A full-scale, "all bells and whistles", triple-A Carmageddon game is the "ultimate goal" of series creator Stainless Games.
Whether that ever gets made depends upon the Carmageddon: Reincarnation Kickstarter project. Should it reach its funding target of $400,000 - and it looks like it comfortably will - and should the game be successful, then yes, Carmageddon could return in a very big way.
"That is absolutely what our sort of ultimate goal is - that we will be in a position to be able to get under way a real 'all bells and whistles' job," Stainless Games co-founder Neil Barnden shared with Eurogamer.
Carmageddon: Reincarnation isn't that game, then.
"We don't feel that we have the time - or, we've scheduled, in terms of features for this game - for it to be a lot more than a reboot of the original," revealed Barnden. "That's because that with some concessions to modern day gaming, such as achievements and some additional challenges, we really feel that the original gameplay stands up to being reintroduced to the gaming community - to let them have the harmless fun and various ways of completing the goals in the game that the original had.
"We don't feel that we have the time - or, we've scheduled, in terms of features for this game - for it to be a lot more than a reboot of the original."Neil Barnden, co-founder, Stainless Games
A "skunkworks" team that has nothing to do with naughty plants has kept Carmageddon: Reincarnation "bubbling along" since last summer, when the game was first revealed. The Kickstarter drive only began earlier this month.
"At the moment, it's a fully-matured design doc," said Barnden of Reincarnation, "with a complete schedule of everything that needs to be done that we're basically working through.
"The rate of working through that schedule is dependent on the amount of people working on it at any one time." And that varies between three and 10 people.
Reincarnation will be powered by Stainless' own, and long-matured, game engine. Stainless recently made very respectable games Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers and Risk: Factions. Stainless knows what it's doing - an oiled machine nearly 20 years old.
Carmageddon: Reincarnation is already up and running in a testbed prototype environment you can glimpse in the Kickstarter video at the point where Double Fine boss Tim Schafer is run over, odd as that sounds. "We have an environment there," said Barnden, "that's slowly being added to and built by the artists here".
"The game is going to be based largely on updating the content from the original game," he reiterated.
"At the moment, what's known as City B - which was one of the sections of Bleak City that was in the first game - is the one that we're building at the moment. It was a great level for rooftop races. We're building that, we're adding to the environment, because we now can - we're able to make it more like our mind's eye vision of what it would have been back in '96, '97, when in those days, all we could do was build buildings from 10 triangles or whatever it was!"
"I mean, we're not going to be able to hope to get to the level of detail of Saints Row: The Third, but for me, in terms of the graphical styling of vehicles, of an environment, they do an absolutely lovely job on that game."Neil Barnden, co-founder, Stainless Games
Being a modest production means Carmageddon: Reincarnation won't visually blow your socks off. It'll retain the surreal feel of the original games, Barnden said, and tend towards a graphic-novel style.
"I mean, we're not going to be able to hope to get to the level of detail of Saints Row: The Third," he said, "But for me, in terms of the graphical styling of vehicles, of an environment, they do an absolutely lovely job on that game."
Carmageddon: Reincarnation will more closely resemble "stuff at the level of Half-Life 2 - the Source Engine work that's out there", said Barnden. "Say, for instance, Counter-Strike: Source, where you have environments that are nicely rendered but they're not overly detailed. The large part of our environment will be - there's going to be an awful lot of interactivity with the environment, but it's kind of broad-brush, as opposed to massively detailed."
If and presumably when the Carnageddon: Reincarnation Kickstarter funding goal is reached, Stainless will shift staff - as well as hire - to ramp up permanent and dedicated production almost immediately.
Barnden was confident of meeting the PC launch date of February 2013.
A Mac version, and PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade versions, are part of the plan. And they'll happen quicker the higher the Kickstarter total goes.
"The things is, these things are what we intend to do anyway," explained Barnden. "The amount of money that comes in will help us to accelerate the development of the game and the total content of the game to enable us to get it on to those other platforms faster."
But don't expect Carmageddon: Reincarnation on console by February. Even if the Kickstarter raised $1 million - more than twice the current target - "we would still be looking at Q3 of next year before we were able to start looking at moving everything across onto those other platforms", said a "realistic" Neil Barnden.
Eurogamer announced yesterday that Stainless Games will be one of the developers speaking at our very first Rezzed game show - the one that's all about PC and indie games. It's altogether a more moccasins than espadrilles affair, and it's taking place in sunny (we hope) Brighton in July.