If there’s one area within gaming that I’m genuinely inclined to be unreasonable to the point irrationality, it’s in the FPS deathmatch games – the Quake III / UT axis. For me Quake III was almost the only game worth playing. Quakeworld was a little too fast, UT too fat and feature-obese, and so on. Quake III was minimalist wonder, and what Id started was finished by the modders who worked on things like OSP, Threewave, and Rocket Arena 3. It’s that last bit that has me the most concerned about Quake Live: Id made a fine game, but it was their community that completed it and honed it to the point of perfection. The browser-based system seems to make that community contribution rather more complex, as everything will have to be mediated by Id.
Nevertheless I am rather excited about Quake Live because it will, at least, give us scope to dust off the old beast and play railguns-‘n’-rockets once again. I don’t suppose I’ll ever recapture the hungry vitality of running a Quake III clan, or playing daily capture-the-flag pickup games with the European hardcore, but it is at least a taste of where gaming might go: works of gaming genius, free in a browser.
The question is: will Battlefield Heroes wipe the floor with Quake Live’s ultra-hardcore skill-neediness? I think it just might.