HMS Carnage (later renamed to Dreadnought / Dreadnoughts and internally know as Dread0) is a cancelled Victorian steam-punk shooter (with strategy elements) set on the red planet of Mars, that was in development for almost 3 years by the Tribe team at Ocean Software. It was an ambitious project, but only a small playable demo and detailed FMV were finished before Infogrames acquired Ocean in 1998 and decided to kill it some months later.
It seems that the game concept was somehow similar to Warhawk, released in 2007 for the Playstation 3, in which the player is able to use ground and air vehicles, turrets and on-foot weapons to kill their enemies and complete the mission objectives.
HMS Carnage was mainly a PC-CDROM game and the PSX / Saturn ports were an afterthought: the console versions would have been very different with more action and less strategy.
At the time Ocean had a reputation for producing low quality movie tie-ins but with the much-hyped arrival of CDROM as a gaming format they wanted to develop some really ground breaking games. Ocean rebranded their internal development department as “Tribe”, invested a lot of money, hired a lot of new talent and asked everyone to come up with amazing original concepts huge enough to fill a CDROM.
HMS Carnage was one of the winning concepts, Silver was another (released 4 years later) and the third was a point ‘n click adventure with Hanna-Barbera characters, called “Zoiks” which was also cancelled.
The game kept its “HMS Carnage” title throughout most of the development, while “Dreadnought” was a name thought up by the marketing department towards the end (the development team didn’t much like it). Probably they though it was a more sellable title for a shooter.
Sadly the name-change was not enough to save the game. When Infogrames bought Ocean and review Dreadnought, too much work and money were still needed to complete the project: they thought that it could have been an economic failure and decided to cancel the development. After the cancellation, part of the Tribe team went to work at Psygnosis.
A preview for HMS Carnage was published in Edge magazine issue 32 (1996), if you are able to scan those pages, please let us know!
Thanks a lot to Maria Ingold, Matt Wood, Julian Holtom for their help in preserving media and info from their lost project!
Thanks to Robert Seddon and Celine for the magazines scans!