Universal Combat (sometimes abbreviated to UC) is the second video game series by the 3000AD Inc. developer and is the successor of the Battlecruiser series of games. It is reported that, in comparison to the Battlecruiser series, the game places a greater emphasis on action and is designed for a wider audience, appealing to both action and space "sims" fans alike.
The project began as early as 2000 when Derek Smart announced he had licensed Croteam's Serious Sam game engine for "Project ABC," for "After Battlecruiser," as replacement for the Battlecruiser Tactical Engagement add-on module intended for Battlecruiser Millennium. The game's scheduled release date was in late 2001, developed for PC and Xbox.
Development started in late 2001 as Battlecruiser Generations, the 5th game in the Battlecruiser series. As part of its design, the upcoming game was intended to make use of newer technology. With a new publisher, Dreamcatcher Games, on board and offering more oversight, the direction of the game changed towards more action-based gameplay than the Battlecruiser series had previously been known for. The changes warranted a new title, and the name was changed to Universal Combat.
Universal Combat was not ready in time for the 2003 holidays, despite expectations. It was shipped in early 2004 by the publisher, DreamCatcher Interactive, at half of the originally announced price. Smart pursued legal action against his publisher. A cease and desist letter was issued on behalf of 3000AD to Dreamcatcher alleging, among other things, that the price reduction was "clearly calculated to inflict economic harm on 3000AD". In the hearing, DreamCatcher Interactive claimed that the game's quality did not justify a midrange price, citing the graphics as an example of the overall quality of the game. A hearing was held to determine if Dreamcatcher would be prevented from shipping the title at the reduced price. The presiding judge denied the injunction stating that 3000AD "made bold but unsupported assertions regarding the irreparable harm to it", allowing DreamCatcher Interactive to ship the game and 3000AD to proceed with their lawsuit. The matter was later settled out of court under undisclosed terms.
In 2005, 3000AD Inc also announced termination of Dreamcatcher's publishing right for Universal Combat, but the deal only expired at 2007-12-18.
When 3000AD announced to release the game as freeware, the company reported it had told DreamCatcher to initiate a DIF (Destroy In Field) order to its various retailers so that the remaining copies can no longer be sold, and any unsold copies would be filed as losses in Q4 2007.