You may recall that in Doom and Doom 2, multiplayer matches took place in standard campaign maps. In other words, deathmatch had no maps designed especially for PvP skirmishes. It seems unthinkable now, because nowadays multiplayer maps are a fine art of their own (though plenty of level creators ended up making special deathmatch maps for Doom anyway). 

With Quake, id Software started adding multiplayer maps of their own, and in a recent interview with PCGamesN, Tim Willits made the claim that it was his idea. Explaining how he wanted to use remaining map fragments from single-player levels to adapt for multiplayer, Willits claimed his idea was roundly mocked.

"They [John Romero and John Carmack] both said that was the stupidest idea they'd ever heard. Why would you make a map you only play multiplayer when you can play multiplayer in single-player maps? So I said 'No, no, no, let me see what I can do.' And that's how multiplayer maps were started. True story." 

But is it true? Apparently not, according to other id Software veterans including Romero, Tom Hall and American McGee. The former wrote a lengthy blogpost on the matter, specifically denying the exchange between Willits, himself and Carmack ever happened.

"This never happened (Carmack verified this to ShackNews)," Romero writes. "In fact, we had been playing multiplayer-only maps in DOOM for years already. There had been hundreds of maps that the DOOM mapping community had made only for deathmatch by that time. DWANGO was a multiplayer-only service that had many multiplayer-only maps that are legendary today. 

"American McGee even released a multiplayer-only map in November 1994 named IDMAP01. The incredible DOOM community invented the idea of designing maps only for multiplayer mode, and they deserve the credit. The game owes so much to them."

It's worth reading all of Romero's post for the nitty-gritty, where he also discredits Willits' claim that he had designed the first episode of Quake (it was a collaboration, with Willits designing less than half of the maps). He also points out that other FPS games, such as Rise of the Triad, had featured bundled multiplayer-only maps before Quake did.

Whatever the case, American McGee denied Willits claims on Twitter, and Carmack confirmed with ShackNews that he doesn't remember the conversation happening. We'll update this story when (or if) Willits responds.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Earlier this week, Larian Studios released a lovely new trailer for Divinity: Original Sin 2 that, among other things, suggested that the game's final playable race would be the Undead. In a developer update video released today, the studio made it official, revealing the Undead race, a new origin character named Fane, and the very impressive-looking Collector's Edition box. 

Undead characters feature some "fundamentally different gameplay mechanics" than the other races in Divinity: Original Sin 2—they're healed with poison, for instance (regular healing potions damage them) and can pick locks with their fingers—and while any race (Human, Elf, Dwarf, or Lizard) can be played as Undead, they'll have unique undead abilities and traits, rather than those of their former life. They must also disguise their true form in order to keep NPCs from fleeing or attacking them, either with helmets and clothing, or more effectively with a magical item called Mask of the Shapeshifter.   

The device creates masks that enable Undead characters to assume the appearance and racial abilities of any race in the game—a Dwarf can get better prices from a Dwarf merchant, for instance—and multiple masks can be created, and even used by characters who are still living. But there's a catch: To create a mask, you'll have to literally rip the faces off of fresh corpses. The potential complications involved in that process are, I would think, readily self-evident. 

Fane, the new Undead origin character, was a scholar who was entombed centuries ago by his elders for pursuing forbidden knowledge. The character and his origin story were created in collaboration with Chris Avellone, whose participation in the game was announced as a sort of unofficial stretch goal in 2015.

Fane also features prominently in the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Collector's Edition announced today, as a ten-inch-tall statue with a swappable Shapeshifter Mask and skull. The CE also features a big lore book, an equally large art book, instruction manual, a cloth map, and a commemorative metal plate for Kickstarter backers. Only 1000 are available, and as you might expect, they're not cheap: They go for $169 plus shipping at divinity.game. Divinity: Original Sin 2 will be out on September 14.

Fallout 4

Bethesda's Creation Club FAQ asks itself "Is Creation Club paid mods?" It also answers itself: No. In related news, today I paid for $15 worth of mods from the not-paid-mods Creation Club store to try them out.

