Activision likes to keep gamers waiting. Admittedly, the publisher of the classics like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Doom 3 and Quake isn’t normally as bad as Valve, which made us wait FIVE (count em) years for Half Life 2, but it has still been three years since Quake IV was first announced.
Praise be then that we’ve finally got something tangible to write about. It may only be one official screenshot and perhaps the most unimportant part of any first person shooter: the story, but we figure it’s better than nothing.
As you can probably see, Quake IV is strongly modelled after Doom 3 (the two use the same engine), but the graphical improvements are still obvious (the slightly camp leather trousers and YMCA pose notwithstanding).
So who remembers Quake III Arena, the last in the Quake series? Yup, it was basically a multiplayer free-for-all. How do you pick up the story from there? Answer is: You Don’t. Instead, Quake IV will begin immediately after the events of Quake II.
At the end of Quake II you single-handedly fended off the armies of Strogg (a weird bio-mechanical alien race) who were invading the Earth. Now Strogg are trying to rebuild their forces and their defences are weak so its time for Earth to go on the offensive and kick their grimy backsides once and for all. Matthew Kane will be the name of your character. He’s an elite member of the Rhino Squad, part of the invasion team.
As the premise suggests, Quake IV will see you fighting alongside a mass of fellow soldiers and promises its usual huge arsenal of weapons and a wide variety of vehicles to drive (no word if any of them will be airborne yet). “It’s a heroic and epic battle between worlds,” boasts Activision. We can but hope…
Quake IV is being developed by Raven, which has proved an able adaptor of ID Software titles in the past (think of Heretic). It also has a much better history of delivering titles on time than the legendary, if mercurial, ID - so fingers crossed for the proposed release date: 2 December.