E3 06: Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

The multiplayer, team-oriented prequel to the Quake saga was shown to the press Monday morning at a press conference held by Activision. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars tells the story of the Strogg invasion of Earth in 2065, and the human GDF forces brave defense of the planet. Instead of simply painting the same army two different colors, Enemy Territory plans to offer two very different teams fighting each other, with completely different weaponry and unique abilities on each side.

Each map has its own plot and objectives; each player needs only follow an on-screen icon to do their part for the team effort. The developers almost bragged that you didn't really have to know what you were doing to play the game as part of a team; just follow the simple, iconic instructions and you'll be part of the group effort.

Vehicles are all appropriately modeled with realistic handling, so a six-wheel vehicle might have four-wheel steering, while a four-wheeler can pull bitchin' power slides. All vehicles have different camera modes as well as working cockpits, with info on the dash that reflects real-world data. However, it's not all about hiding in the armored vehicles; all objectives require you to be on foot to be completed. Vehicles are extensions of character class and some can go where others cannot (for instance, the Husky ATV bike has its own ramps).

The demo shown featured nine players engaged in very fast combat with surprisingly strong graphics, especially for a game still in alpha. A playable 24-player version is on the show floor; watch for a report from the front lines a little later in the week.

May 11, 2006