XBLA’s Most Wanted: Quake II
Call us nostalgic if you want, but we want yet another Quake game to come to Xbox Live Arcade. We’ve got Quake Arena Arcade, which is an enhanced version of Quake III Arena. We’ve got Quake IV via retail, and we’ve already petitioned id Software for the original Quake on XBLA. Now it’s Quake II‘s turn.
Here’s the thing: it’s already been released on the Xbox 360 once before, in a manner of speaking. It came as a bonus feature with Quake IV. It had the entire game, system link, and four player splitscreen. While it didn’t feature any graphical improvements or Xbox Live support, it was a proper port (read: not emulated) and so gets the ball rolling for an XBLA release.
What should change:
Minor graphical improvements – We’re not talking all out HD-ness here. In fact simple texture updates and some possible character/weapon remodels would be more than enough. Too often we want the world when an old game comes to XBLA, but in reality we need to temper our desires. Spit n’ polish, that’s all it needs–more than that and the port gets expensive, which means it’s less likely to happen. We’ll all be just fine if we don’t get per-pixel lighting, bump and specular maps, that sort of stuff. Some simple hi-res textures and a basic shader system would do a lot for little cost.
Expansions as DLC – Anyone who has played Quake II without playing the two expansions truly isn’t a fan. Both expansions are amazing, with new enemies, weapons, and even new plot elements. They’re not short, either. Nope, these expansions were made back when that meant more than three hours of gameplay.
Xbox Live – It’s obvious, sure. But it needs to be done. And not just a tacked-on Live-only setup. A truly great game has both local and online play; and amazing one can combine the two at any given time. Think about playing deathmatch with 16 players, spread across 6-7 consoles, or four player co-op across three. That’s what Quake II deserves . . . but not what it needs. (Shameless Batman reference)
What should stay the same:
The engine – Yeah, we want a bit of spit and polish, but we don’t want this crazy upgrade to Quake II. It plays great as it is, and doing some engine port or some sort of drastic ‘upgrade’ could ruin what was great. Spit n’ polish, gang. Spit n’ polish. Again, we’re not talking earth-shattering visual upgrades. The classic look is part of makes it great.
The Strogg – They’re like something out of a 1990’s B-movie. They thrive from taking pieces from other species and graft them onto themselves, making ‘better’ soldiers. They’re like the crazy surgical cousins of the Borg from Star Trek. They don’t think about any repercussions, just how to better their own view of perfection.
Why it would succeed:
Quake II is yet another one of those (of many) titles that many of today’s gamers missed out on. Call it a cult classic if you like, but in reality this was one of the top selling games of its time. It’s already been ported to the Xbox 360, so some of the development costs have already been covered. It’s a fairly inexpensive port that could easily merit 800 MSP and another 320-400 per expansion pack.