In one of the most surprising pieces of retro-related news we’ve had for some time, it’s been announced that Atari is set to unveil Tempest 4000 shortly – and Jeff Minter, developer of Tempest 2000 and Tempest 3000, is handling development.
Tempest 4000 is due to be unveiled at the massive Gamescom show in Germany later this month, and Atari has said that it will be released for current generation consoles and PC in the holiday season of 2017. The game is set to offer three game modes – Standard, Pure and Endurance – as well as 100 levels, online leaderboards, a Nineties-inspired techno soundtrack and 4K visuals.
If you’re scratching your head and thinking “what’s the big deal?” you may have missed the public and very acrimonious fallout between Atari and Minter back in 2015. The dispute centred on Minter’s excellent PlayStation Vita shoot-’em-up TxK, which Atari felt was a violation of their Tempest copyright. “There is nothing remotely ‘original’ in TxK and in no meaningful sense can TxK be described as [Jeff Minter’s] ‘own independent creation’,” Atari claimed in a letter sent to Minter’s lawyer. In one of many tweets on the subject, Minter claimed that he “could never have imagined one day being savaged by [Atari’s] undead corpse” and was “beyond disgusted.” The result was that planned conversions of TxK to other formats never saw release, although the original Vita version remains available to buy.
The dispute appears to have been well and truly put behind the two parties, however. “At the end of the day, video gamers always win,” says Jeff Minter in the press release. “I am very happy to work with Atari again to bring a long-awaited sequel of Tempest to our legion of fans and a new generation of gamers worldwide.” Atari COO Todd Shallbetter was effusive in his praise for the veteran coder too, saying “We’re thrilled to be able to work with Jeff Minter again, someone who is a legend in the industry and has made a huge impact on the history of video games.”
If Tempest 4000 is anywhere near as good as TxK, we’ll be utterly thrilled. We gave the game a whopping 96% in a review back in 2014, which you can read by clicking here.
Gamescom 2017 is set to open its doors two weeks from now, so expect more details soon.