Okay, fine, I know what Bethesda is trying to say. They have hired modders to be creators of new content, and since they don't call the creations mods, they don't have to cop to being a paid mods system. Either way, I'm mostly okay with it: modders are getting paid, and there's not a fusion gun being held to anyone's head forcing them to buy anything. I still think the mods—er, creations—should be free for players, since new content (such as free mods) extends the life of games, thus keeping older games relevant, thus leading to future sales.

Moving on. My first little gripe is that you can only shop in the Club store while in-game, which I sort of don't like, especially since when you buy something, you need to restart the game to update the data file anyway. Call me old fashioned, but when I shop for futuristic guns for my virtual character to shoot mutants in the face with, I prefer to do it in a web browser.

Another gripe, and this one is substantially bigger: I don't see a way for customers to rate the Creation Club mods—sorry, content—they've purchased. Bethesda's free mod library allows for ratings from 1 to 5 stars. Creation Club, as far as I can tell, does not. That feature needs to be added post-haste. Call them mods, don't call them mods, but let players tell each other if they like them or not.

There's currently not much to choose from in Fallout 4's Creation Club. There are two guns, a couple sets of power armor, a nice-looking customizable backpack, some Pip-Boy skins, a little cross-promotion action with a Morgan Yu outfit from Prey, and a pretty big set of modern furniture you can use in your settlements.

Bethesda has given everyone 100 credits to use in the Club, but there are no items that cost 100 credits. Pip-Boy skins cost 50 a pop, and everything else starts at more than a hundred Bethbux, so you can either buy two skins or kick in some real cash for something more. I threw down $15 on Steam, which gave me 1,500 credits. You can also buy 750 for $8, 3,000 for $25, or 5,500 for $40.

While browsing, I read that some of the items are acquired not just by paying for them but by completing a quest. I kind of hate when you download a mod or pay for an item and your character doesn't just materialize in the game holding it (unless the new content is a quest itself). In this case, the item having a quest attached feels like a bonus: you're not just getting a new item, but an adventure that leads to the new item.

Thing is, what Bethesda is calling a quest isn't really a quest, at least in terms of new content or a selling point. I bought the gauss rifle from the store, and the 'quest' was just a Pipboy notification that the rifle was located inside an existing building filled with Gunners. I followed the marker on the map, killed a bunch of jerks, took their big-ass gun, and used it to kill the rest of them.

On the plus side, it's a nice big-ass gun, and the handmade shotgun I purchased is also decent, though I already have a really nasty shotgun that it will never replace. The power armor I bought is also pretty attractive, and its 'quest' was similar: follow a map marker to the angry man wearing the armor (he wasn't even in a building, just standing around waiting to die) and kill him to death.

The backpack is really cool, with the added bonus of not having to fast-travel somewhere to kill someone for it. It's customizable at a crafting station, and has several different styles that can be crafted and applied to it, each which give you a different type of buff. Below I'm modeling some urban camo, a Nuka-Cola emblem, and a survivor style (gas mask, knife, cooking pot) with a bedroll hanging from it.

The furniture pack looks pretty attractive too, though I didn't buy it, instead opting for some Pip-Boy skins which I sort of regret because they're not that great. Everything else I like—none of it is especially thrilling, but I enjoy collecting power armor sets, I'll definitely take the backpack with me from now on, and the gauss rifle is nice addition to my arsenal.

Is it worth the $15 I spent? I'm going to have to say no. I've just been spoiled by all the wonderful and creative free Fallout 4 mods (that everyone can comfortably call mods). I'm happy Bethesda is paying modders directly, and they're making some nice stuff, but at the moment the Creation Club isn't offering a heck of a lot worth paying for.

Pathologic 2

Pathologic is a first-person psychological horror-adventure survival RPG sort of thing—it's hard to nail it down, really—that was originally released in 2005 by Russian indie studio Ice-Pick Lodge. It was intensely, impenetrably weird, as Phil noted a few years back when the studio launched a Kickstarter campaign for a remake, an effort that proved hugely successful. But then the studio opted to update and re-release the original game as Pathologic Classic HD, while still remaking the original. 

