I’ll admit that I've been basically assuming Quake Champions would be free to play ever since it was announced to contain multiple characters to select from. However, id head honcho Tim Willits says he and the team don’t actually know yet.
Can it join its rivals and predecessors as one of the best FPS games on PC?
When asked about the possibility of a full retail release in an interview with PCGamer, Willits said that “I can definitely say that is a really hard problem, and so for us we’re trying to figure out exactly what people want more of, and how they perceive it. And I’m not even trying to be cagey,” he explains. “It’s not like we know and just aren’t trying to tell anybody, we don’t know and we’re still trying to figure this out.”
Earlier in the same interview, Willits said that the success of Doom was making creating Quake easier, due to how happy the folks at id were and the proof that old-school-ish FPS games could succeed. However, the two games are exceptionally different, and while Doom managed to triumph as a full-price game, it did so on the back of an incredible single-player campaign with its quality spread majorly through word of mouth from early adopters - that’s not happening here.
Then again, Quake Live was free to play and very few touched it. Not exactly the same, as it was a web client of a much older game, but it certainly didn’t take the world by storm. Id are already fighting an uphill battle against their most dedicated fans with the introduction of the Champion concept and special abilities - microtransactions aren’t going to help that much.
We’ll find out more when the game goes into beta some time next year.