When deciding on the next wave of titles to recharge, Gravitar jumped to the top of the list.
Released in 1982, Gravitar was an ambitious title, probably overly ambitious, that took the rotate, thrust and fire mechanics of Asteroids and Space Duel, combined them with the gravity of Lunar Lander, and added exploration and elements of cave flying. The result was an extremely challenging arcade game that pushed beyond the technical boundaries of the arcade hardware, and failed to catch on with most quarter-wielding arcade players who were looking for shorter, more predictable gameplay.
After a year in the market coin op arcade owners were offered a conversion kit that turned Gravitar cabinets into Black Widow cabinets, and as a result precious few Gravitar machines still exist. The game was ported to the Atari 2600 and distributed in limited quantities as a Silver Label cartridge to Atari club members, making it very desirable to collectors. Eventually Atari did produce a more traditional retail version of the cartridge, but VGZChartz lists it as only the 83rd best selling Atari 2600 title.
The ambition of the original Gravitar developers appealed to the Atari Recharged team, including designer Adam Nickerson and the team at Sneakybox. Gravitar: Recharged represents a shift from the first five high-score chasing games in the series, offering more depth and a slower pace. The result is an ethereal flying game that involves exploring planets and space stations and the challenge of navigating through varying levels of gravity.
The visual landscape carries the same Recharged color palette, but is more muted. The music soundtrack by Megan McDuffee is more ambient. The game play remains approachable but increases in difficulty as you progress. A classic Atari game, easy to play but hard to master.
We are very excited to share Gravitar: Recharged with the world. As we prepare for release later this Spring we will be sharing early sketches and notes from the team, work-in-progress gameplay recordings, and gameplay previews and streams. Join our Discord community to follow along, ask our team questions, and participate in AMAs.