The thinking behind the simultaneous remaster and remake is that the "new" Pathologic will be "reconstructed" in various ways, while the Classic HD version will give people the opportunity to experience the original weirdness, untouched but for better graphics and a proper English translation. Which is a fine idea, but also one that opens the door to potential confusion. To avoid all that publisher TinyBuild announced today that the remake has been renamed to Pathologic 2. 

The updated game description on Steam sounds innocuous enough: "Pathologic 2 is an Open World Survival Horror game where you fight  against a devastating plague. As the only medic around, save the town  before it’s fully consumed." But there's a catch: You only have 12 days to do what needs to be done, whatever that is, and you'll have to eat, drink, and sleep while you do—all while avoiding the plague yourself.

The new gameplay trailer released today cuts a little deeper into what Pathologic is really like, especially once it gets rolling, with the plague doctor-looking thing, and the guys with the faces, and the autopsy of the dead child—which isn't at all graphic, but still far from the sort of thing you're going to see in the next Bethesda mega-hit. 

TinyBuild also said that it's "working with the team at Ice-Pick Lodge to switch development to a more open approach." That means, among other things, that alpha builds will soon be going out to Kickstarter backers and other supporters, so the studio can "gather feedback from fans, and adjust the direction of development based on this feedback." The gameplay seen in the trailer comes from the demo built for PAX West, which begins tomorrow; TinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik said that if it goes over well, it will be released to backers sometime after PAX. 


Total War: Warhammer 2 is still a month away from release, but has nonetheless already become "the most preordered Total War game to date," developer Creative Assembly announced today. More usefully, it also revealed details about the sort of hardware you'll need to actually run it.   

To the numbers! 

Minimum (Expected around 25-35 FPS on campaign map and in a 1v1, 20 units vs 20 units battle, default graphics preset set to “Low”, running at 1280×720): 

  • Operating System: Windows 7 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0Ghz
  • RAM: 4GB/5GB*
  • Install size: 60 GB
  • Video Card: Nvidia GTX 460 1GB | AMD Radeon HD 5770 1GB | Intel HD4000 @ 720p (*PC integrated graphics chipsets, e.g. Intel HD series, will require 5GB system RAM)

Recommended (Expected around 45-55 FPS on campaign map and in a 1v1, 20 units vs 20 units battle, default graphics preset set to “High”, running at 1920×1080):

  • Operating System: Windows 7/8.1/10 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4570 3.20GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Install size: 60 GB
  • Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 2GB | AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB @1080P

60+ fps (Expected 60 FPS+ on campaign map and in a 1v1, 20 units vs 20 units battle, default graphics preset set to “Ultra”, running at 1920×1080):

  • Operating System: Windows 7/8.1/10 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Install size: 60 GB
  • Video Card: Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB

Playing at the minimum spec doesn't sound like it'll be the greatest gaming experience of all time, but there will be a good range of individual graphical settings to play with so you'll be able to balance visual fidelity and performance as you see fit. Creative Assembly also pointed out, in case you weren't aware, that "all systems perform differently," and that all of the above "should be taken as a guide rather than an absolute." And even though Warhammer 2 is now very close to release, it is still undergoing optimizations and the specs are thus subject to change.

Total War: Warhammer 2 is set to come out on September 28. To absolutely nobody's surprise, the verminous Skaven were recently confirmed as the game's fourth race, joining the High Elves, Dark Elves, and Lizardmen. They sound wholly unpleasant.

Grand Theft Auto V

While Rockstar hasn't billed the new Motor Wars adversary mode in GTA Online as their take on battle royale, it definitely has some of the same ingredients: 4-28 players jump from a Cargobob helicopter in up to four teams, landing on a shrinking kill space that has weapons and armoured vehicles up for grabs. Everyone has one life. It's not quite GTA Online's version of PUBG, if that's what you were hoping for, but it's a fun knockabout vehicle combat mode, despite a few minor issues.

