that.

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U64 Staff & Contributors

U64 Staff & Contributors

Authors at Unseen64
Since 2001 Unseen64 archive beta and cancelled videogames, till the 7th generation of consoles. There are too many unseen games to preserve, but many people help us with their contributions, screens, videos and descriptions. Do you want to help too?
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32 thoughts on “Battlewheels [Atari Jaguar – Unreleased]

  1. Ruud Luitem

    The used image of the game is directly pulled from the Atari Jaguar box. game should have been an upgrade from the atari lynx version of the game. The Battlewheels game was intended to have 8 player mutiplayer action and should have been in stores Q3 1995.

  2. Adam

    Just something to add on this one: Beyond Games has told people in the Jaguar community that they got as far as making some 3D models for the game but it was so early into the development phase when it was cancelled that they didn’t get any further than that

  3. Akkroid

    I think it stands to reason this project evolved into Beyond’s 1999 post-apocalyptic FPS\Driving game Redline. Interestingly It would seem Carmack may have been slightly influenced by the aforesaid game for Rage

  4. Ross Sillifant

    Mixed feelings as the Lynx original was superb and Jaguar hardware seemed ideally suited for an upgraded version, but then i love at what the Jaguar versions of Ch.Flag (ok, went with name only) and Blue Lightning turned out like and how Toki was shaping up and i’d of just hated to see another dissapointing upgrade.

    Maybe Beyond could have really done the game and indeed hardware, justice, maybe not, but it’s sadly just another in a long, long line of games that was abandoned so early on, it’ll simply be just another footnote in the Jaguar’s history of what might of been.

  5. Ross Sillifant

    Battlewheels did’nt look as if it was going to be any cheap port, but a JagNetwork and
    modem compatible game for starters.

    Sounds like it had real potential.

  6. Ross Sillifant

    Even as late as March’95 Beyond Games were telling the press they still had’nt figured exactly what they planned for the game and something else which they then could’nt talk about, had ‘come down the pipeline’ and plans for Battlewheels might take a 180 degree turn.

    I guess the ‘something else’ was AVP 2, which they’ve been quoted as saying they WERE working on and hoped would sustain any success gained from Ultra Vortex.

  7. Ross Sillifant

    Your welcome :-)

    As a then day-1 Jaguar owner, i’ve followed the path of so many of these ‘annouced’ Jaguar games along some very rocky and twisted roads.You’ve had the majority of the information found either emailed directly to you or posted up on here, be they from interviews/email contact i myself have carried out or those i’ve found, but there’s still more to come and it’ll be direct from the source.

  8. ROSS Sillifant

    Just paid £4.99 for issue 160 of RetroGamer magazine #160..

    6 page feature on Beyond Games,now given that Kris Johnson, Clark Stacey, Tim Hunstman and Meats Meier are thanked, I had high hopes of learning more on Jaguar Battlewheels…

    But..other than mentioning whilst Beyond wanted to do the game, Atari instead wanted a fighting game and Battlewheels being on Jaguar box and game being annouced, there’s nothing else said..

    8-)

    Nothing even said of 3D modelling being started nor plans for game to use network features…

    As for AVP 2? It just covers what was already known, Beyond in talks with Atari to do the sequel, but we’ve still NO idea what their concepts for the game would of differed from Rebellion’s…

    Very,very disappointing as yet again, RG reference lost Jaguar games, speak direct to sources and yet we still know nothing new, article fails to report what we already knew…

  9. Ross Sillifant

    Read it couple of times and nope, Unseen 64 had more info, lot sooner and shared for free.

    Dissapointing, as RG kept bragging about info only they could get..

  10. R

    And i wonder, where i can see those documents? Because That’s not the only thing that exists related to Major Havoc 2000. There’s storyboards on how the game was going to play and look like. Sadly they’re lost for now, but i did saw them on Jaguar Sector II back in the day. Same thing goes for the planned Robocop for the Jaguar by Ocean.

  11. Ross Sillifant

    The people that run sites like Atarimania have real life jobs, familles etc, they update sites as and when they can, as your seeing now, as entries on Commander Blood, Creature Shock etc are being updated.

    jaguar Sector is/was just 1 area, a lot of people just use sites they are familar with or stumble across and where info is in public domain, not locked to members only access.

    Sites like Unseen64,GTW etc share information between them, so as many people as possible can get answers to questions.

