Start of winter brings Midwinter
In terms of game design, 1989′s Midwinter was one of those that could fairly be described as “ahead of its time”. It may be its time now though, as Chilli Hugger Software have announced plans for a remake on “PC, Xbox and PlayStation” (although have not clarified which generation of the consoles this would be).
The late Mike Singleton is probably best known for 8 bit adventure Lords of Midnight, also remade by Chilli Hugger several months ago for various mobile platforms. However, it says a great deal for Singleton’s abilities that this was not his only game to push boundaries of game design at the time of release.
Midwinter was a fully 3D open world, allowing the player to freely explore, recruit and fight against the invading force of General Masters on one of the few inhabitable parts of Earth after an asteroid strike triggers a new ice age (although there are suggestions of a different plot in the text on the remake’s website).
There was a large degree of freedom in the game – travel could be done by skis, snow buggies, hang gliders and cable cars; your counter offensive could be done solo or by recruiting other islanders to defend key locations; and the islanders have mixed relationships with each other meaning acquiring people with some skills often involves recruiting others first – or rescuing them when captured.
Open world games are fairly common nowadays; this was not the case 24 years ago, especially given the relative power of the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga, and in that sense Midwinter has left a legacy that is one of the key ones for gaming today. However, will this be a mixed blessing – will the great-grandfather be able to stand out among the new generation?
A blog – started appropriately on the first day of winter, December 21st – says that refinement of the game for the current generation is on the cards, as is a funding campaign in the new year; there is also an appeal for people who may be able to help with development, especially 3D modellers and texture artists.
Obviously, the game’s release is a long way in the future, and details are not confirmed. But if the innovation that underlay the original can be kept into this remake, it will hopefully remain a contender with all the titles that have followed in its footsteps.
Midwinter is likely to be due for PC, Xbox and PlayStation – current or next generation unspecified – at “the turn of the year”. A Kickstarter campaign is promised for the start of the year, although the level of funding sought as a target isn’t announced.