Rockstar has called Motor Wars a marriage of its existing Drop Zone and Penned In modes, and that's pretty accurate. Arriving from the sky, you're shown the locations of weapons and vehicles on the map (a significant difference from PUBG), so you can figure out the best region for your team to land. When you're not in a vehicle, you're invisible on the map. Once you're driving one, a moving icon shows up with the colour of your team, flagging your location to enemies. 

It's a mode about everyone piling into the best military vehicles possible, rather than sniping or stealth. But some of the same strategies from PUBG can apply—cowardice can often get your team to at least second place while you skirt the perimeter of the playing area, avoiding firefights—and GTA's systems add their own humour, like when teammates brain themselves while trying to parachute gracefully to the ground (this usually happens to at least one person per game). 

It reminded me of piling into a Warthog in the original Halo's Blood Gulch map and tumbling over the horizon towards the enemy.

You're not playing in the entirety of Los Santos, sadly, but in truncated little pockets of the landmass that have been cleared out for this mode. The maps based in the empty city are my favourites, since it's a nice and eerie space to be in while you're waiting for an enemy jeep to speed round the corner as you're sat on a turret.

Rounds last for no more than ten minutes, and you can play one round to win or two. Giving players this choice was an error, I think—Motor Wars should be a one-round mode, for a few reasons. If your team is the first to be eliminated in round one, it's not uncommon for people to just drop out, treating it like they're playing PUBG and leaving the rest of you to it. The host can set the game to auto-balance the team numbers if this happens, but this can be flawed depending on how many players are left: if every other team starts with four players and you have three, that puts you at an obvious disadvantage when the best armoured vehicles require two players to operate them effectively (one on the turret and one in the driver's seat).

Then there's the waiting. GTA Online's matchmaking always feels a bit sluggish to me, but it's the inconsistent pauses between rounds that I found a bit maddening here. In the second round of one game, the camera hung on the cargobob for over three minutes before the round began. During that time, my entire team left the game except me, leaving me to face a round alone against one team of four and another of two (I didn't win that one, unsurprisingly). If Motor Wars was a mandatory one-round mode, this wouldn't be a problem. 

That was a one-off, but I still had a couple of occasions where there there was a momentum-killing pause of just under a minute between rounds. It's tons better when the game's over after ten minutes or less. 

Shrinking city

The shrinking playing space works pretty well here, even if the maps are so small that you won't spend loads of time worrying about being outside of it. Motor Wars does spotlight how great GTA's vehicle combat can be, and it often reminded me of piling into a Warthog in the original Halo's Blood Gulch map and tumbling over the horizon towards the enemy. Team strategies actually work. Once everyone knows what the best vehicles are and you can co-ordinate attacks on individual enemy cars, you start to get a handle on how to win. Going it alone gets you nowhere here. 

I can't see myself playing hours more of Motor Wars, but if you're keen to see some of the basic elements of battle royale applied to GTA, it's definitely worth seeing the result. My guess is that this won't be Rockstar's only effort at this type of mode, and that a solo-focused version of is on the cards as well. Modes like Overtime Rumble and Overtime Shootout show how Rockstar is willing to experiment to get the best possible version out of a format, and I can see this being enormously popular just for its surface-level similarities to PUBG. 

I'd still love to see a 100-person version set on the entirety of Los Santos, with randomly placed vehicles and weapons that don't show up on the map, if such a thing is even possible on a technical level in GTA Online. Motor Wars gives you just a taste of what that might be like, but there's a lot of lingering potential here.

Kentucky Route Zero

When I asked Cardboard Computer's Jake Elliott how Kentucky Route Zero's development was going earlier this year he told me: "Yeah, we're definitely still working on the game. More soon, this will be a busy summer yet." The developer has now confirmed its fifth and final act is due early next year. 

The announcement was made as part of Nintendo's 'Nindies' event, which showcased the indie games heading to its Switch console from hereon. A so-called "TV Edition" of KRZ will include all five acts alongside their interlude entries—all of which will be fed back into the PC variation. 

