wipEout: Speedy Futuristic PlayStation Racer is Fast

wipEout on the PlayStation
Wipe that out!

Launched in 1995 by Liverpudlian developer Psygnosis, wipeEout arrived on the gaming scene as the competitor to Nintendo’s F-Zero on the SNES.

Launching on Sony’s PlayStation, it merged cutting edge graphics with a hip and cool soundtrack. It really was the shizz!

A Brief History of wipEout Games

Just to note, the game’s name is often stylised as wipE′out″. We’re going to cover it as wipEout, just to be uber cool.

Also, another note, Psygnosis is actually no more.

Despite creating one of the PlayStation’s most iconic games, the studio eventually closed around 2012.

A shame! As this title is pretty era defining and fitted neatly into Sony’s efforts to make gaming cool and all that.

So wipEout, alongside “mature” titles such as Tomb Raider (with Lara Croft’s enormous chest) helped make stuff cool. Oh, and there was was also PaRappa the Rapper! Yeah!

But Psygnosis’ game was a little different. It really was something unique when it launched, especially with its inclusion of a pelting dance soundtrack.

There is a plot, though! Set in 2052, you compete in the F3600 anti-gravity racing league to win stuff by finishing first.

You get the standard batch of weapons to stop, stall, and obliterate your opponents. That particular majigger was set in stone by the legendary Super Mario Kart.

But this game is mainly about speedy action around tight tracks.

The famous soundtrack that accompanies races was by Tim Wright, a Welsh composer who also uses the alias CoLD SToRAGE (that probably seemed cool in 1995).

wipEout’s techno music became almost more famous than the game.

It was a radical concept at the time. Trendy techno in a computer game!? Therefore… games must be cool and not for social reprobates and sad losers who need a girlfriend!

Check it out, Professional Moron massive! Rave on! Rave on! Rave on! Aciiiid!

So, wipEout was busy styling itself as an Acid House, Madchester style game for Friday night ravers looking to continue tripping their heads off when arriving home.

And even its marketing campaign got chins wagging, with a poster featuring English radio DJ Sara Cox looking like she’d had a drug overdose.

That’s what the people who complained said, anyway. Here it is from 1995 in all its glory.

The wipEout poster with Sara Cox

The idea being… playing the game made her want to take drugs? You go, girl! It was a year before Trainspotting came out, so why not?

Oh yes, along with all of the above, it also helped the game was great fun! For the time, it was fast-paced and so very, very cool.

It received critical acclaim and was the talk of the town for some time.

We even remember on the Channel 4 show Games Master Danny John-Jules (of Red Dwarf fame) was on to play it.

But despite its lingering reputation as a PlayStation game, Psygnosis did actually take ports over to the PC, MS-DOS, and Sega Saturn.

Plus, the success of wipEout led to immediate copycat titles from other developers, such as Extreme G (1997) and the dismal Aero Gauge (1998).

But for those of us from 1995 who gave wipEout a whirl, it seemed to open up a door to all sorts of new gaming possibilities.

Such as rave music, drug taking, and complaining about marketing campaigns. It truly was the dawn of a new era.

The wipEout Series Now

Psygnosis soon started milking its series like the cash cow it clearly, with the first sequel arriving in 1996.

This was Wipeout 2097 (or wipE’out” 2097 if you wanted to do all the stupid stylisation stuff). Although Americans will know the game as Wipeout XL.

Meanwhile, the developer was working on Wipeout 64 for the Nintendo 64. That launched in late 1998 in Japan (early 1999 for Europe).

We remember renting that one from Blockbuster and quite enjoying it, but it had frame rate issues and paled in comparison to Nintendo’s blindingly fast F-Zero X.

Into the 2000s and the games gradually kept trickling out, with various iterations including Fusion, Pure, Pulse, HD, 2048, and then the last official entry came in 2017.

That was an HD overhaul of the previous games, so the last official new game from the series is Wipeout 2048 which only launched on the PS Vita (Sony’s handheld).

Studio Liverpool handled that, the dev a remnant of the former Psygnosis.

It met with decent reviews from critics, averaging out around 7/10.

But that’s pretty much it for now, it seems! But! NO! Publisher Rogue Games announced in September 2021 that there’s ANOTHER title on the way.

This will be Wipeout Rush and is for Apple and Android devices. It’ll arrive in Q1 2022.

So, the series isn’t dead. And if you’re an addict for some more speed rushes then you’ll have your lust for that sorted early next year.

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