The classic 1990s robot-battling RTS game Z is in the process of getting a fancy makeover, courtesy of The Bitmap Brothers, Kavcom and Peter Harrap of Gremlin Graphics fame.
The Bitmap Brothers studio was responsible for some of the classic titles in early PC gaming, including Speedball 2, Xenon 2: Megablast and The Chaos Engine. However, it's been a long time since we've seen a new game from the company, and the developer's Wikipedia page
lists it as 'defunct.' What's going on here?
Spokesperson for the project, and former PC Zone editor, Jamie Sefton, explained the situation to bit-gamer
. 'Mike Montgomery still runs The Bitmaps,'
says Sefton, 'he's the managing director and he owns all the IP and that kind of stuff.'
So who's developing it then? 'That's a very interesting story actually,'
says Sefton. 'Basically, a guy called Peter Harrap is developing it. Now here's an interesting fact about Peter; he was the creator of Monty Mole on the ZX Spectrum, which I'm really excited about. Peter worked with The Bitmaps on some of the conversions in the 1990s, so Z came out on the PlayStation for example.
'So when they needed somebody to bring Z onto iOS devices and Android and all the other things that they're doing, there was only one person they were thinking of, and that was Peter because he was the only one who knew about assembly language, which is what Z's written in.'
Meanwhile, Kavcom is stepping in to publish the project, which will feature a lot of the content from the PC game, as well as a few enhancements, including touchscreen control. 'Everything is in there, from the terrific comedy cutscenes to the frantic multiplayer mode,'
says Kavcom managing director Tony Kavanagh.
The original 1996 game Z was a fan favourite that received a lot of critical acclaim, and it's amusing listed on The Bitmap Brothers' site as featuring 'four megabytes of stunning in-game graphics.'
Z: The Game will be released on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Blackberry Tab and Android devices later this year. 'It's looking really nice,'
says Sefton, 'especially the iPad version.'
Remember playing Z back in its heyday? Never even heard of The Bitmap Brothers? Let us know your thoughts in the forums