Quake is a name that most gamers have only heard as part of an older fold of games; most young gamers now only have experience with Fortnite, Call of Duty, and League of Legends. But there is a small group of gamers who not only still play Quake, but recognize those older games as the pinnacle of competition in video games. While the larger portion of the community play Quake Live and Quake Champions, other games have taken on a cult following as well like Xonotic, Reflex, and Team Fortress 2.
Diabotical has aimed to jumpstart the arena first-person shooter with its release. It stands at the precipice of old and new, reviving the forgotten intensity and fast-paced action of the genre. On the front lines of this revival effort is arena first-person shooter pro, Daniel “Davjs” Davis. “There’s really nothing like the speed and dexterity required of you in AFPS games; it’s very hard to find something that scratches that itch. I’ve never left for that reason really.” As Davjs reflects on the past 11 years playing games with player bases in the low thousands or even hundreds, he goes into why he has never made an exodus. “There’s no real replacement for the mechanics in any other game,” says Davjs. That is of course, until Diabotical came around.
Diabotical has become the genre’s beacon of hope, and with that new title comes many player expectations, especially from pros like Davjs. When asked what exactly made him so happy about Diabotical, Davjs said that “There’s a lot to be excited about with Diabotical as a long-time Quake player, but primarily what is exciting to me is the development team is headed by 2GD, who’s been in the scene for as long as anyone else really.” James “2GD” Harding is a well-known figure in the esports industry who has been a professional Quake player and caster. Now, he turns his efforts towards shaping Diabotical as an ode to a nearly-dormant genre. Davjs explains that “[Harding] has a really good read on the community and what the diehards are after, while also looking to make the game more appealing to a wider audience… That dedication is very admirable to me and I am very supportive of it.”
Davjs is also excited about the Diabotical competitive scene, which takes a new approach through emphasizing team modes rather than duel. When asked how he felt about the new angle, Davjs explained that “Duel’s been the focus of Quake for literally 15 years now, with team modes either being dropped completely or only hosted by third party tourney orgs… The lack of focus on duels is perfectly fine with me.” But Davjs’s focus on the game extends far beyond preferred playmode; when asked about goals he had moving forward in his competitive career, he simply said, “I want to be the best.”
Being the best takes hard work. To prepare for Diabotical’s release, Davjs has been practicing quite a bit, “Playing Quake Live very extensively, not so much for combat similarity but timing/pace of the game. There are very little active team modes with comparably skilled players, but it’s still been a blast to get back into dueling in QL, it was always a favorite of mine and it’s been a fun revisit.” He also touched on what newer players need to do as they enter into a genre with 20-year-veterans. “Don’t queue serious/ranked games until you’ve dabbled in the game a lot. Experience counts for everything in almost every game, but it’ll seem extremely daunting if you start your AFPS games out against people who are actively controlling the map throughout the game… I would strongly recommend non-serious gameplays or more casual aim practice like you’ll get in arena 1v1/2v2.”
As the AFPS community prepares for this momentous occasion, we are likely to see Davjs leading the way. Diabotical promises both a new title in the arena first person shooter genre and a wave of new players, prompting a potential mainstream revival of the genre, triple-A companies looking to get in on the action. That, however, doesn’t concern Davjs. “Whether or not this garners significant enough attention to get a triple A level dev working on an AFPS is sort of irrelevant to me. I hope Diabotical explodes and rewards the team that made it exceptionally well, and thus provides future funding for either a sequel, a perfectly complete version of the game, or both. I’m happy to support Diabotical and with its success hopefully more can come from that.”