id Software: A history in games

Again, although Quake III carried on many of the stylistic and mechanical elements of its predecessors it isn't considered a sequel to either game in the franchise because of its focus on multiplayer.

The single-player section of the game offered the same maps and modes as multiplayer, the only difference being that real life opponents were replaced with bots. Although an outsider may have seen this as a step back in the franchise in terms of content, the Quake audience was and still is a multiplayer audience at heart. For them, stripping back Quake only provided a purer medicine for their fragging addiction.

The game was praised by reviewers for its smooth playing, addictive nature and visual prowess thanks to a couple of graphical additions. Quake III saw the introduction of curved surfaces to the series, for example, and was one of the first games to feature separation animation sections for heads, bodies and legs on enemies meaning they could look around. Very handy.

Quake III Arena probably boasts the biggest cult following in the id library today, with many still considering it one of the seminal multiplayer experiences, choosing to return to it over all this fancy new 'Duty Calls' or whatever the kids are playing these days.

Commercially speaking, Doom 3 – a reboot of the franchise - is id Software's most successful title to date.

Reviews were somewhat mixed about how well Doom 3 maintained the core feel and principals of the original Doom duo. Although the game aimed to retell the Doom story it made changes to certain aspects and included cutscenes, giving the player's actions a narrative context.

In terms of feel id toned down the fast-paced and frantic shooting action somewhat in favour of a more tense atmosphere drawing on the game's horror aspect.

Most, however, agreed that the leap forward in graphics compared to id's prior output was undeniable.

The power of John Carmack's id Tech 4 engine is still plain to see at a glance even today. Id had managed to innovate once again with a lighting system that vastly improved visual presentation. Lighting and shadow were unified for the first time and in many cases computed in real-time.

Soon the long wait for id Software's latest offering to the FPS genre will be over with Rage set for release on October 7.

Once again the studio looks set to outdo itself graphically with Rage being the first game to make use of the new id Tech 5 engine.

But there's more. Although shotguns and headshots will be the most anticipated and scrutinised aspect of Rage, id will also use the new title to try its hand at driving mechanics as players are given vehicles to bolt around a pseudo-open world.

More chopping and changing is on the horizon for the father of the modern-day FPS then, and hopefully plenty more innovation as well.

August 15th, 2011

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