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

33 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

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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 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 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    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.

  17. 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

    ” 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

    Clark Stacey
    Beyond Games

  20. Ross Sillifant

    Another statement from Clark, this time Autumn ’95:

    First, I’m sorry to report, there are no immediate plans to do BattleWheels for the Jag.  However, a fully networked version of BattleWheels for the PC _is_ in the early stages of development.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see it ported to the Jag after it’s released, but the PC version will come first.

    Second, No final deal on AvPII has been struck.  That doesn’t mean we’re not going to be doing it, but that it won’t get out of the planning
    stages until contracts are signed, etc.  I’ll keep you posted.

  21. Ross Sillifant

    IGO report:

    …When Atari laid off a number of employees in November, IG ran a story
    indicating that Atari did not plan to contract out any new Jaguar games.
    In a subsequent interview with Don Thomas, Atari denied these allegations,
    saying that they intended to continue to contract out Jaguar games to
    outside companies. However, it now appears that in fact the original story
     was correct. Jeff Minter was quite possibly the most popular Jaguar
    developer, and other evidence indicates the likelihood that Atari had no
    plans to contract out another Jaguar project to Minter: High Voltage
    Software, who are responsible for White Men Can’t Jump, Vid Grid, NBA Jam:
    Tournament Edition, and Ruiner Pinball report that Atari has not contacted
    them regarding any further Jaguar projects. Moreover, Beyond Games, who
    coded Ultra Vortek, and were supposed to receive a contract for the sequel
    to the incredibly popular Alien vs. Predator, have stated that Atari has
    dropped the contract negotiations for that game, and have not been
    responsive to proposals for a conversion to the Jaguar of Beyond  Games’
    Lynx hit Battlewheels.

  22. Ross Sillifant

    Clark Stacey retracting his earlier statements about Jaguar Battlewheels, he issued this statement in September 1995:

    Clark Stacey
    I must apologize for an erroneous post not long ago. I said that Beyond
    Games is not currently developing BattleWheels for the Jag, just for the
    PC. This is incorrect. Both versions are being developed, and are
    scheduled for release next fall.
    Watch this space for the announcement of the Beyond Games Web
    site–featuring screen shots from Ultra Vortek, the making of the game,
    and currnet and future projects from Beyond Games!
    Clark Stacey

  23. Ross Sillifant

    I have seen Beyond Games saying the Lynx version of Battlewheels sold over 5,000 copies, but that’s still a very, very niche market number and maybe it was the reason Atari never really got behind the idea of a Jaguar version? .

    The game just did not have enough of a draw to make it appealing to the mass market.

  24. Ross Sillifant

    Dan McNamee Atari..talking about the game in December 1997:

    I haven’t seen any pics of it yet, but I talked to Ted Tahquichi a
    couple months ago (he’s working as producer on it), and from what he
    said it sounds pretty awsome.  I can’t wait to see it.  Yep, it is
    pretty much a 2000ed version of the Lynx cart which Beyond Games also


  25. Ross Sillifant

    In the 1997 PC Gamer magazine preview of Redline, Clark Stacey implied Beyond had been looking at doing a true sequel to Lynx Battlewheels, but were just waiting for the hardware to catch up.. I. E be at a point where their ideas could be implemented, which suggests that the Jaguar hardware wasn’t powerful enough for what they envisaged for Battlewheels 2000.


    Well, I had a friend tell me a story 20 yrs ago about Beyond Games (it was Kris Johnson/Tim Huntsman) having called him in the Spring/Summer of 1995 and they were wondering if Atari Corporation/Atari Interactive Inc were still in business nowadays. As, they had not heard from them on any level since Spring/Summer 1994 (or was it even Spring/Summer 1993?) Their Developer Relations had become non-existent for them (Beyond Games) and there was no longer any support happening on the Atari Corporation/Atari Interactive Inc website ( for them to report “milestones” or ask for any input on any game they were working on as being “Yay” or “Nay” to proceed any further on or whatever.

    At this time, this person had been told by Kris/Tim that all projects had been stopped/shelved for Lynx/Jaguar for lack of Atari not existing/responding to their emails for input or milestone reports or payments to continue on their development kits any further and wasting valuable capital needlessly.

    Just my 2¢ worth for you guys. 😁😁

  27. Ross Sillifant

    The Jag is a terrific system. But put yourself in Atari’s
    place–they just don’t have the mega-capital and Japanese
    distribution it takes to really make money in the home gaming market.
    Every indication we’ve heard from Atari suggests that they will
    continue to support the Jag–their fan base is loyal and I’m sure
    they wouldn’t let them down.

    Clark Stacey
    Beyond Games

    Sadly Clark was very wrong, Atari were extremely happy to pull the plug on the Jaguar and let down it’s loyal fans.

  28. Ross Sillifant

    I reached out to Clark Stacey, regarding Jaguar BattleWheels 2000,he was kind enough to reply with:

    “To my knowledge BattleWheels never progressed beyond discussion and perhaps a very early prototype on the Jaguar”

    And pointed me in the direction of other sources who might know more.

  29. Ross Sillifant

    Dale Jay Meier from Beyond Games also got back to me, regarding Jaguar BattleWheels 2000:

    “To my knowledge, there wasn’t any work done with battle wheels that was actually implemented on the Atari…”

    With thanks to Dale for the information..

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