One of the most popular First Person Shooter franchises around, Quake is returning to our PCs this year after an agonizing 15 year wait with Quake: Champions. The series has attracted a massive cult following over its 21 year lifespan, and the combination of high quality arena-style gameplay and working with top pro players to optimize playability during development could be a recipe for a serious contender for a top spot in the e sports market. Today we’re taking a look at Quake: Champions and discussing why it might overtake CS:GO as the world’s most popular FPS esport.
What Is Quake: Champions?
Quake: Champions is the fifth and latest major installment in the cult-classic Quake series, produced by id Software. It takes the form of an old school sci-fi themed arena shooter, in the same vein as the Unreal Tournament franchise. The storylines of the Quake games vary wildly from title to title, so its anyone’s guess as to what the content will be there. What we have seen is a few champion and arena trailers, which look exactly as you’d imagine them to and an announcement that the game will feature a wide variety of playable characters, with different attributes and special abilities to mix up gameplay.
Quake: Champions Release Date
Quake: Champions is currently in closed beta testing, but we should be looking at a release some time later in 2017.
Why Could Quake:Champions Become An Esport?
Quake:Champions poses interesting questions for the esports market due to a combination of factors, which we’l term game style, following and development.
- Game Style – The FPS market today is a lot different to the market in Quake 4’s day; gargantuan franchises like CoD, Battlefield and Halo saturate the market with annual updates that seem to remove players further and further from core gameplay mechanics and instead focus on gimmicks and power-ups which destroy a fair and competitive environment. The beauty of Quake is that they’re keeping it simple and going back to an arena-style shooter which allows that competitive gaming based on skill to manifest itself. There are some questions about mismatches involving the different character special abilities, but we trust that id will be focusing on carefully balancing these aspects during the beta phase.
- Following – Quake also had a large and committed fan-base with an existing level of expertise in the games. 2007’s Quake: Live still maintains an active user base, with community-hosted servers giving potential for an excellent level of competitive play on the new game’s release. This following also gives potential for a revenue source. We’ve already seen the power of crowdfunding coming from the Dota2 fan-base, which encourages dedication from players and competition. It begs the question, could Quake use its fanbase to achieve something similar?
- Development – As we mentioned above, id Software have worked in tandem with some of Quake’s most accomplished pro gamers in the alpha testing stage to work out bugs and to optimise the competitive playability of the new game. In a recent interview with Red Bull, creative director Tim Willets also spoke about his desire to take the game into an esports sphere. It certainly gives the impression that the game will be geared towards competitive play.
So, will Quake: Champions be the next big esport? It’s a difficult question; the good news is that everything is in place for it to happen – a committed fanbase, a game style conducive to real competition and a real effort during development to make the new title esports ready. The question that needs to be answered though is whether the new Champions feature will act in sync with the game or whether it’ll introduce too great an element of luck into the game.