A cacophony of energy drink cans being opened in chorus fills the expo hall. “BAWLS” is being yelled so loud you can hear it back home. Journos are panicking about awful Wi-Fi and running to interviews they’re late for. PJs are more common than business attire. Welcome to QuakeCon 2016.
An expo predominantly ‘for the fans’, QuakeCon is Zenimax Media’s annual convention. What began as a celebration of id Software’s Quake has extended to everything Zenimax’s studios create, from DOOM to the Elder Scrolls and everything in between.
The epicentre of QuakeCon every year is its Bring Your Own Computer hall. Considered by many to be the “largest LAN in North America”, punters from all over the country come from near and far to set up their (in some cases extravagant) rigs and simply game for 72 hours. Quite honestly, it’s some of the most beautiful chaos we’ve ever seen.
This year, of course, was no different. 2016 heralded the 21st QuakeCon – held in Dallas, Texas – and with its coming of age came a plethora of news and announcements. The highly-anticipated Prey reboot is definitely something we’re looking forward to, and one the devs stated it is not an open world, but an “open space station” of a title, where every attempt was made to “say ‘yes’ to the player” when it came to choice.
VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines also promised that we aren’t likely to see any sort of television or film adaptations of Bethesda properties, as they just “distract” from the games, adding “we focus on making games. We know who we are.”
And for Dishonored 2, co-creative director at Arkane Studios. Harvey Smith, noted that they paid “a heap of attention” to feedback – from women in particular – following the original, to ensure they could make the best sequel possible.
The entire time you’re at QuakeCon, you never forget it’s an event for the fans. There’s developers and studio luminaries traipsing around the halls scoffing slices of pizza bigger than their heads, prizes, giveaways, exclusive loot you can find only at the show, and footage dropped in the expo hall exclusive to attendees. The atmosphere inside is one of the friendliest and welcoming you can imagine. After all, everyone is there for the same reason: peace, love and rockets.
During our time in Texas, we had the privilege of catching up with Bethesda and id Software royalty. Pete Hines, Harvey Smith, Prey creative director Raf Colantonio, Arkane Studios lead designer Ricardo Bare, DOOM executive producer Marty Stratton, and the prolific studio director at id Software, Tim Willits, were all more than happy to sit down and have a chat about their respective projects and the behemoth that QuakeCon has become. More from them as their respective games hit shelves at JB.
Having experienced the convention and everything it had to offer, from the blood drive to the eSports challenges to the merch to the cosplayers, it’s difficult to accurately describe the essence of QuakeCon. It’s about family, it’s about togetherness, it’s about a fondness for absurdity and a respect for classic video games. Tim Willits said it himself: “If I could describe QuakeCon in one word? Love.”