|location||nova park, chicago|
|forward conditions||night, clear|
|reverse conditions||morning, clear|
Funded by Omnicom and the Chicago government, the Nova Park circuit was created to give Omnicom a home track and improve Chicago’s reputation during the city’s recent period of economic resurgence. Entering the AGL in 2150, the new track quickly cemented itself as a favorite among fans and pilots alike due to its unique surroundings and sweeping corners. However, this reputation was not to last.
Nova Park Earthquake
On August 9th, 2157, during an Omnicom test session at the Nova Park circuit, the area was suddenly devastated by a freak earthquake which seemingly came out of nowhere. Measuring at a staggering 7.1 on the Richter scale, the quake tore through the park's AGL circuit, leveled several multi-story buildings and caused severe damage to Chicago's sewage network and electrical grid. Luckily, several smaller tremors immediately beforehand prompted a safe evacuation of the area, but the financial impact of the damage was significant. Strangely, the event was entirely localized around the circuit in Nova Park, leaving the rest of Chicago nearly untouched.
Immediately after the quake, Chicago’s government ordered a money-no-object independent investigation to find the cause of the incident. Headed by Omnicom’s chief engineering team, the investigatory body concluded that the earthquake was a man-made occurrence rather than a freak of nature. While it was initially suspected to have been a result of Omnicom testing the prototype for the next upgrade to their Tremor weapon, cleanup crews allegedly unearthed the charred remains of a Seismic Emitter chassis manufactured by Diavolt, leading investigators to conclude that a flaw in Diavolt’s Tremor design was to blame.
This claim was hotly contested by Diavolt's senior leadership, who fiercely denied any involvement in the accident, even going as far as to claim that the evidence was planted to deflect the blame off of Omnicom. They pointed out several glaring issues in the investigation: the fact that Omnicom’s own staff coordinated the effort and absolved their own company of all guilt, the lack of concrete evidence of the seismic emitter being present during the cleanup, the fact that all of Diavolt’s craft and engineering staff were in Russia testing at the Aciknovae Reactor at the time of the incident, and the suspiciously secretive nature of the whole investigation. Rather than offer a counterargument to Diavolt’s claims, Omnicom chose to immediately ban Diavolt from all of their affiliate media networks, censoring all of their attempts to defend themselves. Ironically, this act of censorship backfired on Omnicom by lending credibility to Diavolt’s claims, swaying the opinions of various neutral parties towards Diavolt’s side of the argument and reducing their ratings as viewers sought better coverage from other sources. What ultimately resulted were several months of bickering and finger-pointing in the media, with both parties accusing the other of corruption and calling on the public to take sides.
The controversy culminated in a highly-publicized lawsuit between the two teams, though the case was quickly dropped after both sides agreed to settle out of court for an undisclosed amount. Since the signing of the settlement agreement, Diavolt's public stance on the incident has seemingly changed, going just short of stating their innocence but indirectly alluding to it at every opportunity. They are still banned from all of Omnicom’s media networks, but they make their views on that situation very clear with their aggressive behavior on the track. This rather obvious animosity has led to rumors that Diavolt is quietly collaborating with other parties aggrieved at Omnicom, most notably their fellow racing teams Hyperion and Scorpio. When questioned about such agreements, Diavolt’s representatives have repeatedly denied the allegations.
After the lawsuit was dropped, Omnicom constructed a new circuit from the remains of Nova Park. Renamed to Nova Split, the hastily constructed venue uses sections of the old circuit but is now far more difficult due to its hectic and broken layout. Though the park is steadily being rebuilt, the circuit is still flanked by collapsed buildings and wreckage - an aching reminder of the disaster that shaped it into the track it is today. Regardless of the true cause, the Nova Park Earthquake was by far the worst media scandal in recent history, and arguments over who should be held responsible still flare up today. Omnicom’s brash handling of the entire situation has greatly contributed to the dwindling of their popularity among the general public, and Diavolt’s on-track aggression has kept tensions high between AGL teams and fans, meaning that the debacle is likely to have far-reaching effects on the sport for a long time.
- Nova Split was originally released as a free track expansion alongside Arrivon Xi to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Wipeout 2097/XL and was made as a reference to Spilskinanke. It was later remade and introduced to the game for the 1.0 release.
- The original Nova Split was the first track in the game to be made with the in-game layout creator and use the TRM format.