I'm not sure if the following constitutes a teaser in that very little is teased, however here's the Switch's TV Edition reveal trailer: 

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Kentucky Route Zero, thus the idea of tying up all of its loose ends excites me. I especially loved the way Act 4 shifted gears, taking on a more contemplative tone against its forerunners. That said, number five will almost certainly up the ante as it arrives at whatever undoubtedly off-the-wall conclusions it has in mind.  

No hard launch date just yet, however Kentucky Route Zero's Act 5 is due in early 2018. 

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Last week, Life is Strange: Before the Storm launched a typically moody and at times angry launch trailer. It's out today and, in what seems like a bid to soften the blow, has dropped a heart-wrenching short designed to underscore the value of friendship. 

"'An Open Letter' has been created to reflect the strong themes of friendship, love and support in the game," so reads a statement from publisher Square Enix. 

Seriously, it's a tear-jerker. See how you can last without welling up:  

Again, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is out later today. If you fancy reading about it in the meantime, check out James' early impressions over here


There is a high school reunion backstage at QuakeCon. The silver pots of catered food delivered by the towering Gaylord Texan above keeps everyone buoyant, and occasionally a good samaritan wanders in with a short pyramid of Domino’s pizzas. The casters are hard at work on the corner of the stage, and the on-deck circle is filled with whirring computers hardwired to LAN cable for any enterprising team looking to get a few more reps in before showtime. For the most part, the Quakers are relaxed. There is laughter and shit-talk, and enveloping bear-hugs offered between friends who haven’t seen each other in far too long. 

In recent years, fans of the mercurial Quake franchise haven’t had much reason to play outside of id Software’s yearly love letter to the franchise, but the upper echelon of the scene remains sturdy. Tim “DaHanG” Fogarty and Andrew “id_” Trulli are both in their late-20s and play for Team Liquid’s Overwatch squad—but they’ve each taken a respite from that game to form a (slightly impromptu) team for this year’s Quake Champions tournament. The lithe Shane “Rapha” Hendrixson is here—since 2008 he’s traded titles in the 1v1 dueling bracket against Alexey “Cypher” Yanushevsky. He’s entering this year’s show defending championships from both 2015 and 2016. 

I spot Sander “Vo0” Kaasjager sequestered away from the rest of the crowd, playing endless deathmatches to keep himself frosty. In his jersey and trademark gamer grimace, he doesn’t look much different from the man who famously lost to Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel in the grand finals of the 2005 Cyberathlete World Tour in what was then the biggest prize pool in the history of competitive gaming. Together, they represent the first generation of esports—the first men who dared to make a living playing video games. The world has passed them by, but they’re not leaving without a fight.

“I started playing Quake in 2001, I’ve known some of these guys for 10 years,” says id_ backstage with a tub of lunch in his hands. “Quake has a longstanding community for over a decade, and those players will always come out of the woodwork to compete. Not just for money, but for the pride and the title, that’s something that Quakers live for.”

Quake reborn

The QuakeCon tournament, which previously focused on minor bounties in stale Quake Live brackets, now features a million-dollar Champions prizepool.

For the past seven years, the Quake game de jure was Quake Live, the still-active browser emulation of the legendary Quake III: Arena. It served as the franchise’s testament and tomb. There hadn’t been a new Quake game since 2005’s middling Quake 4, and as the esports industry hit its tipping point, id software instead chose to focus on their single-player ambitions with the ambitious Rage and the long-gestating Doom reboot. The cadre of Quake pros still showed up to QuakeCon every year to reignite old rivalries, but there wasn’t much to play for beyond that.

However, the mood is different this year. For the first time in forever, QuakeCon is headlined by its namesake game. The free-to-play Quake Champions is on the horizon, and the QuakeCon tournament, which previously focused on minor bounties in stale Quake Live brackets, now features a million-dollar Champions prizepool. You could consider it a commencement ceremony for an esports initiative that aims to make Quake a crucial fixture in the scene again. Already, Bethesda has announced two Dreamhack Quake Champions tournaments before the end of the year, and both are paying out decent prize money. The marketing here is transparent—at this point it’s harder to find a game company that’s not doubling-down into esports—but the circumstances are unique given the heritage that was already present. These Quake players would’ve gathered here anyway, but now, they get to be professionals again.

