Loose Cannon: Anyone heard anything about this lately?

This may be a little far afield, but I feel like I have to ask.

Back when Chris Roberts’ studio Digital Anvil was still down in Austin, they were working on a game called Loose Cannon. The game looked pretty damn cool – something like GTA3, but with greater flexibility, depth, and graphics worthy of the PC. Screenshots and the like were shown at E3 in 99 and 2000. (3dGamers has the screenshots and a couple in-game movies)

Fast forward about two years. Microsoft guts Roberts’ studio (for better or for worse), and sells/farms out the various projects. Loose Cannon ends up with Sinister Games, an outfit down in North Carolina. It’s been converted from a PC game to an Xbox game, slated to come out later this year.

I don’t know anything about Sinister Games, but most of the games listed on their website are bad racing games for the various consoles.

So: my question. Does anyone know whether this project is still moving forward? Does it look like it’ll live up to the 2-3 year old hype? Or is it just going to be GTA3 roadkill?

Sinister is also the developer that did Shadow Company–a pretty respectable 3D squad game that started under Interactive Magic and was eventually published by Ubi Soft.

I talked to them about this two E3s back. At the time, they’d just gotten the source code and I were evaluating what still needed to be done. I’ve heard nothing since, though.


I’m glad to hear that Shadow Company was a good game – I somehow managed to miss it entirely. With any luck they’ll turn Loose Cannon into something good, too (perhaps with a PC version, too?)

Does anyone have any news about this game that’s less than 6 months old?

The fact that there’s not much available on this game isn’t a good sign, though not a conclusive one either. It may still be in development. I too was looking forward to it because it seemed like a nice PC version of something in the Car Wars style.

I never did play Autoduel, but I loved Roadwar 2000 and hope there’s a replacement for it someday.

I personally suspect that Loose Cannon went the way of Prey and Dreamland Chronicles, that is to say indefinitely back-burnered…

  • Alan

Has anyone thought seriously about putting together an updated version of Autoduel? That has got to be one of the best games I have every played, if only because it was (for its time) so spectacularly flexible.

Yes, someone has.

Irrational Games hinted that they might do a Car Wars-ish game.

Steve Jackson must be a real bitch to work with, because he’s sitting on a lot of attractive licenses. Not Star Wars attractive, but well-designed games that could be done as computer games and which would have at least some marketing cachet from the get-go.

Irrational Games hinted that they might do a Car Wars-ish game.


Reading that, I just experienced what can only be described as a paroxysm. Man, oh man, I would love a Car Wars/Roadwar kind of thing from Irrational. As a strategy game, though, not an actiony thing. And certainly not a real time kind of deal like that Auto Duel computer game that frustrated the hell out of me.


Hmmmm…Roadwar 3000 :) Those SSI Roadwar games became games that I could finish, pick up and play again. At the time, that astounded me; the whole “strategy” label wasn’t especially in vogue then, and I don’t think even the publisher knew quite how to label them.

And Auto Duel was just so cool, blocky graphics and all. I can’t remember which I played first AD or Roadwar, but God those were the days. (Of course, I could never finish AD because it was incompatible with the ST’s TOS 1.02; some things never change!) I still have the little tool set Origin included with Auto Duel. Comes in handy for opening up the ol’ computer case.

I still have the little tool set Origin included with Auto Duel.

Whoa, I totally remember that, copeknight!


Why did Autoduel frustrate you?

I’m not sure that a turn-based car combat game would fly. Arguably, even the real Car Wars would be real-time if Steve Jackson could figure out how to do it in a tabletop game. He definitely tried to speed up play in the new version of Car Wars (pretty successfully, too).

Last time Jason Cross and I visited Irrational, Ken Levine talked with us at great length about Car Wars, and what kind of Car Wars computer game would be fun. He had some really neat ideas.

Personally, I’d like to see a sim-like game in an Autoduel wrapper. Think Interstate '76 with an Autoduel-style dynamic campaign.

Why did Autoduel frustrate you?

Probably because I was a turn-based wargamer at that point in my life. I just recall never getting very far with it. In fact, I may have never even figured it out.



It’s funny you should talk about Steve Jackson being a pain to work with. He may only be hurting himself, though. The Fallout series was originally supposed to be a GURPS game, but the negotiations broke down. Tim Cain and crew went on to make a great one, without the license.

Autoduel was also the GTA3 of its time, one could say. Wide open mission structure and all. My favorite gimmick was that you could buy clones of your character and use them if you died. Run out of clones, game over.

I remember some harrowing missions transporting some crap through the badlands and running into bandits. “Oh great, two cars and… they’ve got a Semi?!”

Fun game. I’d love to see it remade.