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John Carmack Leaving Id Could be a Good Thing

The legendary John Carmack recently left Id Software to focus on the upcoming Oculus Rift. Responsible for the likes of Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and RAGE, Carmack leaving the venerable studio should have a major impact on the direction Id Software takes. While it is sad to see such an iconic figure go, I can see how this move could be a good thing for Id and for gamers.

John Carmack wearing an Oculus Rift

There was a time when Id Software was the biggest name in gaming. Doom and Quake were the kings of shooters in their respective times and effectively created the multiplayer deathmatch. Unfortunately, their last really big hit was Quake III back in 1999.  Doom 3 was received well by critics back in 2004 and was commercially successful, but the combat was repetitive and the direction was confused between atmospheric horror and run-and-gun shooter.

All of Id's other major franchise releases such as Quake IV and Wolfenstein were handled by Raven Software and received generally positive reviews. We didn't see a game made by Id until RAGE in 2011, another title confused about its direction. RAGE was altogether a shooter, racer, and RPG, complete with hub worlds, questing, loot, and crafting, without any aspect of the game being exceptionally good.

The massive gaps in release dates are owed to the amount of time and effort that Carmack puts into his ID Tech game engines. Every version of ID's technology has shattered our concepts of what can be done in games. Quake III was one of the first games to require a GPU. Memorably, the judges of E3 2002 approached Id to verify that the footage of the game was real and playable because Doom3 looked like an Xbox 360 era game at a time when Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was new. If only they verified gameplay demo of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Doom 3 looked like this before Battlefield 1942 came out.

Regardless of how powerful Id's technology can be, it has fallen in popularity behind the Unreal Engine, CryEngine, Source and Unity, despite ID Tech 4 being fully open source and ID Tech 5 having Megatextures. Carmack leaving Id should allow the company to focus more on creating great games rather than great, albeit underrated tech. I hope that ID continues to make their engines open source. I'm hopeful that Doom 4 will be an amazing game that rivals the likes of Shadow Run, Killing Floor, and Brutal Doom. I would like to see games come out of Id more often than every generation. And I'm happy that Carmack will be able to work in an environment where he can put his focus on new technology that could have a real impact on how we experience games.

Don't believe it really looked like that? Here's gameplay footage from the leaked E3 demo. This is a Mature game, so 18+.

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About Headless97one of us since 11:51 AM on 11.16.2013

I know why I play games. It is not just "because they're fun"; that's a crummy answer that doesn't really say anything. I play video games because all of my friends lived miles away from me, some even in other cities. What else can a poor boy do?

I grew up on Nintendo consoles, having everything from the NES to the Gamecube at some point in my life. Now, I am a PC gamer with a reasonable Steam library, a love of GOG and indie games, and a mechanical keyboard by eMachines from a time before laptops were everywhere.

The games I like generally have some immediacy to them - games that feel good to play or offer something that I determine to be satisfying.

Favorite games in no order: Shadow of the Colossus, Mark of the Ninja, Dishonored, Star Fox 64, UT 2k4, F.E.A.R.
I have many other games that I love to death, but these stand tall in my mind.

Genres I could never understand or get into are turn-based RPGs, most MMORPGs, and Sports games.