Speedball 2 revisited and coming to PC
Find someone who owned an Atari ST or Amiga in the early 90s – I’ll wait for you to get back – and mention Speedball 2 to them. Wait for happy nostalgia to come flowing out of every possible word and/or pore. Now let them know that Speedball 2 HD has been announced as coming to PC on 5th December.
The game puts two teams of nine players against each other in a violent ball game combining elements of handball and ice hockey – mixed with a spoon that has a taste of Rollerball still on it with its regard for life only measured in the desire to see it taken away.
The 1990 original was released on pretty much every viable system at the time, and on many since. Remakes and sequels in 3D have all failed, as it is a game that simply works best in 2D. As such, the new version announced is very much a remake of the original, maintaining the overhead 2D display but redrawn in HD.
The new game does have some credentials behind it too – it is developed by Vivid Studios, who also did Speedball 2 Evolution for iOS and Android in 2011, and produced by Tower Studios, co-founded by Jon Hare of Sensible Software fame and former Bitmap Brothers MD Mike Montgomery – who also worked on the original game.
The game features single player leagues and career modes, as well as local multiplayer for up to eight players – but significantly, no online multiplayer. In an interview with Eurogamer Jon Hare says this is due to problems with lag in fast games, but suggests it’s still something that may be added later.
Whether this will be a defining factor – the biggest name recognition for the Speedball franchise will be gamers in their 30s or older, for whom jobs, children and other commitments may mean getting a group of friends together for a tournament isn’t as easy as setting up an online session.
But there must also be hope that the quality of the game still shows after this time, and can attract a wider playerbase who may not have enjoyed the metallic arenas and encouraged fouls of the original.
Speedball 2 HD is being released on Steam, GoG and Get Games on 5th December.