Rapha fits the bill of the long-suffering FPS pro perfectly. He’s an incredible duelist who can track down railgun headshots with his eyes closed, but he hasn’t been able to find a game that fits his skillset since the Quake scene dried up during his prime. He had a brief affair with Ubisoft’s dead-on-arrival ShootMania, and he tried and failed to find his groove on the Team Liquid Overwatch team. But that was it. He was doomed to a purgatory of yearly Quake Live matches against the same tired competition he faced as a college kid. The Quake Champions announcement changed everything. He can finally go back home.

"It s very painful to lose in 1v1 sometimes, because it wasn t the game you lost to, it s your opponent."

James 2GD Harding

“It’s amazing for me. I’m just excited for the opportunity to play in multiple tournaments again,” he says. “I really liked Overwatch but it feels like a lot of the skills there are confining. … I gave it my all, but Quake is just my game.”

Rapha isn’t the only one. Id_ tells me he’d consider making a full-time comeback if the Champions scene stays healthy. Anton “Cooller” Singov inked a deal with esports giant Na’Vi to return to his roots. Alexey “Cypher” Yanushevsky did the same after logging time with both Counter-Strike and Overwatch. Quake legends around the world are watching Bethesda put their money where their mouth is, and are graciously taking the opportunity to see if they've still got what it takes.

Art of the duel

It’s hard to articulate exactly what these pros find in Quake that they can’t in other FPSes, but one thing is certainly clear: there’s no true 1v1ing in Overwatch. If you’re familiar with those old CPL derbys you know what I’m talking about—two players coasting the circumference of an arena, stacking green armor, weapons, and health in hopes of winning a frantic, five-second engagement. The 1v1 format tested your twitchiness, but it also evaluated how well you could read and react to your opponent, a perfect marriage of mindgames and rocket launchers. It’s a unique, and rewarding style of play that’s been missing in our era of role-based skirmishes for quite some time. If you grew up on whip-around nailgun blasts, perhaps Soldier 76’s auto-aim might seem a little cheap. “It’s just you and the other guy. There’s no other factors. It’s just who can play more consistent, and who can outsmart the other guy,” says Rapha.

“It’s incredibly personal,” says James “2GD” Harding, another former Quake pro and someone who’s been around esports for a long time. “[In 1v1] all of your intelligence and all of your dexterity is being challenged by the best players in the world. It challenges you so much that you can never really master it, but you can try to be the best at certain things. Like, maybe you try to win a tournament by being the best at aiming, or win a tournament by being the smartest player, or being the most aggressive player. It’s very painful to lose in 1v1 sometimes, because it wasn’t the game you lost to, it’s your opponent.”

I think in some ways we re hoping to be replaced.

James 2GD Harding

Bethesda values the format enough to corner off $330,000 of the QuakeCon prizepool to the 1v1 bracket alone. Tim Willits has called Quake Champions’ dueling the “secret weapon” to the company’s esports plan, reckoning that it’s the one thing Champions has that other games don’t. It remains to be seen if Quake can crossover like it did in the ‘90s and early 2000s, but in the meantime it’s wonderful to watch the veterans get a run at something they used to obsess over. The QuakeCon tournament was full of great matches: in 2017 we had the pleasure of watching high-stakes sets between Cooller and Rapha, DaHanG and Noctis, Av3k and Vo0. These men have wives and kids, and they were still blasting off their feet in acrobatic rocket jumps. No matter what happens from here, we at least had the chance to watch the founding fathers of pro gaming live the dream one last time.

But maybe that’s also the one thing holding Quake Champions back. Esports, like any other competitive field, needs a trickle of new blood to survive. Running back the same posse of professionals under brighter lights and a felicitous bankroll doesn’t bode well for the future. “I think in some ways we’re hoping to be replaced,” says 2GD, noting that the average age of the players at Dota 2’s The International landed somewhere around 21.

