Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Quake Champions is Quake

Quake Champions has had a shadow following it around since it was first announced. The internet immediately accused id software of turning Quake into a MOBA and/or Overwatch. In my opinion these two accusations are not accurate, but they do have some merit. Q:C after all does introduce new features not seen in previous Quake games in the form of light attribute points and unique special passive and active abilities between characters. The argument is that these changes fly in the face of what people think of, which is a tournament arena shooter. So, that means the question is we’re arguing over is… “What is Quake?”, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. What is Quake? The first thing we have to acknowledge is that Quake has a long history as a franchise. It was the last game John Romero, a founding member of id, worked on before leaving to start his own studio Ion Storm. It was the first Arena shooter yes, well... technically Doom, but Quake popularized it (both id games), but it’s more than just an Arena shooter. Quake 1&2 were both games with a story. A beginning middle and end, but came out at a time where story took a major backseat to the game play. John Carmack, another founder at id software, is quoted as saying, “Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important.”. But make no mistake, there is a lot of character that came out of that backseat story telling. Character Quake 1 & 2 are pretty different from each other both visually and technically, but the core style of gameplay is still all there. Get the key, kill the guys, find the exit and secrets if you can. Since the story telling was told mostly through the visuals and atmosphere, and the the two games were so different, Quake 2 automatically built upon and expanded the already established world of Quake just by being different. The Multiplayer arena modes were just a bonus in those days. Then we have Quake 3: Arena, a multiplayer only game, which popularized the competitive Esports Arena shooter like we think of today, and where most of the argument comes from, but we still got to pick our favorite character skins to play as when we played. And then we also have Quake 4, which came out at a time where story wasn’t so back seat. And lets not forget Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, a multiplayer only game again, but added more character nonetheless. That’s 5 games in total, each very distinct from each other both inside and out. To me that says Quake has a lot of character. Despite that, if you ask someone what Quake is, most will still stay “The original arena shooter”. I think this leaves out a huge portion of Quake’s identity. I like Quake for it’s style, and character as much if not more so for it’s competitive arena roots. This brings me to the main point I want to make about Quake Champions. Yes it’s a little different, but also too is every other Quake game. Yes, the characters have abilities that are, in my opinion, subtle yet impactful to the previously evenly flat playing field. But, also in my opinion, this does nothing but add more character to the Quake universe. If I could make a comparison to another game it’d be Mortal Kombat. No one complains about different fighters having different abilities in a competitive fighting game like MK, and I think it’s because people know and understand that there are different characters for different play styles and personal tastes, and that’s perfectly fine. Mortal Kombat is another one of my favorite game franchises right along side of Quake that I’ve played since I was a kid, and I love them for much of the same reason, their character. They were cool as fuck! To Summarize: Quake is fucking cool! Not just for the game play, tournaments, and LANs, but for it’s character, style, music, and history. Quake Champions builds on that character in big ways through it’s Champion System. I understand why that would turn some fans off, but I’m going to make a statement right here about anyone who says “Quake Champions isn’t Quake.” I don’t think you are actually a fan of Quake, I think you’re only a fan of a small part of it.