In September of 1996, almost 10 years in development, millions of dollars in development, years of hype and anticipation, BATTLECRUISER 3000AD was released worldwide and incomplete, amidst widespread controversy, by Take Two Interactive (US) and Gametek (UK) without authorization by 3000AD, Inc. Virtually unplayable out of the box, this action killed the title which then received a significant amount of bad press as the world waited with baited breath to find out what had gone wrong. It then became all too clear, though already obvious, that the had been released in Beta form in order to meet a publisher’s Christmas shipping deadline.
Throughout 1997, under siege, behind enemy lines and out of ammo, a desperate and worn designer and battle torn development team and testers, worked long and hard to make the best of a bad situation in order to complete the title as it was originally intended. In the end, it became obvious that it was a pointless excercise and the development almost came to a grinding halt… the only saving graces being the tenacity of the designer and development team as well as the support of thousands of gamers who had stuck by the title against all odds.
In January 1998, after a legal battle that lasted more than a year, 3000AD Inc. settled with Take Two and managed to re-acquire the rights to the franchise. Derek Smart then subsequently announced the end of development of the title and released the final version of BC3K to the public as a free download. The world finally got to see the title in a better state as was originally intended.
Featured and available for download on several online sites and currently available on the cd-roms of numerous magazines in different languages worldwide, Battlecruiser 3000AD was on the top Internet World charts for several weeks and as of 06.09.99 is at #2… over 49 weeks since it’s release on 2/13/98. Remarkable, especially for a 50MB download of a DOS title. This same version is featured on the June issue of Computer Games & Strategy Plus, the July/August issue of PC Games (B rating) as well as numerous magazines worldwide. All three titles are currently listed in the Internet World Charts.
The support for the title was unprecedented. 3000AD then re-organized it’s development schedule around a sequel, and a re-release of the title. BATTLECRUISER 3000AD v2.0 ‘Designer’s Edition’ was subsequently announced and a contract with Interplay Productions was signed in June of 1998. The title shipped into the retail channel in December 1998 amidst unprecedented response and reviews from fans and the press alike. Initial sales exceeded Interplay’s expectations as well as that of other retail and online stores carrying the title. The 60MB demo of v2.0x, released in May 1999, was the top download on most sites and had approximately 20,000 downloads in just five days. The title continued to exceed sales expectations and in October 1999 BC3K v2.08 was released in Europe by GT Interactive and it charted in the UK about two weeks later. The game was later released in other territories by Jack Of All Games and other distributors.
The first generation title of the franchise, Battlecruiser 3000AD, BC3K, has been featured in numerous magazine articles since it’s inception in 1989. Appearing for the first time on the 1992 cover of Strategy Plus (now Computer Games Magazine) it went on to grace the covers of several prominent magazines including Computer Gaming World and several others worldwide.
In keeping with the tradition, BC3K v2.0 was also released to the public as a free download in July 2001.