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Quake Champions: id’s Tim Willits on why id Tech 5 and Saber Interactive are a perfect fit

Speaking with Stevivor at Gamescom, id Software’s Tim Willits explained why Quake Champions elected for the id Tech 5 engine, coupled with Saber Interactive’s own internal tech, rather than the state of the art id Tech 6.

“It’s part id Tech and part Saber Tech,” Willits explained of Champions‘ innards. “The first thing that we wanted — the thing that we needed – was to make sure that we get that Quake Champions feels like a great game.”

That meant id Tech 6, the engine used for the multi-platform Doom, wasn’t what Willits was looking for.

“The only way to make it feel like a great game is to use part of id tech. It’s not id tech 6 because we are focused on just the PC.

“The important part is that it is a co-developed game using part id tech, part Saber tech, and we’re going to make the best PC game ever,” he continued.

Saber Interactive, best known for ports — Halo: Anniversary on Xbox 360 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One — was not only a good fit for its tech, but for its mentality, Willits said.

“Back when we were working, when I was pitching the idea and we were looking at whether or not we should expand Quake Live or do something new. We had talked to a number of developers because we of course have more IPs than people, which is a very good problem to have.

“What they came up with was shockingly similar to what we wanted to do,” he said of Saber. “They loved the original Quake 1 mythos and style and theme, the Lovecraftian game feel. They wanted to take individual characters farther as well, so we were like, ‘This is a great fit.’”

Partner choice was incredibly important to Willits, and an office in Russia only helped Saber’s chances.

“If you are not fundamentally in line with a partner it’s going to be a problem. They see the same thing that we see. Plus the Russians love Quake — they are crazy Quake fans,” he said. “When you go from Germany, east, it is Quake land. Even some of the things that I suggested early on, they were like, ‘We can’t do that!’

“They live and breathe Quake still. In fact, in Germany we have more Quake Live servers running in than we do in North America. It was a really good fit.”

The PC-only Quake Champions is expected in 2018.

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for close to fifteen years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.