Car Wars

Activision

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Recently highlighted in a recent interview in 2010 with David Crane, Retro Gamer issue 79 established from David Crane that the driving segments and car building scenes in the famous Ghostbusters game was originally meant for another game.

Already in production was a game called Car Wars, which allowed you to build up your car and kit it out and then drive around.

Thanks to Fabrizio Bartoloni, we learn that from the Retroist website some more details about Car Wars:

“To begin with, Ghostbusters did not start off life as the Ghostbusters game. It was going to be a game about buying cars, tricking them out,and dueling them against other cars around a fictional city. David had worked on the game for about a month had the car drawn and working and had begun to make some of the weapons for the car, when he got a call from fellow Activision co-founder Gary Kitchen.

Kitchen had received a call from the movie company who was publishing the Ghostbusters movie and they asked Kitchen if he would be willing to create a game for the movie that would come out the same day as the movie. Anyone besides me smell the potential for another E.T. here? Well not where David Crane is concerned. Kitchen called Crane to his office and told him the situation with the Ghostbusters license.

Crane immediately sat down and figured out a way to change his car dueling game into the Ghostbusters franchise with only minor changes and additions, and the deal was signed. Crane and Activision delivered the first truly successful movie licensed game in history.”

When Ghostbusters came along, there was only 6 weeks to get the game out – so Car Wars and its car building elements was ideal and taken and turned into part of Ghostbusters instead to save time.

But what of the original game? … How much different would it have been compared to the Ghostbusters incarnation, and would the driving sections have differed much? Is there also a version of Car Wars still around to this day? … maybe with some unused music or anything else?

It’s early days yet – but we believe that David Crane may have been behind the original code. Maybe he still kept something of this long lost C64 game?….

Could anything of this be found?…

Contributions: Stuart Hunt, Fabrizio Bartoloni, GamesTM

Supporting content

David Crane talks about Car Wars:

“Ghostbusters would never have happened if not for Car Wars.  In a sense, Car Wars gave its life to make Ghostbusters possible.  It was a game where players equipped their cars with various weapons and then battled head-to-head on the highways.   It would have been one of the first action games with an in-game economy.  

Car Wars gave Ghostbusters the economy, the car customisation and the driving scene where the player could vacuum up ghosts.  New screens included the city map and the ghost capturing screens.”

One Response to Car Wars

  1. fierman says:

    Just as a sidenote: eventually we did see the game on c64 of course. AutoDuel (http://www.gb64.com/game.php?id=504) is based on the Steve Jackson boardgame (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2795/car-wars) as envisioned by David Crane and considering its age, it recreates the game suprisingly well.

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