XBLA’s Most Wanted: Quake
Before mankind faced its epic struggle with the Strogg in the Quake games II, IV, and Enemy Territory, before there was the deathmatch arena of Quake III, players fought against a hellish enemy force in the original Quake. Unlike so many games of its time, Quake was true 3D. Its predecessor, the Doom series did not feature a true Z axis (up/down).
Even games such as Duke Nukem 3D and Star Wars: Dark Forces featured only a psuedo-3D ability. No, if someone wanted true 3D in 1996, they turned to Quake. And nothing would make gamers of yesteryear more happy than to see the game that spawned a new series for Id Software make a return on XBLA.
What should change:
A touch of HD – There’s a delicate balance here. Porting the entire game to match Quake IV‘s visuals could ruin the gameplay. Not doing enough would leave the game dated. The solution is right in the middle. High-resolution models and textures, a la Perfect Dark on XBLA.
Expansion packs as DLC – Two expansions for the original Quake were released, Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity. Both would be well served as DLC; they each have a new, albeit shorter, campaign and new gameplay elements. Add the sprinkling of HD that the core game receives and these could go for 320MSP each.
Cameo characters – Although this was more prominent starting with Quake II, several non-canon characters were developed by the community for multiplayer. Quake seemed like one of the few games where it wasn’t weird to see Duke Nukem running around, whereas seeing Duke with a lightsaber in Star Wars games just comes off as odd. These cameos could be unlockable or downloadable and could also feature other prominent XBLA heroes and villains. Who wouldn’t want to score some frags as Meat Boy?
Splitscreen and Xbox Live gameplay – Obvious? Sure. It goes without saying that the biggest multiplayer game of its time needs both splitscreen and Xbox Live compatibility; not only that but online should be able to handle any combination of the two. Players should be able to have four consoles in four living rooms around the world duking it out if the occasion arises.
What should stay the same:
The core engine – When appealing to players who are the businessmen and dads of today it’s important to remember that they have a very specific memory of Quake. Additionally porting the whole game to newer technology would likely prove much more expensive and would become borderline feature creep. The original engine would be the only place to build from, as it’s the only thing that provides the original gameplay.
Why it would succeed:
Quake is one of those games that everyone knows. On sheer name alone and priced correctly it can handle itself. Adding a handful of features as listed above would entice new players to the original and bring back those who’ve long moved on from their beloved classic. Unlike the recent port of Quake III to Xbox Live, Quake has more of a general appeal with its campaign. Priced at 800MSP players would find it a bargain, and those responsible for the game would see the success of porting a classic.