    Now if someone has documentation to prove Jaguar Quake was started or has playable code of MK 3 or anything to back up any number of claims passed off as fact over the years, i’m sire they will welcome them.

    The purpose here is likes of Atarimania, Unseen64 have further documentation to add to existing entries, so causal viewers get a greater understanding of what became of announced Jaguar titles.

  12. Ross Sillifant

    And you’ve pretty much answered your own question there..if only 1 site had Major Havoc storyboards and they are now lost, chances of them being found again appear slim.

    If however in a community spirt they had been shared, the Retro community at large could of enjoyed them, articles in magazines like RetroGamer could of benefited from them, instead we have only what other folks have had sat on HDD’s for years as they have no interest in Jaguar, so we are doing g what we can to get them out and preserved before they too are lost.

    Fact a feature on Beyond Games never even mentioned their interest in Major Havoc, suggests to myself, to many Beyond Games will only be known for the games they did release and and interest in AVP 2, Jaguar wise, plus inital work on Battlewheels, the Major Havoc aspect will not be as well known..

    RG has far wider username than niche sites like J.S, Unseen64, GTW..

    And opportunity missed I fear.

  13. R

    I found this strange image of BattleWheels + what seems to be like a boxart (turns out it was aslo planned for PC). If time allows it, maybe it can put it here…

  14. R

    I found this strange image of BattleWheels + what seems to be like a boxart (turns out it was aslo planned for PC). If time allows it, maybe it can put it here…i hope so…

  15. Ross Sillifant

    Wrong area really but since Major Havoc 2000 was mentioned earlier…

    Can’t comment on Beyond Games plans other than what was detailed in the documents Scott Stilphen had and i passed onto Unseen64/Atarimania. ..

    But Jeff Minter has stated he would of liked to include a lot of wild shooting in his version, if Atari allowed him to expand on the basic gameplay.

  16. Ross Sillifant

    Bit more Beyond Games info that doesn’t seem to be that common knowledge, regarding U.V:

    Beyond said it was more than likey that a 3DO version of Ultra Vortek/Vortex would appear, but not until sometime in 1995.

    So the Jaguar could of lost 1 of it’s key exclusives.

    The ideal platform for the game,would not of been any home console, but the Arcades as the coin op hardware offered far more RAM and more powerful hardware.

    As for BattleWheels on Jaguar? Despite giving a potential release date , they still hadn’t nailed down what type of approach to take with the game.

    Several different approaches were being worked on and they haven’t quite figured out which
    way they would go (action/RPG/race, etc).

    They could only confirm  It would be multi-player,
    modem-network availability.

  17. Ross Sillifant

    2 sources from Beyond confirmed at the time that once the Jaguar version of Ultra Vortex was finished, they would most likely port it to the 3DO adding FMV sequences and more music as game had luxury of being on CD.

    As for the games poor review scores:

    They’d add FMV sequences and more music due to game being on CD.

    As for game getting poor review scores:

    The Atari project manager in charge of the game claimed magazines like Edge (3/10 )
    Ultimate Future Games (21%)
    Gamesmaster (33%)

    All reviewed pre-E3 code..not final/production copy code.

  18. Ross Sillifant

    Battlewheels would also be ported to 3DO once Jaguar version finished.

    As Beyond said..why on earth would they not port it?

    So none of Beyond Games Jaguar titles looked to remain exclusives.

  19. Ross Sillifant

    So much left to discover about Battlewheels it seems…

    I’ve seen claims that when Beyond Games annouced Atari had dropped contract negotiations with them for Jaguar AVP II, they let slip Atari had never been that responsive to proposals for BattleWheels on the Jaguar.

    An executive from Beyond Games responded to fears that the Jaguar version of BattleWheels wouldn’t appear until the PC version was finished and even then only if the Jaguar user base was large enough, by simply saying Beyond had not been in negotiations with Atari for some time and BattleWheels PC/Playstation was currently under development….

    How many lost versions of this game exist?

  20. Ross Sillifant

    American Business News section on Beyond.

    Original Battlewheels mentioned.

    Jun. 23–Kris Johnson hoped the first game produced by his company,
    Beyond Games of Salt Lake City, would propel him into the competitive
    video market.

    But he soon discovered how brutal the video-game business can be. Johnson,
    28, and friends spent countless hours making “Battle Wheels” for Atari’s
    hand-held Lynx system. The machine was discontinued shortly after “Battle
    Wheels” hit store shelves.

