Speedball 2

Rebellion has acquired the brand and IP portfolio of legendary British games developer The Bitmap Brothers.

According to the press release, what this means is that we’ll see classic Bitmap Brothers games coming to new platforms. Better yet, there are plans to create new titles based on the Bitmaps’ licenses. This is very, very exciting if you’re a British person of a certain age, or a retro gamer with a focus on the Amiga or Atari ST.

Who were The Bitmap Brothers?

Rebellion And Bitmap

Jason and Chris Kingsley OBE, chilling with Mike Montgomery of the Bitmaps. In a very Bitmap Brothers-style image.

If you don’t fall into either of those categories, then the short version is this: The Bitmap Brothers was a British games developer back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The team was arguably famous for three things: being publicized as gaming’s rock stars, creating incredibly stylish and unique games, and creating brutally difficult games.

You may or may not have heard of their output, but standout titles include Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, The Chaos Engine, and the Xenon series. Slightly less well-known were Magic PocketsCadaverGods, and Z. And if nothing else, they were able to shift genres with ease. Those games mentioned above include shmups, platformers, a very unique take on the RTS, one of the most entertainingly violent sports games of all time, and an isometric RPG/adventure hybrid.

And if you have heard of these titles before, then it may not have been in a good light. There have been numerous attempts to revitalize Bitmap’s IPs in the past, with several incredibly shonky Speedball remakes and sequels and a very odd remaster of Gods.

And what does this mean?

Chaos Engine

Beating stage one of The Chaos Engine in single-player is a badge of honor, frankly.

All of these IPs are now in the hands of Rebellion. While Rebellion has yet to announce any hard plans, the four titles specifically mentioned in the press release are XenonZ: Steel SoldiersSpeedball, and The Chaos Engine.

There are no indications that any of the former Bitmap Brothers are on board — most have since moved on to other things — but this announcement does come with a photo of Bitmap Brothers co-founder Mike Montgomery chilling with Rebellion co-founders Jason and Chris Kingsley OBE. So if nothing else, he appears to approve of this decision.

I am tingling with excitement at the possibilities. Also, there’s one more thing the Bitmaps were famous for: really good music. In celebration, here’s the intro to the Amiga 500 version of Gods, complete with some truly stonking audio.

Tim McDonald
Tim has been playing PC games for longer than he's willing to admit. He's written for a number of publications, but has been with PC Invasion - in all its various incarnations - for over a decade. When not writing about games, Tim can occasionally be found speedrunning terrible ones, making people angry in Dota 2, or playing something obscure and random. He's also weirdly proud of his status as (probably) the Isle of Man's only professional games journalist.

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