QuakeCon 2015 featured all the usual fixings of the now 20-year old conference. Sure, faces are older and new. The games have changed, as have the versions of DirectX and OpenGL required and applicable case mods. Heck, there’s now even a corporate overlord in ZeniMax (owner of Bethesda Softworks, etc.). The camaraderie remains in spades. The BYOC remains massive, lengthy, incredibly well organized (despite some momentary bandwidth spikes) and without event. Aside from a little tiff during Master Pancake the human masses caused no issues. The legions of gamers, the community that’s made QuakeCon what it is isn’t what’s at stake. It’s only become more creative, more accepting over time. The gender gap is slowly equalizing – far faster for the younger group – as is the digital divide. While that’s only a subset of gamedom it’s encouraging.
What isn’t encouraging is the rest of the convention.
QuakeCon hasn’t been breaking news for years. This is largely due to id Software’s lack of innovative gameplay over the last decade and change. That’s why some were hopeful that QuakeCon would improve as a flagship conference for a developer/publisher. This did not happen in 2015. Fallout 4, absent in the conference space. Elder Scrolls Online, squat. BattleCry wasn’t even mentioned. Numerous panels severely lacked interesting details. Furthermore, Fallout ‘s didn’t focus on the conference’s base community at all. Aside from the Doom multiplayer only Fallout Shelter offered any new content, which, revealed as part of the Fallou 4 panel, wasn’t overwhelming. Even Master Pancake was uncharacteristically mute, likely do to seemingly arbitrary alcohol policies randomly enforced. Or not. No one could figure it out.
Who knows what the future holds. Perhaps Bethesda felt its resources were best spent, like, finishing the game. We’ll be there for QuakeCon 2016 naturally, but there was an internal discussion about it. Thank god for that amazing BYOC.