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VR Versions of TxK Seemingly Cancelled, Dev Cites Copyright Issues with Atari

Those that purchased one of Samsung’s Gear VR virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMD) at launch may have been surprised to see an entry from UK-based developer Llamasoft among the release line-up. The developer, which counts shoot ’em up legend Jeff Minter among them, released a VR version of Minotaur Rescue onto the smartphone-based device. The studio didn’t plan to stop there, also revealing that it was working on a VR version of its most recent ‘tube shooter’, TxK, for a wide range of HMDs. Unfortunately, it appears that the title may never see the light of day.

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Minter recently revealed as much on his Twitter account, citing copyright issues with historic videogame company, Atari. “Forces hostile to Llamasoft ensure that there will likely never be anything more along those lines from me on any platform,” Minter explained to a fan. When asked if he was having issues with Atari over TxK he replied: “Atari don’t exist any more, but some people using that name have been bullying us for a year now.[sic]”

“So yeah all the stuff we had ready or near ready will now never see the light of day,” he said. “No TxK PC, PS4, Oculus, GearVR, Android. Thank “Atari”.”

The issue relates all the way back to Tempest 2000, a 1994 remake of the original Tempest that had been designed by Minter and published by Atari. Both titles have players survive for as long as possible as they clear the screen of enemies by travelling back and forth of a set line. Minter himself notes that the title is a ‘distantly related sequel’ but expressed frustration that other titles clearly inspired by Tempest 2000 remain untouched.

“Heartbreaking TBH. Atari was my inspiration and creating one of their great games a high point in my career,” the developer later wrote. “That their name is now owned by strangers who actively want to destroy me is beyond sickening. So utterly disappointed.”

As suggested, TxK was destined to arrive on the Oculus Rift, Gear VR and Project Morpheus HMDs, supposedly with non-VR versions of each also releasing. The news will no doubt come as a huge disappointment to many fans and those that sampled Minotaur Rescue VR on Gear VR.

VRFocus will continue to follow Minter and Llamasoft’s work in VR, reporting back with any further updates.