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The world was a very different place when Pitfall Harry first swung onto the Atari 2600 in 1982. Video game consoles were still in their infancy, let alone handheld electronics, and the Internet was at least a decade away from entering people’s homes.
Almost 30 years later, Activision Publishing is staging a comeback for its genre-defining adventure game on iOS and Android devices. Developed by its newly-minted mobile studio, The Blast Furnace, the reimagined Pitfall! once again puts Harry’s fate into your hands — this time in the form of an endless running game.
“The vision was to take inspiration from the ’82 Pitfall and all of its cool gameplay [elements],” said Greg Canessa, vice president of Activision Mobile, to GamesBeat. “We took that inspiration and iconography and [brought them] to 2012 with modern technology while trying to stay true to that game.”
The rope swings, crocodiles, gold bars, and other familiar objects from the original Pitfall! all make an appearance in this reimagined universe. The press release promises “an ever-changing landscape with different environments and shifting camera perspectives” where you can level up by earning experience points, power-ups, and tons of loot.
“It feels like a very out of control experience,” said Gordon Hall, the studio head of The Blast Furnace. “It feels very comfortable as you play it…[and] you can just kind of zone out. The team spent a lot of time honing the experience until they felt that ‘click’ until the game became addictive.”
Pitfall! is just one of the first initiatives for the U.K.-based development studio. Hall hinted that more reboots of Activision’s older titles could be coming down the pipeline as well.
“We desperately want to go through that back catalogue,” said Hall. “But at the same time, we have some very bright brains in the whole group from the top down…to create new and original IP [intellectual property].”
Pitfall! is now available in the Apple App Store. An Android version is also in the works.