After 3 years of silence, Kingpin Reloaded resurfaces with a new trailer and a December release date

I was very pleasantly surprised when 3D Realms announced in January 2020 that a remaster of the 1999 FPS Kingpin: Life of Crime was in the works. It's not an especially well-known shooter, but I have fond memories of its extreme violence, grimy ambience, endless profanity, and overall sense of silliness—it's a game that aspired to be as over-the-top as possible on all fronts. Alas, the release was delayed in November of that same year, after which it fell off the radar completely.

Now it's back, with a new trailer and a release date close enough that I can believe in it. Kingpin Reloaded, as the updated version is called, is now set to arrive on Steam on December 5.

Visually, the updated Kingpin doesn't appear to have changed much, although it supports 4K and ultrawide monitors. But that's a good thing: The slightly pulsating, over-emotive enemies and NPCs were a big part of the original game's unique charm, and it'd be a shame if they were overly smoothed out. 

The remaster does make a number of under-the-hood changes that promise to expand the original experience, though, ranging from the addition of controller support to new quest and conversation systems, and even a "no violence" mode if that's what you're into. (There is not a "no swearing" mode however; that'd be going too far.) It's also "rebalanced and polished," which will hopefully smooth out some of Kingpin's notoriously difficult bits, and for those who'd prefer to play Kingpin as it was, a separate "classic" mode is also available.

It's not mentioned on the Steam page, but the original Cypress Hill soundtrack will be part of the remaster, too. I was a little concerned that expiring rights might mean it would be left out, but a 3D Realms rep confirmed that it's coming back.

One of the reasons Kingpin went overlooked the first time around was its proximity to the Columbine High School massacre: It came out just a month after that event, amidst a strong pushback against violence in videogames. In response, developer Xatrix added a passworded "safe mode" that reduced the violent content and censored swearing, but numerous high-profile retailers refused to carry the game anyway. In the pre-Steam era, that lack of accessibility was very damaging.

Kingpin Reloaded is available for wishlisting now on Steam. If you'd like to check out the OG Kingpin, it remains available on Steam and GOG.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.