    “We got no exposure,” Johnson chuckled. “That machine had been out two
    years, and they phased it out right when we released the game.”

    Now, Johnson and his crew are about to release “Ultra Vortex” for Atari’s
    Jaguar system.

    “Ultra Vortex may not be a blockbuster,” Johnson said. “But it will
    definitely be a decent seller.”

    It’s the dream of every small game manufacturer: produce a unique game,
    get a big company such as Sega or Nintendo to buy it and cash in on the
    voracious appetites of video-game buffs. In 1994, Americans spent $21
    billion on video machines and games.

    Many try, but few succeed, says Ron Johnson of Electro Brain Corp. in Salt
    Lake City.

    It’s been six months since his company produced a game. The market is
    saturated, he said, and the only way to compete is to keep up with changes
    in technology. And that costs money.

    “Only a few companies capture 80% of the video-game market,” said Johnson,
    no relation to the Beyond Games owner.

    Two Utah firms that have made it big are Sculptured Software Inc. and
    Access Software, both of Salt Lake City. Sculptured converted the game
    program for the popular, ultra-violent “Mortal Kombat” games for Sega and
    Nintendo. Access stormed the market several years ago with the “Links”
    golf series and recently, the interactive personal computer game “Under a
    Killing Moon.”

    “There are literally tens of thousands of products out there,” said Mindy
    Cook, Access Software’s marketing representative. “I am sorry for anyone
    trying to get into the market.”

    Kelly Zmak, executive producer for Sculptured Software, said video-game
    manufacturers — especially small ones — cannot focus on past successes
    if they want to compete. The game industry, she said, is getting too
    expensive to be passive.

    “It can cost $3 million to $5 million to produce one game,” Zmak said.
    “It’s not tough to get a single hit, but it is hard to be consistent.”

    Beyond Games has spent nearly $100,000 to produce “Ultra Vortex.” Chris
    Johnson would not say how much Atari paid for the game, but said his crew
    should “have some fun” with the money.

    “Ultra Vortex,” which took a year to make, will be shipped to Atari in
    four days and should be on the market in July or August, Johnson said. It
    will retail for $69.95.

    The game is similar to “Mortal Kombat” and “Street Fighter” in that
    different characters battle each other to the death. To make their game
    unique, Beyond Games used 3-D computer renderings, stop-motion puppets and
    costumed adults to create the movements of warriors such as Grok, a rock
    monster, and Volcana, a woman who burns everything in her path.

  21. Ross Sillifant

    Tim Huntsman of Beyond was asked for details on Jaguar Battlewheels in July 1994..his reply was:wait and see.

    He was asked again in August 1994…this time replied Beyond were keeping details close to their chests..as they didn’t want to start vapourware rumours (that i can appreciate) and he was also honest enough to say Beyond hadn’t figured out how a lot of things were going to work..so there wasn’t anything to talk about.

    He also made clear all LYNX development had stopped as soon as they received the JAGUAR development kits.

    They were considering doing Mech Tiles on Jaguar as it was tempting with the 3D power the Jaguar offered.

  22. Ross Sillifant

    Beyond Games material just keeps coming:

    Greetings and Salutations from Tim at Beyond Games, Inc.

    It has come to our attention that someone has been spreading
    *nasty* rumors about us. Mainly that we are “Out Of Business”. THIS IS
    NOT TRUE. Yes folks, BGI is doing fine. As a matter of fact, we’re
    doing so well that we have expanded our staff and are in the process of
    expanding our office space.
    Here’s what you want to know; Ultra Vortex is STILL being
    developed in-house, by Beyond Games, in its entirity (that means box-art,
    sound, gameplay, *everything*) UV is several weeks away from entering
    production. The wait has been long, but IMOSHO, well worth it.
    Where are we at? BGI has several irons in the fire right now.
    We have started on BattleWheels 2025, an untitled 3-D platformer, and
    another title that I can’t divulge at this time, so don’t ask. We have
    also had offers to develop for other platforms; who knows what the future
    might bring?
    Have no fear, faithful Jaguarites, Beyond Games is here to stay!

    This from early 1995.