That might sound like a strange thing to say, but then again, everyone at QuakeCon was there for the same reason. They love and fear for Quake, and while they’re happy to play a brand new game for a significant wad of cash, their primary concern is the continued prosperity of their favorite game. They won’t fall on their sword, but they’ll happily welcome the next generation if they earn it.

New blood

That wish was granted on the third day of the tournament. Team 2z were completely anonymous when they walked through the doors of the Gaylord Texan. Their Twitter account sports a scant 199 followers. They are unsponsored, unsanctioned, and reachable by a blasé gmail address answered directly by the players. Mostly, they’re in their early 20s and late teens, green as grass, and stacked up against a combined century of Quake experience in the other teams.

Quake is fast, brutal and ridiculously hard to become good at.

Nikita "Clawz" Marchinsky

And yet, they pulled off a clean sweep of every Quake Champions match at the show. 2z took home the team-based Sacrifice tournament with definitive wins over Team Liquid and the prodigious NOTTOFAST, and the 19-year old Nikita "Clawz" Marchinsky flat-out embarrassed Vo0 in the 1v1 championship with an icy 3-0 blow-out. They were, by far, the least famous players entering the weekend, and they exited as the undisputed best in the world.

“For me personally it was very special to compete against all the legends I grew up watching and idolizing. I think we were very underestimated LAN-wise before this event because all of them have so much more experience than us,” says Clawz, a few days after his victory. “It felt even more like that in the 1v1 tournament, where any predictions containing me among the top three were made fun of by the old legends. It felt amazing to prove them wrong and to show the world what I'm capable of.”

All four members of the 2z squad are excited about the upcoming Dreamhack tournaments: eager to defend their first-place status and clearly aware of the targets on their back painted by a legion of veterans. But they didn’t get to the top with any trickery or cheese, they’re simply outstanding FPS players who outworked their opponents in the film room and on the ladder. 

Frankly, I was surprised that they decided to choose Quake. You get the sense that 2z could easily excel at Overwatch, or Counter-Strike, or any other FPS with a healthier, less-nubile scene than Champions. One of the players, Kyle “Silentcap” Mooren has a history with Quake III and Quake Live, but the others are arriving without any ruddy nostalgia. It speaks to the game’s legacy that they still found their home here.

“I've played some Overwatch and a bit of CS:GO as well, and as much as I enjoyed them, none of them are quite like Quake,” says Clawz. “Quake is fast, brutal and ridiculously hard to become good at.”

“I like to keep this tradition, I mean to play the first and the very best, hardest shooter in the world,” says Alexander “Latrommi” Dolgov. 

QuakeCon is a high school reunion. They came across oceans to eat catered cheeseburgers, to reignite old rivalries, to remember how things were. There’s a brand new game, a lot of money, a lot of hope, and for the first time in a decade, they’re losing. For the first time in a decade, that’s the best news they could possibly get.


The new Humble Jumbo Bundle—the ninth, no less—is one of the better I've seen in recent months. It begins with The Flame in the Flood, Infested Planet, and Human Fall Flat for just $1, but you know that's only the start of the value train. 

For beating the average price, which is currently around five bucks, you'll also get the multiplayer WW1 FPS Verdun, the outstanding adventure-puzzler Samorost 3, and the rat extermination sim Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide, with the Drachenfels DLC and Razorfang thrown in. 

Pony up a tenner or more, and you'll get American Truck Simulator on top of everything else, a big-riggin' game that the other Andy said is, at the right time and place, one of the "most atmospheric games" he's ever played. 

But wait! There's more! 

In just shy of a week, more will be piled on at the "beat the average" tier. How much more? I don't know. But I do know that grabbing the bundle will also net you ten percent off your first month of the Humble Monthly Bundle, and the most excellent Samorost 3 soundtrack by Floex comes along at the beat the average price. You can give the main theme song a listen down below. 

The Humble Jumbo Bundle 9 is live now (it actually kicked off yesterday) and will be available until September 11. 


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