Daniel Wilks shakes the dust off his shootin' mouse one more time...
When Quake Champions, the first game in the venerable shooter franchise since 2005’s decidedly average Quake 4, was first announced fans were a little sceptical. Not only was the game coming a decade after the franchise essentially died, it was also announced that for the first time in the series, each character would have unique abilities. This may not sound like a big deal, but given the fact that Quake multiplayer has always been about speed and player skill with all the characters being nothing other than reskins of a base model, it’s quite a large thing to fans of the franchise to accept.
Luckily there is a workaround for purists. Tim Willits, Creative Director for id Software has stated that through custom games players will be able to turn off the champion abilities, turning the game into an experience akin to Quake 3 Arena. That said, from all evidence it would be hard to call Quake Champions a hero shooter in the vein of Overwatch, as each character only has one ability that has been described by the developers as being “additive” rather than transformative. If these abilities just add a little flavour to characters but don’t affect game balance there should be no reason to turn them off.
So far only a few characters and abilities have been revealed and they definitely sound interesting but, with the exception of two, don’t sound particularly game changing. Ranger has a throwable teleporter that he can teleport to as long as it’s still in flight. Visor can see through walls for a short time. Scalebearer can charge to close distance quickly. These three sound fine but the two others that have been revealed sound a little overpowered at the moment. Nyx can temporarily turn invisible and Anarki rides a hoverboard that appears to make him faster than any of the other characters. Of course, the effect these abilities may have on gameplay is conjecture at the moment – the game doesn’t go into beta until early 2017.
Quibbles about unique characters aside, Quake Champions looks like everything you’d want a Quake game to be. The movement appears to be extremely fast, there are no limits to the amount of guns a player can pick up, there are no between round shops or loadouts, it has been designed especially with competitive esports in mind and, most importantly, rocket jumping is definitely a thing.
On a technical level, Quake Champions should definitely impress as well. Not only does it look great, it has been designed with an entirely unlocked framerate, so if your machine is beefy enough and you have a 120Hz monitor, you can run the game at your native framerate for the fastest, smoothest shooting experience this side of Quake 3 Arena.
There is no set release date for Quake Champions as yet, with the aforementioned beta still a ways off, but we do know that it will be launching with 12 characters and will keep introducing as the months go by. We also don’t know if the business model will be free-to-play or retail or even possibly subscription based. Whatever the case, fingers crossed it’s good – we long to resurrect the age old Next Media tradition of ending the day at Quake O’Clock.
Champions lacks Quake III's vibrant cartoonishness, going instead for a slightly more "realistic" aesthetic