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Exclusive Quake IV Preview

Entertainment software publisher Activision is not expected to release Quake IV to gamers until late 2004, but this has done little to halt rumors surrounding the 3rd successor to the title that changed the face of computer gaming.

According to reliable sources, the 4th version of the popular 3D first-person shooter will be based on Id Software's DOOM 3 engine, and is currently under development by Raven Software.

Until last week, little was known about the title, other than it would pick up the story-line where Quake II left off, taking gamers back into Strogg universe. However, recently obtained concept art and renderings of the game shed some insight that depicts a more versatile game, reminiscent of Halo, sporting both land and air attack vehicles.

Once again, gamers will assume the roll of a marine deployed on a foreign planet to destroy the Strogg, but this time they must combat opposition underwater, on land, and in air.

The game, which sources say will sport "Matrix-like effects," appears to be based on futuristic, Matrix-inspired worlds. Concepts of two dispersal areas intended for the game are reminiscent of the Zion mainframe in the popular Matrix movie trilogy series. One of these dispersal areas consists of an active online network with a central lift in the center, while the other encompasses two adjacent conveyors actively transporting some breed of Strogg life-form.

Strapped with a pistol and blade on his left side, Quake IV's standard marine appears to be capable of upgrades throughout the game. A concept drawing of a Marine upgrade booth reveals a dual, half circular contraption that may open as the marine approaches and then rotate around to conceal the G.I. just prior to upgrading.

Quake IV's villains are numerous and appear to be almost excessively equipped with many technological advances. Aside from the addition of 4 fingered, multi-limbed grunts and upgraded Gladiators with shoulder mounted rocket launchers, gamers are expected to see the introduction of air-based Strogg "Heavy Hover Tank" villains with built in rocket launchers, rail guns and hyper blazers.

Additional enemies include human-like "ItTank" villains with unnatural weapon appendages and two sea-resistant characters: a "High Lo Diver" and "Stream Creature." The High Lo Diver sports a single working eye —as the other is sewn shut —and is accompanied by a mechanical sea landing unit containing a claw that rotates 360 degrees while snapping open and shut. Little is known about the steam creature other than its use of mechanical tentacles.

The opposing bosses have been especially souped up. Makron will remain slightly faster than the marines, but will lack legs. Instead, Makron will shuffle his way round a 3-tier Makron Room on a "perl necklace" of cables and marine batteries. The bosses' right arm will fire homing missiles as his left arm engages the marine with an advanced rail gun. Makron also appears to boast a shield generator at mid-chest and a dark matter gun below the belt.

Another apparent boss, referred to as an outdoor Strogg "Network Guardian," wears a heavy laser on his right arm and dual blazers on the other. Shield generators can be seen on the villains shoulders and legs.

Finally, Quake IV will mark the introduction of a "Energy Rocket Launchers" as well as what appears to be an allied board-able opposition Hover Strogg Tank and an allied, 4-wheel land buggy. The Strogg Hover Tank is said to contain a large assault weapon, grunt platform, and mobile booster engine. The multi-marine land buggy showcases a mounted what appears to be a machine gun.

Quake IV is currently under development for Windows 9x/NT platforms. No official word has been heard regarding a Mac OS X version, though one is expected.

AppleInsider is unaware of the original source of the information compiled for this report, but has confirmed its authenticity. Id Software declined to comment on any or all aspects of the report the during a phone conversation Tuesday evening.