Gorkamorka, also stylized Gorka Morka and GorkaMorka, is a cancelled Post-Apocalyptic cars combat racing game developed by Real Sports, around 1999 to 2001, and published by Ripcord Games for the PC and the Dreamcast. It is based on the tabletop skirmish wargame of the same name, set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
First details for Gorkamorka was shared by IGN in April 2000:
Gorka Morka, whose name originates from a board game, is a vehicular combat game in development by Real Sports, the developer of Jeff Gordon XS Racing. The game features the popular Ork “Mobz” of the Warhammer 40K universe, and has you recruiting your own Ork Mob and arming your battle vehicle for combat. Then its off to the battle field for some fun weapons-based warfare against other Ork Mobz.
Actually, Gorka Morka‘s combat is like that Sega arcade game of old. Housed within your vehicle are two bodies, a driver and a gunner. The driver, of course, drives the vehicle, and the gunner operates a gun seated atop the vehicle, blasting any and every which thing that lay on your path around the track. In the game’s single player mode, you switch off between gunner and driver position constantly throughout the race, and the game’s artificial intelligence takes over the other position for you.
The game’s single player mode is actually centered around the notion of upgrading your driving buddy, as well as all other parts of your car. As you drive, you collect money by damaging opponents and getting to the finish line. You’ll be able to use this cash to upgrade your weapons, although some of it will also have to go to make repairs to the component damage that’s incurred along the way. The real cool thing is that one of your upgradable parts is your AI partner, and by coughing up a portion of the winnings, you can make your buddy study and become more adept both at gun fire and driving.
As you get better at the game and get a smarter driving partner, you can unload some of the dirty work on him. Even better is that Gorka Morka actually gives you a good deal of encouragement to actually drive better in a race, as you can actually build up a fan section amongst the spectators, with the size of the crowd being determined by how good a driver you are.
(…) It turns out that the developers are hoping that you’ll actively switch between driver and gunner positions based on the area of the course you’re currently in. If you’re in a part of the course that requires precision driving in order to get the best time, move into the driver’s seat. If you’re approaching a tough foe, and you really want to nail him, get into the gunner’s position and blast away while the AI guides you.
Of course, there are still some people out there who aren’t in on this AI thing at all, and that’s what multiplayer was made for. You and a friend can play the game simultaneously, with one player taking to the driving position while the other assumes gunner role. The real intriguing part is the Online play, though, which allows you to do the same thing with an owner of the Dreamcast or PC version somewhere else in America. You’ll actually be able to play multiplayer in this cooperative fashion, or you can join hands with your AI buddy and go at it competitive.
The game was shown at E3 2000 where more info about it was spread:
Basically the point of the game is to shoot up your opponents as much as you can on your way around the track. The races are run for a certain amount of time, so whether you are in the front of the pack or not doesn’t really make a difference to the overall standing. What does make a difference is how much you can damage all of your opponents vehicles. Each time that you damage an opponent you get the ork currency called “teef.” Yup, the orks trade their teeth as currency because they grow back so fast. It’s a matter of showing that you can kick the crap out of your fellow ork. All if this is accomplished through switching between the gunner and driver positions.
Ripcord was nice enough to come by the other day and show us an early version of the game and even gave us said version so that we could mess around with it. And I can say right now that it is looking pretty good. There still are some placeholder graphics and some of the features in the game haven’t yet been implemented, but it looks like it just might break the tradition of lackluster Warhammer 40,000 games.
One of the coolest things that will be implemented into the final version of the game is a crowd that reacts to the races and acts like any good English soccer fan would. They get rowdy. Like rowdy enough to start shooting at the opposing team. If you do well enough that you get the crowd behind you then they will start fighting for control of turrets around the track. Now that’s some crowd interactivity.
Not only will there be crowds to add to the fun, but there are also plenty of traps that you can trigger to hurt the other players in the race and the shortcuts that usually come with racing games nowadays. Of course, these things can only be accessed if you are in the right position. If you are operating the vehicle in the position of gunner, then you’ll be able to trigger the traps, but if the computer AI is in the gunner position, it won’t try to trigger the traps. Same goes for the shortcuts, AI won’t take them so if you want to go that route, you’ll need to be driving. Luckily enough, it’s very easy to switch between the two positions so you’ll be doing both with a little practice.
Probably the biggest draw to this game will be in the multiplayer however. As of this point, Ripcord is saying there will be max sixteen players and eight cars per race in multiplayer. So you can buddy up with a friend and get onto that course and take out the competition.
The game is still quite a ways off from being complete, but Ripcord is speculating a first or second quarter release next year.
In the same period, Gamespot wrote:
To make combat more interesting, there are location-based damage means that specific parts of a car can be targeted and blown off.
They also added in January 2001:
(…) The circuits are gloomy, desolate arenas with metal walls and blood-red surroundings. The vehicles have the same industrial look, in the mold of those in the old Mad Max flicks. Overall, the vehicles and tracks are highly detailed. Although its colors are muted overall, the game has a crisp look, and it should make very good use of the Dreamcast’s high-resolution capabilities.
Adding to the gameplay, Ripcord is bringing GorkaMorka online through SegaNet as part of Sega’s multiplayer network kickoff. Online gamers can select and recruit their own gangs, and they can race against up to 15 other vehicles – a total of 32 people can play at once. In fact, Ripcord is looking at allowing PC and Dreamcast players of GorkaMorka to hook up online. According to a company representative, this feature is yet to be successfully tested at this point, but if at all possible, it will be available in the final version.
GorkaMorka will be released for the Dreamcast, with full online multiplayer support, in October 2001.
Unfortunately, in March 2001, Ripcord Games decided to cancel their whole Dreamcast line-up, following SEGA’s decision to discontinue the system. Alongside Gorkamorka, Legend of the Blade Masters and Shrapnel: Urban Warfare 2025 were put on-hold:
Lately, it’s been more of the ugly news of third parties canceling their Dreamcast games and now, Ripcord Games might join that list soon.
“We have put a hold on the further development of our Dreamcast games,” stated John Peterson, Executive Vice President of Ripcord Games. “While we believe the Dreamcast is a great system, SEGA’s new business direction [into the software business] has made us re-evaluate our current state.” Mr. Peterson wouldn’t go so far as to state the Ripcord Games for the Dreamcast – Legend of the Blade Masters, Gorka Morka, and Shrapnel: Urban Warfare 2025 – were cancelled, but are pending publisher’s decision.
An early build of the PC version, dating from January 24th, 2001, can be downloaded here.
Article by Daniel Nicaise