Yesterday, developer Running With Scissors announced that it has released the source code to the public of its 1997 surreal (and rather divisive) isometric shooter POSTAL — which isn’t a huge surprise when you realize that 2017 marks the 20th anniversary for the game, and that the developer announced it would do this back in August of last year.
For those that don’t know: the Running With Scissors developed, and Ripcord Games published game, follows a schizophrenic man who has been evicted from his home, and believes that the United States Air Force is releasing a poison gas in his town that only he is unaffected by. Going beyond this point in the story synopsis would be to close to spoiler territory, and with a remaster of the game just only recently being released, it’s probably best not to walk that fine line and potentially ruin something for someone.
As for the gameplay, the game is a 3D, isometric shooter featuring hand-painted backgrounds. However, contrary to many first-person shooters, the goal of the game is not to just slay everyone, stay alive, and reach the next level, but is rather to kill a certain percentage of the armed NPCs on the map. Only then will the exit be revealed and the next level be activated.
A sequel to the game, Postal 2, was released in 2003. A remaster for the game called, Postal Redux released onto PC back on May 20, 2016, with a release for the PS4 coming as well sometime in the future. A movie of the same name was also produced and released in 2007.
Now with that history lesson out of the way, we can get to the news. Running With Scissors released a blog post announcing (as mentioned above) that the source code for the game has been released to the public. The post starts off with the developer saying the following:
“It was in September, 1997 – over 19 years ago (we’ll round that out to 20, for marketing reasons) – when us humble folk from Running With Scissors unleashed our Robotron-inspired isometric shooter POSTAL to the unsuspecting public at large. It was an instant hit, grabbing the attention of gamers, parents and politicians across the country, and we’ve been supporting and updating it ever since. But now, (almost) 20 years later, we are entrusting our fans with the future of our game, by releasing its source code to the public. Consider it a belated Christmas present!
It’s hard to digest how long ago POSTAL was released. Feels like it was only yesterday that our new fans were sending us wonderful e-mail to praise our work, and we received our very first lawsuit notice… ah, those were the days.
But it’s true – (nearly) 20 years have passed us by. So much has happened in that time, that it’s hard to even keep track of it all – an entire generation has grown into legal adults, while video games have evolved to levels of near-photorealism; plus we’re finally getting that VR tech that we’ve been dreaming of since before we released POSTAL. It’s been a long and eventful couple of decades, full of change and advancement, but there is one thing that has always remained constant – our continued support and updates for our baby. Thanks to the dedicated hard-workers in our team, the loving support of our fans and even the efforts by our detractors, POSTAL has seen a lot of activity during these many years — an expansion pack, a lawsuit by the Postal Service, an exclusive Japanese edition, bans in 14 countries across the world, re-released special editions, sequels, digital re-releases, an Android port, new updates with twin-stick controls, a novelization and even an enhanced modern remake. Not too shabby for one of “the three worst things in American society”, wouldn’t you agree?”
The post then goes to talk about specfically, how the game’s remake “was an especially big step” for the developer, and served as a passion project to make the original POSTAL again from the ground up.
The source code is available to grab via Bitbucket, under the GPL2 license. With this, everyone now has ‘under the hood’ access, and can not only see what makes POSTAL tick, but can even tweak, update, or modify anything in the game.
The developer goes on to urge anyone who feels like it to port the game to other platforms, with a reward of some type for whoever ports the game to The Dreamcast.
Looking ahead, the developer announced back in 2015 that it was working on a new IP, however, beyond this initial confirmation, news on said project has been dry.