What's happened to Id

What's happened to Id?

There was a time when Id software was the epitome of success. And to a large extent it still is, though things have definitely changed since the fledgling company formed by; John Romero, John Carmack, and Tom Hall decided that they wanted to make games that would change the world. The day Id was officially formed was February 1st, 1991 not too much later the team started what would become one of the most influential games in history, that game was called Wolfenstein.

The project was born when the team originally did a game called Catacombs 3D, it was an EGA texture mapped game, that's right, EGA. Soon after they finished with Catacombs did a technological breakthrough called VGA occur, thus was Wolfenstein born.

The Wolfenstein project did not even become known to be Wolfenstein until late in development. It was, in the document stages, "It's Green and Pissed", but the team thought that title to be "too trite and hackneyed.", and John Romero said "I'd always loved that old Castle Wolfenstein game on Apple II, and so I said, "Hey, we could do it in 3D." "

This seemed to be a promising beginning for a young, full of energy, development team. And it was a beginning. Soon after, we all know what came next, Doom, which was curtly followed by Doom II, Heretic, Hexen, and countless add-ons for all three games. But something happened before Doom was finished, Tom Hall left Id because of 'creative differences'. This was the beginning...of the end.

What came next we all know, Quake, the game that was supposed to "change the face of gaming as we know it", surely with this 'awe-inspiring' technology Id must be as strong as ever right? Wrong. don't get me wrong I feel Quake technology is the most powerful on the market so far, and in the past 2 years we have seen a lot of supposed "Quake Killers" but none of them have fit the bill. What happened with Quake is a bit of an anomaly, by all means this game is very good, but in John Romero's eyes, not good enough. This is not his fault, and he say's it best "The project was taking too long, and everybody wanted to fall back on the safe thing-- the formula." That is, Quake technology is very good, Quake the game is not. I know I am not the only one who thinks this, the single-player game for Quake is wretched, the only joy you can garner from the game is a multi-player deathmatch, or editing your own level's with your own character editor etc...etc... Quake is the perfect example when things get focused in the wrong direction, in this case, thing's got focused at the technology and not the game. John Romero did not like this, which is why he left Id to form Ion Storm with Tom Hall who had been at Apogee after leaving Id. Which is why look forward to Daikatana much more than Quake 2, Hexen 2, or any other game (except maybe Unreal and WoT of course.) I hope Id can recover from Quake and make a good game this time, or I fear John Carmack may wake up and take a look at who is really running Id. The Suits, the guy's in marketing, and the guy's who claim that Quake is the be-all end-all game it definitely was'nt. (not to name names but (Brian Hook).

--Seth Krieg

(John Romero quotes taken from Next-Generation issue 30.)

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