QuakeCon is an annual convention held by the Bethesda family of game development studios in Dallas, Texas. Originally created to showcase a massive tournament for the best competitive Quake players, in recent years it’s evolved into a kind of mini-E3 for Bethesda, where they show off new reveals, demos and trailers to closed-door-invite-only audiences in addition to the tournament that’s the centrepiece of the show.
I’ve traditionally not covered QuakeCon, and that’s for a variety of reasons. Primarily of course there’s the fact that it is largely invite-only, and there’s obviously a fat chance I’d ever be invited anywhere by game industry professionals. Also, I tend to focus my game journalism energies, such as they are, on the big E3 show in June. But times are changing, and now it seems a lot of companies like having their own events scattered throughout the year catering to their specific fanbases as opposed to putting all of their eggs in the E3 basket. QuakeCon has become that event for Bethesda, and since Bethesda has become one of the only two companies in the video game industry I actually care about anymore, this year I decided to pay closer attention to what was going on in Dallas. Indeed, Bethesda made no attempt to hide QuakeCon’s central focus at their E3 press conference this year, repeatedly saying they’d have considerably more details to share about their reveals at that show.
(Incidentally, speaking of that other video game company what I give a damn about, just as I was about to go to press it was reported that Pete Hines told reporters that Bethesda is in touch with Nintendo “all the time”, is “well briefed” on what’s going on with their new console, codenamed NX, and that “our philosophy is that we will put our games out on any format that supports the games as we envisage and make them. If the NX fits that from a technical standpoint, and fits the game that a developer in our stable is making, I don’t see why we would not put it out on NX. But it’s too early to say, ‘we’ll definitely be putting games out or not.’ Like with mobile, we want to have the right fit for the right formats”. So that made me exceedingly happy.)
This year’s QuakeCon took place between August 4 and 7, and while there’s no way I was ever flying to Texas, I kept a close eye on my newsfeed and Bethesda’s own blog this past week to keep track of the show’s progress and watching any trailers or other videos released to the public. As is Bethesda’s way, the emphasis was on quality over quantity, making a handful of announcements and showing a smattering of new footage from their current and upcoming games, but spent a lot of time talking about the core design philosophy and ethos that went into them to give us a good idea of a game’s feel and spirit, which I happen to find incredibly commendable.…