Outworld 2375 AD
From Sega Retro
|Outworld 2375 AD|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive|
|Publisher: HeartBeat Corporation|
|Developer: Western Technologies Inc.|
|Sound driver: GEMS|
|Peripherals supported: HeartBeat Catalyst|
|Number of players: 1|
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Outworld 2375 AD is a Sega Mega Drive fitness science fiction driving game developed by Western Technologies and published by HeartBeat Corporation. Specifically designed to utilize the fitness sensor-integrated Mega Drive peripheral HeartBeat Catalyst, it was released exclusively in the United States in 1994 in an extremely limited run, and is one of the single-rarest commercially released Mega Drive games in existence.
Currently known to have been reached store shelves in some capacity, the obscurity of Outworld 2375 AD had left its official release status shrouded in mystery for decades. While Western Technologies developers claim the game was completed but left unshipped, multiple collectors own boxed copies of the final game, with HeartBeat having given it a last-minute, barebones physical release locally distributed to three Target stores in Michigan in late 1994.
|“||Kidnapped by intergalactic criminals, you have been pitted in the race for the ultimate prize - your freedom. Race through a planet which began as an experiment in artificial development. Using your heavily armed space hovercraft, you must outmaneuver environmental mutations as well as the deadly inhabitants in a fight for your survival. Go too slow and your aircraft will crash...too fast and it will burn up. Close the hatch, buckle up and hit the turbos.||„|
Set on a planet wracked by natural disasters, players begin the game by choosing from one of five different courses. Like contemporary racing games of the time, sprites and roadside objects are scaled towards the camera in real time. The faster players exercise, the faster their hovercraft will travel. Exercise too fast and the ship will overheat and explode, but exercise too slowly and it will lose momentum and crash. Additionally, the player is timed during races, and being too careful on the throttle will result in players unable to reach the goal in time.
- Executive Producers: Justin Hall-Tipping, Jay Smith III
- Produced by: George deGolian
- Game Design by: Juan Carlos Bojórquez, Eric Akira Iwasaki, Carlos Miguel Morales
- Lead Programmer: Juan Carlos Bojórquez
- Art and Animation by: Erik Alwill, Rodger Ferris, John Harris, Eric Akira Iwasaki, Tate Mosesian
- Music and Sound by: Fletcher Beasley
- Contributing Designers: Mike D'Isa, Alan Wise
- Additional Programming by: Mark Guidas, Chris Longpre, Carlos Miguel Morales, Takeshi Sumida, John Tomlinson, Alan Wise
- Additional Art by: Juan Galceran, Scott Mavor, Ed Trillo
- Special Thanks to: Adam Benjamin, Misty, WG
Artist Eric Iwasaki recalls that Outworld's graphics were were hand-drawn in Deluxe Paint Enhanced and animated in Deluxe Paint Animation, and that the game's reliance on a dark-blue color scheme was a result of the Mega Drive's hardware limitation, stating "the Genesis displayed shades of blue better than any other hue (especially in the darkest values), making blues the only choice for creating the illusion of moody dimensional lighting." Iwasaki also focused on creating artwork with smooth color gradients to minimize unwanted "sparkly noise" when scaled down to smaller sizes.
Outworld 2375 AD was advertised alongside NHLPA Hockey as "the second wave of HeartBeat games". Early copies of the game were sent to video game magazines for review purposes, with most articles highlighting its unique fitness capabilities; namely, the relation of the player's heart rate to the speed of actual gameplay was easily Outworld's most well-received feature.
Iwasaki remembers the game's artwork was largely redrawn after Outworld's promotional appearances in the gaming magazines Sega Visions and Mega, with the HUD in particular being revamped later in development.
As one of the least-known Mega Drive games, Outworld 2375 AD 's release status remained unclear for decades. However, modern research (particularly the efforts of BadUsername25 and CartridgeCulture) eventually uncovered evidence of an official, if limited, release. Isaiah Mays-Vinson also spoke with former Western Technologies developers, who seem to be divided on whether the game was actually released.
Outworld's producer, George deGolian, recalls that the game was either left unfinished or unshipped. Artist Eric Iwasaki specifies that "production had wrapped" and that "we completed development", but that the game never made it to stores. Despite this, multiple collectors in Lansing, Michigan (where Catalyst games were locally distributed post-1994) reportedly own copies of the game - with one collector even confirming Outworld 2375 AD received a standard boxed release with a manual and cartridge. Another collector from the same city claims to own a prototype. Eventually, a photograph of the game's cartridge was taken, revealing a finalized label identical to that of the released PGA Tour Golf II (Catalyst).
Produced in an extremely limited run numbering no more than a few hundred copies, it appears to have been available for purchase in late 1994 from three select Target stores in the state of Michigan (specifically, those located in the cities of Lansing, Okemos, and Jackson), or by mail-ordering the game directly from HeartBeat Corporation. Additionally, fitness retailers like NordicTrack who had previously stocked HeartBeat products were also likely to have access to the company's limited-run games, if they so chose.
Owing to confusion over Outworld's release status, extremely little of the title has been preserved. The game went entirely undumped until November 2022, when a private collector donated a copy to the Video Game History Foundation for preservation; the ROM was uploaded to Hidden Palace the following June. While sold in a box and with a manual like contemporary HeartBeat games, no images of either the box art or manual are believed to publicly exist.
- Main article: Outworld 2375 AD/Magazine articles.
- Main article: Outworld 2375 AD/Promotional material.
- Main article: Outworld 2375 AD/Technical information.
ROM dump status
- Technology adds new thrills to boring exercise equipment article by Bob Condor at The Chicago Tribune
- Investigatory thread 1, 2, 3 by BadUsername25 at Reddit
- http://videogamekraken.com/heartbeat-personal-trainer-catalyst (Wayback Machine: 2021-04-14 05:43)
- Sega Visions, "October/November 1993" (US; 1993-xx-xx), page 110
- @IsaiahVinson1 on Twitter (Wayback Machine: 2023-03-11 09:04)
- File:HeartBeatPersonalTrainer US brochure.pdf, page 4
- Mega, "March 1994" (UK; 1994-02-17), page 12
- File:Outworld2375AD MD US credits.pdf
- @IsaiahVinson1 on Twitter (Wayback Machine: 2023-06-23 03:32)
- [ ] (Wayback Machine: 2023-06-23 03:32)
- File:Outworld2375AD MD US cart front.png
- http://people.we.mediaone.net/akira3d/private/axiszeta.htm (Wayback Machine: 1999-10-13 01:41)
|Outworld 2375 AD|
|Topics||Magazine articles | Promotional material | Personal Trainer | HeartBeat Corporation|
|Games||NHLPA Hockey | Outback Joey | Outworld 2375 AD | PGA Tour Golf II|