Get grunting, gibfiends, as Quake Champions [official site] is now in early access. This is id Software taking the vintage mega-fast arena FPS into slightly more modern lands by making it a bit of a ‘hero shooter’ where everyone has special abilities and different stats. (A ‘hero shooter’ is a class-based shooter where character classes have names rather than descriptions and they don’t wear similar uniforms. THAT IS ALL, OKAY.)
While Qamps will be free-to-play when it launches properly, making money by selling access to characters, for now it costs cash. Technically that’s buying the ‘Champions Pack’ pass, which includes access to all current and future characters.
The full launch is expected to come in early 2018. The blurb says, “While we feel we have a great Quake game, we still have more balance, polish, and major features coming online in the next few months.” For now, it has eleven characters, four modes, and eight maps.
The last crack at a free-to-play Quake, 2010’s Quake Live, stopped being free-to-play in 2015. Live was a jazzed-up version of Quake 3, while Champions is trying something new-ish. It’s really just a modernised Future vs. Fantasy Quake though, yeah?
I do often think back to former Quake technomancer John Carmack’s daydream for free-to-play(ish) Quake multiplayer way back in 1996. His idea was to let everyone frag anonymously for free but charge $10 to register a name and access their personal statistics. Games are free but fame and personhood will cost you. Hey, we’d not yet discovered the horrors of being known online. Ultimately, id didn’t go with this plan.
“If it looks feasible, I would like to see internet focused gaming become a justifiable biz direction for us. Its definitely cool, but it is uncertain if people can actually make money at it.”