It feels like first-person shooter video games (a la Call of Duty and Overwatch) have had a big competitive scene around them forever, but their e-sport roots are here in Texas — specifically, with Dallas-Fort Worth game developer Id Software.
While the studio might be more closely associated with Doom, it was Quake that competitive communities really started to build around, leading to the creation of QuakeCon (a gathering of gamers that is now more than 20 years old) and officially sanctioned tournaments. Some of the first "household names" of competitive video games (relatively speaking) like Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel made names for themselves playing Quake.
So it's exciting and nostalgic that Id is going all-in with its upcoming sequel, Quake Champions, and will be hosting a tournament with a $1 million prize pool here in the D-FW area.
Id's parent company, Bethesda, announced at its Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) media briefing on Sunday that qualifier rounds for the "Quake World Championships" will begin this month from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is sign up for the game's closed beta and register for the tournament on the Electronic Sports League (ESL) website.
The tournament will progress through July and August, leading up to the finals at QuakeCon (hosted at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine) Aug. 24-26.
I can tell you from experience that the grand finals Quake tournament matches at QuakeCon stir up a lot of energy and are a blast to watch, so this year's event should be very exciting.
Another bit of Quake Champions news was the announcement of a new character: B.J. Blazkowicz from the Wolfenstein series (another Id Software property). This perfectly foreshadowed the showstopping announcement of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which quickly became one of the most popular video game announcements of E3.
While primarily being developed in Sweden by MachineGames (who also developed the last, well-received Wolfenstein game), The New Colossus is getting development support from Id here in town.
If that wasn't enough Id Software news, Bethesda also announced Doom VFR, a virtual reality Doom game for the HTC Vive on PC and PlayStation VR on PS4. No release date was given, but I played an early proof-of-concept version of Doom in VR at last year's QuakeCon and enjoyed the experience. It seems like this version of Doom won't be as fast-paced (the announcement actually mentions puzzle solving), but it should still prove interesting.
"Since the hallmark of any Doom game is combat, we've made it our top priority to ensure moving, shooting and killing demons with overwhelming force in virtual reality is as brutal and rewarding as it is in the Doom experience that fans have been enjoying for the past year," game director Marty Stratton said in a news release.
"Developing a Doom game specifically for virtual reality has provided an exciting opportunity to not only surround players with the world of Doom like never before, but also let them experience and explore the UAC and Hell in new ways, playing as new characters with totally unique tools and abilities," said Robert Duffy, Id's chief technology officer.
You can probably expect to see at least a small chunk of Doom VFR and Wolfenstein II, as well as a whole lot of Quake Champions, at QuakeCon in August. Admission to the show floor is free.