Quake 5 Most Wanted Features: Beyond Rage
Quake 5 may be a long time coming, and its release will undoubtedly have to wait. Until then, we can simply speculate on what features it will offer and what we’d like to see in it.
If you aren't like Gameranx' News Editor Ian, through whom all gaming news must eventually pass, like some sort of electronic St. Peter, you may have missed John Carmack dropping tidbits about Quake 5 in an interview with Eurogamer. If you're like me, after you read that article you stood up and did a little happy dance. Maybe it was the Carlton. Maybe it was the Charleston. They both sound the same, so it's your choice.
With John “The Car Mack” Carmack openly talking about a new Quake, I thought I'd pipe up and give Id my obnxious, unsolicited, and probably unwanted, opinion. Here are my most wanted features for Quake 5.
Mr. Carmack, Tear Down This Hall
OK, Id was bought by Zenimax in 2009, who is the parent company for Bethesda Softworks, creators of The Elder Scrolls series. Follow me? Open world, baby! No more corridors! No more long hallways with monster closets! No more confinement by the shackles of the FPS bourgeoisie!
Maybe there can be some kind of crazy designer exchange program, where all the designers from Bethesda just show up at Id's offices in Texas without telling any of the developers. Then, they just start rapid firing crazy e-mails with titles like “Have we considered taking the Oblivion setting, and adding guns?”, “YOU MUST FULFILL THE SPACE-MARINE PROPHECY, ST. SPACE MARINE” or “i herd u guise like mudcrabs”.
Or you know, Id could ask for an adviser from Bethesda, and bring Quake 5 into the modern era by making it an open world game. It's not like there isn't precedent for Id having success with contract work from other companies on the Quake series. Some of you might recall that Threewave Software helped Id put together Quake 3 Arena, arguably the best competitive FPS yet. Quake 5 could be like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but with rocket jumps, and knights and stuff! And, you know, bug-free.
Get back to Quake's roots
Forget about Stroggos. That place has been done to death. Thankfully, Carmack seems to agree. In the aforementioned Eurogamer interview, he says Id is considering taking Quake 5 back to the series' Lovecraftian origins. What's not to like about that? Games like Clive Barker's Undying, and the more recent Amnesia have proven that the setting not only works, but is also fairly malleable – Id will, of course, mix things up as necessary, keeping the game's somewhat unique setting in tact.
Imagine Id's penchant for graphical wizardry combined with the creepiness of the Cthulu mythos: photo-realistic monsters and moody lighting, with a healthy dose of that occult Victorian England feel. Nailguns, corsets, lightning, top hats, cults, tentacles, and rocket jumps. Sweet, sweet rocket jumps! I don't know if I'm scared or excited, but I'd love to see how Id fits Quake's setting into the modern gaming landscape where nearly every FPS is military themed, or post-apocalyptic themed.
One thing I don't want to see is another showcase presenting the different shades of brown that Id's newest engine can render. If that happens, I'll be forced to have a stroke! You guys at Id want that on your conscience? All I'll be able to do is sit at my computer and type away at my bitter, bitter manifestos all day. You better believe I'll be mailing them to you. Ball's in your court, Carmack.
Get Reznor on the phone
I can't be the only dork who thought that the sound effects in Quake were superb. Surely Id can get Trent Reznor back on this project, right? Guys? If Id were the size of a baby when Quake released in 1996, surely they're bigger than a skyscraper by now. So, it only follows that if Reznor worked on the project back in the 90's, Id has the means to lure him back today.
The sound in that game was so distinctive and crisp, that not trying to get Trent back behind the soundboard is practically criminal. Even having not played Quake in a few years, I can still remember the sound of a nail gun firing off, the clong, clong, clong of a bouncing grenade, the gurgled cries of pain when a monster managed to connect with the boxing headgear of our beloved protagonist space marine – all of those sounds are iconic and etched in my lizard brain forever.
Do what you guys gotta do, Id. Just get Trent Reznor working on Quake 5's sound!
Show us something new with the gameplay
It's a tall order, especially in an over-saturated FPS market, but Id has the chops to deliver. OK, Doom 3 wasn't exactly swelling with ground-breaking innovations, but Quake 3 was! As were Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein – and RAGE doesn't look too bad either.
You guys at Id still have the ability. You can still bring that creative spark and turn it into something manageable and marketable. If ever you were going to add something new with the Quake series, now is the time! After all, you're seemingly breaking off from the story in Quake 4 to revisit and evaluate what made the original game so great. Why not go the extra step and give people that same feeling they had when they fired up Quake? The feeling that they're stepping into the future of games, that the bar has been set higher, and there's no going back now.
So, bring us back to those days. Help a new generation of gamers realize why so many of us in our 20s, 30s and beyond drool over any bit of news from Id.
Borrow from Quake 3, liberally
OK, Quake 4's multiplayer borrowed liberally from Quake 3, and it wasn't exactly strong – in fact, it was pretty much universally panned for being too close to Quake 3. But, I think we can all agree there were a lot of small problems that added up, diluting the formula, and ruining a lot of the fun. If the more recent example of Quake Live tells us anything, it's that people are still down with rockets, rail guns, and retro double-jumps.
So, Id, do what Blizzard did. Take the multiplayer from Quake 3, and leave it largely in tact, but add a couple of small twists here and there. This will have two effects. First, it'll keep longtime fans interested. Second, it gives newer players a fighting chance against the people who have seemingly played Quake 3 since the dawn of time. Win-win!
You don't necessarily have to re-invent the wheel here. Just give people a little something to keep their attention. You've got a great opportunity to build on the devoted fanbase you've already made with Quake 3.