Home > Bibliography, games > My Complete and Utter Dark Future Bibliography

My Complete and Utter Dark Future Bibliography

Dark Future

Dark Future was released in 1988, the same year as Adeptus Titanicus. At least part of Games Workshop’s strategy was to get better at plastics before introducing them as a major part of the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 product lines. It has been claimed that Bryan Ansell was also testing the competition’s tolerance by producing games that were very similar to two major titles of the day: Steve Jackson Games’ Car Wars and FASA Corporation’s BattleTech. I don’t know if that is true, but no lawsuits resulted.

The title Dark Future came before the game. After reading William Gibson’s seminal cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, Jervis Johnson became very excited about the potential of a cyberpunk RPG. Cyberpunk was a very new sub-genre at the time, and no cyberpunk games existed. Marc Gascoigne and Jervis developed a whole setting for the proposed game, but the tide in Games Workshop had already turned against new RPGs and so far as I know the project never received an official green light.

Dark Future was developed by Richard Halliwell at the same time as Jervis was working on Adeptus Titanicus, and the work done for the cyberpunk RPG was grafted onto the car combat game. The spaces between Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay products were growing longer and longer, so I was drafted in as an editor/developer on both games.

Initially, no link was planned between the Dark Future setting and the Warhammer/WH40K mythos. This changed around 1990 when the first Dark Future novels appeared, with some stories featuring demons based on Realm of Chaos.

Another departure from the GW norm was the scale. This was so that players could adapt commercially-available toy cars for use in the game. The boxed set came with two types of cars: the Interceptor used by the Sanctioned Ops (the good guys), and the Renegade used by wasteland gangs such as the Mad Max style Maniax. GW never released any other cars for the game, but the line of metal miniatures included accessories for adapting other toy cars.

Dark Future was a modest success initially. A supplement, White Line Fever, was released later in 1988, and another was planned under the title Dead Man’s Curve. When sales plateaued, the Dead Man’s Curve material was published in White Dwarf 124-125. After that, the novels puttered on as a minor GW fiction line, but nothing was done with the game until 2015, when Auroch Digital announced an electronic version subtitled Blood Red States. It remains to be seen whether this will help revive the IP.

There are still Dark Future fans out there. I recently discovered the Oldhammer: Dark Future Facebook group, with over 500 members who are still modeling and converting vehicles and playing the game. There is also a fan-made wiki.

My involvement with Dark Future was brief and peripheral, but I’m still happy with it. It was a fun setting to play with during that time when cyberpunk was still new and cutting-edge, and I enjoyed writing a lot of the flash fiction and text vignettes that went into the two supplements. Here’s what I did:

Dark Future (1988) – developer, color text
White Line Fever (1988) – developer, color text

“The Sand Cats,” Challenge #52, 1991 – author Buy it here
“Dead Man’s Curve” White Dwarf # 124-125, June-July 1990 – developer, color text
“Saint Louis Blues,” White Dwarf #112, May 1989 – developer, color text
“Redd Harvest,” White Dwarf #104, Sep 1988 – author

Other Bibliography Posts

My Complete and Utter Warhammer Bibliography (Warhammer, WFRP, HeroQuest, AHQ)

My Complete and Utter Warhammer 40,000 Bibliography (WH40K, Adeptus Titanicus/Epic Scale)

My Complete and Utter Cthulhu Bibliography

My Complete and Utter D&D/AD&D/d20 Bibliography

My Complete and Utter GURPS Bibliography

My Complete and Utter Vampire: the Masquerade and World of Darkness Bibliography

My Complete and Utter Fighting Fantasy and Gamebook Bibliography

My Complete and Utter Colonial Gothic Bibliography

My Complete and Utter Video Gameography

My Complete and Utter Bibliography: The Rest of the RPGs

My Complete and Utter Bibliography: Odds and Ends

  1. December 22, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I loved Dark Future and regret selling my copy when I joined the RAF. In fact, just recently, I took a look on eBay for a replacement copy but it’s going for silly money now 😦

    • January 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

      My searching has paid off and I am now the proud owner of a copy again. I’ll be introducing my son to the joys of it soon 😀

  2. December 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    One game that I never got at the time (money was an issue when I was a teen). I finally picked it up off eBay last year. I’m just hoping to play it one day before I expire!

  3. December 22, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    The minis for this were very cool and are fun to paint up. I wonder though – I always thought Dark Future came from the earlier Battlecars game which, as far as I’m aware, had a similar Mad Max type background. I don’t own Battlecars though so I’m not 100% sure of that.

    • December 22, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      The two games had similar imagery, but as far as I’m aware Battlecars had no influence on Dark Future. Battlecars (and its companion Battlebikes) was an early Ian Livingstone design from when GW was still based in London. As far as I know Hal developed the Dark Future rules from scratch, although I have read that he based them on some of his earlier work for a Judge Dredd game (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Future).

    • January 26, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Confusingly, the name “Battlecars” was also used for a Dark Future add-on box that consisted of the vehicle sprues from the full game.

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