  23. Ross Sillifant

    The Beyond Games interview i quoted from very early on in this thread:

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    //// Sucked Into the Vortex

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    Okay, some of you know that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of

    fighting games (which is a prettified way of say I despise them). And

    yet, once in a while, something will come along and grab my interest

    in a way that transcends the genre. And the futuristic, Gigeresque

    elements of Beyond Games’ Ultra Vortex have pushed it into an area of

    uniqueness. But it’s been awhile since we’ve heard word on this

    beauty. So for your edification, a posting from the Net that should

    answer many of your questions about the status of this game, as well

    as Beyond Games’ other future plans…

       >>1)  Do you have any more information on when UV should be

       released? At first I heard February, then March, now I hear

       rumblings of June? I would rather get the answer straight from the

       source than through the ‘Net grapevine…

       Well….It’s looking like late April early May.  AAARRRGGGHH!!!

       Sorry! Don’t hit me!  I know…I’d like to be done with the game as

       well.  We just keep polishing and polishing and finding more things

       to do, but have finally drawn the line and began chopping certain

       things that would take even longer to do.

       >>2)  Last time I talked to you, you couldn’t really discuss

       Battlewheels for the Jag.  Has that gag order been lifted?  If so,

       what can you tell me about it, and what time frame does Beyond

       Games have for it’s release?

       We still haven’t figured out what, exactly, we are going to do

       with it. Something else just came down the pipe for us, so our

       plans might do a 180* twist.  And no, I can’t say a word.

       >>3)  Can you offer any other juicy tidbits on other Jag games in

       the works?

       We’ve been kicking around the idea of a platform game using 3-D

       rendered characters/backgrounds.  The idea is still in early infant

       stages, so I’m loath to start and vaporware rumours.

  24. Ross Sillifant

    For a company loathe to start Vapourware rumours, Beyond certainly created enough:

    Then tell us about battlewheels or whatever you all are doing.

    Our first release for the Jag will be Ultra Vortex tm.  It is a fully
    digitized 2 player fighting game (shudders under the onslaught of wails
    and groans).  Fully digitized meaning characters, backgrounds, sounds,
    music, ect.  Those going to the summer CES in Chicago will be able to see
    the 80% completed version.  There will be 10 or so characters (only 3 are
    ‘human’.  The others are shape(form)shifters or cyber/robots).  Game play
    will include some new features and ideas.  If anyone has seen this months
    Video Games (formerly VG & CE) and see the new Atari 2 pg ad, you will see
    a ‘very’ early screen shot of the game.

    Look for a FAQ to be posted on or around the time of the SCES for more info.

    We will also be starting on MechTiles tm and a FRPG sometime in the next
    quarter.

    Tim @ Beyond Games, Inc.

    So, before U.V even finished company was talking about Jaguar Mechtiles, a 3D platformer, Battlewheels and a FRPG…

    That’s even before you add later in talks to do AVP II and Major Havoc 2000.

  25. Ross Sillifant

    Final set of quotes:

    “I’m not sure what we’re going to do with Battle Wheel’s.  Depending on the
    availability of the Catbox, how we rethink BW’s for the Jag; ie straight
    shoot’em up, RGP, adventure-type, will determine how and what we do with
    BattleWheels.”

    ” Mechtiles tm is (will be) a Mech warrior type of game. (How’s that for a
    basic summation?) the FRPG (role playing game) will be just that, a
    role-playing game.  I’m hesitant about releasing any info on it for fear
    of starting vaporware rumors.”

    Tim @ BGI

    Irony is that everything bar U.V on Jaguar turned out to be nothing but vaporware for Beyond.

  26. Ross Sillifant

    Bit more on Beyond Games and Major Havoc 2000:

    Kris Johnson was trying to reach Owen Rubin with questions about the game logic involved with Major Havoc, which is a promising sign that they at least wanted to fully understand the original game before attempting a reboot.

    On that subject,a good few years ago, Owen Rubin was looking for funding for a PC/Mac project with possible PlayStation 2 version, based loosely on Major Havoc.

    I never heard any more on it, so assume funding was never met.

    But that was the last attempt i am aware of to reboot the I.P

  27. Ross Sillifant

    This statement

            A few people have inquired as to the status of BattleWheels for the
    Jaguar.  As far as we know, this project is still on.  We have been
    negotiating with Atari to develop this concurrently with the PC
    version.  As soon as we hear some confirmation from them, we’ll be
    adding information on the Jag version to our web pages.  BattleWheels
    would make an awesome display of the Jag’s capabilities, and we will
    continue to move it through the early stages of development.  Thanks
    for the inquiries, and please keep the ideas, suggestions, etc.
    coming.

    Clark Stacey
    Beyond Games

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