Sitting at the intersection of several of my interests is Ghosts I-IV for Quake, a new mod which turns id Software’s gibtastic first-person shooter into a quiet walking simulator and couples it with a calmer soundtrack. While Quake’s original 1996 soundtrack is an industrial dirge by the popular beat combo Trent Reznor & The Nine Inchnails, this mod replaces it with tunes from their chilled-out 2008 album Ghosts I-IV – which is legally fine to include, thanks to its Creative Commons licensing. The mod is organised by JP LeBreton, a designer and level designer who worked on the first two BioShock games and has developed quite an interest in peacefully exploring seminal FPSs.
As LeBreton explains on the mod’s Itch page:
“This mod re-scores Quake using every track from the 2008 Nine Inch Nails ambient/instrumental album “Ghosts I-IV”, and puts the game into a “tourism mode” where there are no enemies, weapons, and the player can’t take damage.”
It also rolls in a version of the level Dismal Oubliette including the original opening which Quake mapper John Romero needed to cut out the launch version but later released separately.
In short, it’s a Quake that’s retooled to be nice to potter about. Quake as a whole is incoherent and largely brown (I quite like its exploration of browns and blues), sure, but it does have some interesting places and architecture. I don’t know Ghosts I-IV but, from what I’ve played of this, the pairing can be quite nice.
LeBreton has previously released tourism mods for games including Unreal, Deus Ex, and Thief, as well as a simpler one for Quake. He also keeps a game tourism page listing mods and instructions to make other 90s FPSs–and their modern descendants–safe to wander around.
Or if you’d rather Ghosts I-IV were paired with all the fragging and gibbing of Quake’s original campaign, hey, LeBreton explains how to disable tourism too. He also details how to change which song plays on which level, if you fancy a fiddle.
Oh, and as a Quake purist, I’d strongly recommend you pop open the console and enter
GL_TEXTUREMODE GL_NEAREST to disable the blurry texture filtering that ruins Quake’s true grit. I’ve come to physical blows with our Alec over this.
I have just remembered that the first issue of cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer I ever read ended with a page-long deadpan joke about an official Christmas Quake mod which included NIN remixes of Christmas carols. Not knowing the tradition of back page jokes, and being very trusting, I looked for this mod for ages. What rotters! This was before they replaced that back page feature with the month’s horoscopes for every RPS staffer, of course.
[Disclosure: I vaguely know LeBreton a bit? We met at a barbecue years back? idk man, I haven’t sent him a Christmas card.]