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CREATION INFORMATION
CREATED NOV.07.2010
UPDATED NOV.08.2010
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TEXT WRITTEN BY
MARTIN NIELSEN
DETHKARZ
FUTURISTIC 3D COMBAT RACING
DEVELOPER TANTALUS SOFTWARE (FOR BEAM SOFTWARE)
PUBLISHER GT INTERACTIVE
GAME TYPE RACING
PLAYERS 1 - 2
MULTIPLAYER TYPE UNKNOWN
ROM SIZE UNKNOWN
COMPLETENESS UNKNOWN

Dethkarz was a racing game released by Melbourne House (Beam Software) for the PC back in 1998. Somewhere along the way someone at Melbourne House got the idea of porting the game to the N64, to be published by GT Interactive. Now Beam Software most likely had no experience in developing N64 games, so this would've been their first in the N64 business.

But instead of setting up a development team themselves, the N64 Dethkarz was subcontracted to Tantalus Interactive, who were already working on another N64 game, for Acclaim, being South Park Rally.

The N64 port of Dethkarz was supposed to reach N64 gamers in fall of 1999. During my hunt for Dethkarz info, I found an old release list that had the game down for an October release, but that is unconfirmed.

Here's a press release by Melbourne House from back then.

NEW YORK/MELBOURNE, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 22, 1998

`KKND2: Krossfire' for PC First Title Under Agreement

Expanding its product offerings and affiliate label program, GT Interactive Software Corp. (NASDAQ: GTIS) has entered into an agreement with Beam International Ltd. (ASX: BEM) to sell and distribute the company's Melbourne House PC and console software throughout North America. Under the agreement, KKND2: Krossfire, sequel to the real-time strategy game KKND; and DethKarz, a futuristic, progressive car racing game, are among the Beam titles GT Interactive will distribute this year.

"Beam's highly acclaimed software titles furthers our objective to grow our portfolio while building on our strength in the strategy genre," said Ron Chaimowitz, chairman and chief executive officer of GT Interactive. "We believe that partnering with Beam will augment both companies' leadership positions."

"The commitment by one of the world's major distributors and publishers reflects the faith that they have in Melbourne House titles and will enable Beam International to aggressively expand its publishing operations," commented Adam Lancman, Beam International Limited's Managing Director.

KKND2: Krossfire for the PC is scheduled to be released this September while DethKarz will be released for the PC in November, and for the Nintendo 64(R) game console next fall.

The initial Dethkarz (N64) announcement was made at E3 in 1998, the game would feature four different environments split up into 12 tracks. 4 cars would be available to the player to choose from, but each car would be customizable. There would be three racing modes, being...

  • Arcade: Battle other cars in this survival race
  • Championship: The usual collection of multiple tracks
  • Time-Trial: Races against the clock
As an extra feature, a mirror mode and different race classes and hidden vehicles would be available.

Sadly that's all the trace there seems to be from Dethrace for the N64. It seems like the game just vanished with no public explanation. N64.com (IGN) had a few screenshots from the game back in the day, these could've been mockups though or from the PC version.

Thanks to sources close to Tantalus, I've been able to confirm that the reason for the demise of Dethkarz N64 was that Beam/Melbourne House sold the game development and publishing business to Infogrames in 1999, before the game was finished.

So Beam/Melbourne House became Infogrames Melbourne, and Infogrames probably had no interest in publishing the game. Dethkarz was therefore canned soon after the takeover even though development progesssed well.

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