But is a new free-to-play 'Quake' what fans really want?
Quake Champions, the new take on the classic arena shooter series, just welcomed an old fan favorite back to the game. Ranger has been with the series since the original Quake in 1996, even if he didn't get an actual name until Quake 3 Arena in 1999.
Back in 1996 Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor provided the voice for Ranger, this time around it's Jim Ward of Resident Evil 4 and Ratchet and Clank. He's a big deal in Quake Champions because he's the only champion available to players who want to try the game out for free. To unlock the others like Nyx will only be available permanently to players who stump up for the 'Champion Pack'.
"The return of the Ranger in Quake Champions (at least for me) really felt welcomed and appreciated," says Quake expert, longtime fan and admin of community site QuakeOne, Jeremy Womack. "I’ve always had a soft spot for the Quake Ranger – more so than say the Doom Guy, Serious Sam, Duke Nuke’em, Gordon Freeman – as he’s one of the most shrouded in mystery protagonists I’ve come across. On top of being one of the more brutal protagonist who solved puzzles by shooting them into submission."
After being a Quake fan since the original and recently playing the game's closed beta Womack is less pleased about the new free-to-play style business model that the game has adopted. "I am pretty disappointed that Quake Champions has depleted the Quake franchise to what almost could be compared to as a MOBA with included microtransactions," he says. "The weapons didn’t feel like they kicked, the sound effects felt homemade and the graphics – while amazing – did not quite fit my expectation of what a true return to form would look like and ultimately suffers from 'Skyrim with guns' syndrome for me, though I love Skyrim and actually purchased it twice."
Womack accepts that the free-to-play setup will be useful in attracting new players, he's just not sure they'll be the right type of player. "As for a livelier community, sure I guess, not an interesting one though I thin. More like a 'I’m only here because I sank $200 pimping out my champion' type community."
He's hopeful Quake Champions is ultimately a stepping stone for a new Quake launch. "As Quake Champions is now (in beta) and probably not going to change wildly from what’s been put up for play I have to say the microtransactions are going to possibly be the sole reason this game doesn’t get a hardcore almost religious following as we’ve seen in the past," he says. "Create something good and the playerbase will come to you and provide for the game with mods and fan base… Make someone pay and they’ll stay out of commitment, like a job."
Quake Champions will be released for PC only later this year.