Have you ever wondered what happened to the late 90’s classic Re-Volt, one of the last incredible racing games pushed out by Acclaim Entertainment prior to the demise of the studio in 2004? Unfortunately, after the sequel RC Revenge was launched on both the original Playstation, as well as Sony’s new Playstation 2, the Re-Volt brand has been on a bit of an interesting trip. Avid PRC.net reader FMecha has sent in a fantastic Reader Submission, investigating what exactly has happened to this game.
Hi PRC, it’s FMecha again, and I want to tell a story about yet another game that isn’t talked about by the people of PRC, and it deals with pretend toy cars and drama. The game in question is Re-Volt.
For those who are unaware, Re-Volt is an arcade racer featuring weaponized radio control cars. There are communities, such as Re-Volt Live, that keeps the game updated thanks to third party tracks, cars, and patches for compatibility with newer versions of Windows.
Here’s what I observed.
In 2010, a Korean company, WeGo Interactive, purchased all intellectual properties pertaining to all radio control racing games Acclaim had – including the RC Revenge series and Taito’s RC de Go – from Throwback Entertainment, who held the IPs when Acclaim fell bankrupt in 2004. The original game was later re-released for iOS and Android for five dollars in 2012, followed by free-to-play sequel Re-Volt 2 in 2013 (followed by a separate multiplayer version). Naturally, being a free-to-play mobile game, the game is full of pay-to-win shenanigans. Meanwhile, development of fan-made patches for the PC version of Re-Volt resumed, with increasing compatibility with newer versions of Windows, and without being noticed by WeGo Interactive.
Then, WeGo Interactive noticed that the fan patches existed… and no, they did not slap the third party content creators with a cease and desist notice. Instead, they used a beta version of the fan patch without telling the developers, Huki and Jigebren, for the GOG.com re-release. You know, cash grab and that stuff. The game was released on GOG.com on October 3, 2013.
GOG.com eventually gave in to the modders as per their policy, and immediately de-listed the game on January 2014. Those who wanted to buy the game legally were not pleased, and WeGo Interactive have not resolved the matter. Further investigation revealed that some assets in the mobile re-releases used community content without their permission, and WeGo refused to cooperate with them.
At this point, the Re-Volt community should have launched a petition demanding WeGo to give their IP’s to the community. I personally would like to the Re-Volt community do that.
Holy shit that’s cheeky for a developer to outright steal a community mod compilation and offer it for sale as their own. I mean, I guess we’re seeing this with a bunch of Assetto Corsa payware mods as of late, but for it to extend into a territory where it’s being passed off as an entire game? Damn, WeGo’s got some crazy motherfuckers on the staff. That’s a big set of balls for an actual company to have, as if a shovelware company took all of the good GPL mods floating around and sold it as a title called “World Racing 1967” or some shit.
Actually, hyperbole’s aside, this happened with Rigs of Rods as well. The freeware physics sandbox most sim racers know as the precursor to BeamNG’s Drive also went through a similar rough patch. A couple nutty Russian guys bundled a bunch of community mods together with the default install and sold it as something like Vehicle Driving Simulator 2013. Of course, with the relatively small user base and obscurity of the original title, this endeavor didn’t get very far, but Re-Volt was a multi-platform release in the late 1990’s.
The biggest problem with a community being awarded the rights to an IP, is who exactly does this ownership go to? What if the guy who signs for it is a giant power-tripping forum autist who fucks everyone else over? At the moment, it’s probably best for them to just keep doing what they’re doing now.