It’s the super-early 2000s, and there’s only one game around that’s worth lugging your latest Pentium rig to a LAN Party location, then making a second trip up the stairs with that ungodly massive CRT monitor that you wish was somehow flatter. And lighter. And 1080pier, but such technology belongs to the future fiction of the Jetsons, amirite? Anyway, one game was worth the hernias of that era: Quake 3 Arena.
The previous 2 Quakes had been quality single-player campaign shooters with competent multiplayer sections back in their day, but the idea of a core sequel that ditched narrative for pure multiplayer action? That was pretty much unheard of back then, reserved for a select few games like the gorrific Unreal Tournament. The gamble for developer Id Software paid off however, and Quake 3 was a mainstay hit for years to come, its engine providing a particularly awesome legacy that was used for numerous other games of that era.
It’s 2017, and id is once again resurrecting one of their brands that built that company. And they’re not straying to far from the most popular of Quakes in terms of design and flow for Quake: Champions. “We do feel that when you come and play, you go, ‘This is the right way to play.’ You still run and jump and strafe-jump and rocket-jump and stuff, so it doesn’t really change,” creative director Tim Willits said to GameSpot.
It’s 2017, and we want to have a lot of people to play the game
I think people are like, ‘Oh my god! There’s abilities in Quake; you’re ruining the game!’ Luckily, people that have gone through [our PAX demo] are like, ‘This is good,’ and they see what we’re trying to do.”We needed to tap into that core DNA of Quake: skill-based, it’s fast, everyone has the same weapons; no one has a weapon advantage.
We have the holy trinity: rocket launcher, railgun, lightning gun–we’ll never mess with that. That core game loop, the recipe for our cookie, is good. So then we just need to add on stuff and push, push, push–oh, that was too much, come back a little bit and then push, push, push. It’s 2017, and we want to have a lot of people to play the game. We both need to make our Quake fans happy but also make the game approachable and new and fresh and allow people to feel good when they play it.
Everything is cyclical right now, and thanks to games like Overwatch hitting it big, the age of the arena shooter is alive and kicking once again. “The popularity of arena shooters right now really helps us out,” Willits said of the trend.
The fact that there are some other arena shooters that have done well is good for Quake. So I think it’s just kind of a natural evolution and cycle in gaming, which is why you see more games with abilities, because it’s that natural evolution of the genre.
Last year’s DOOM came packaged with a multiplayer option that played very much like classic Quake. If Quake Champions can build on that DNA, then I’m in. There’s no definite release date yet for the latest Quake, but if you’re lucky then you should be receiving an email soon to download the software needed to jump into the upcoming closed beta session. Get ready to taste the flavour of my rocket launcher if I also make it in.