City of Industy, Calif. Dec. 5, 1997 -- With El Nino poised slightly offshore, id and Activision threw an invitation only premiere bash for Quake II on Friday night and GameSpot News was there to watch as fraggers, media, and business-types got to face each other in the new Quake II arena before it arrives in stores on Tuesday, December 9th.
Set at the SlamSite in the Puerte Hills Mall, 23 miles east of LA, the crowd at the 15,000 foot network gaming center wasn't the normal run of the mill people you usually find at a party. Although it was tough to pick out all of Quake's sacred circle, appearances in the crowd included id's John Carmack, id's Barrett Alexander, and Quake champion Dennis "Thresh" Fong, Kornelia, and KillCreek, and SlamSite founder and CEO Frank Westall.
So what's the early impression of the final copy? Although it was tough to get a seat at the many kiosks around SlamSite, we did take Quake II for a spin. Quake II goes one step ahead of Quake, spins around and nails it to the wall. The lighting in the game (with 3D hardware acceleration) is far above what Quake fans are used to, deathmatching takes on a whole new meaning with players jumping everywhere and new weapons blazing.
The party was hopping, there was a Quake II ice sculpture, a Quake II cake (which was coffee flavored for all you trivia addicts and late night fraggers), and hundreds of Quake II boxes of various sizes everywhere. There were video cameras interviewing people, crowds around Carmack and the sounds of ammo and explosions to add ambiance to the whole scene.
We talked with Vik Long from NEC who was with some folks from Matrox (makers of the new M3D 3D accelerator) who reminded us that PowerVR OpenGL support is also included in Quake II so gamers have a couple of different options of getting OpenGL Quake onto their desktops.
Support for Open GL through OpenGL is also included with the full version of Quake II.
One interesting thing that we did notice about players was that even though Quake II is set to be stronger in the single player experience, people at the booths were all playing deathmatches. It will be interesting to see what gamers will think of the larger and more strategic mission-based single player levels once the title falls into the hands of gamers nationwide.
All in all, It seems that this quiet mall has never seen a group like this one. We spoke to one woman who worked at the Puente Hills Mall and she had figured out a way to get into the party.
Although she wasn't a gamer, she was mezmorized by the game. Mallrats had no idea what was going on until they started seeing boxes of Quake II piling up. Some of the lucky ones got away with the larger boxes.
Get ready. Quake II is going to make some major waves this week - don't get left behind.