Man, somebody get Thresh on the line, if only to make sure that he ever existed.
But yea, the era existed and can no longer exist. I’m not terribly interested in writing my rambling magnum opus on the matter at 4AM, but, some thoughts (likely of varying relevance,) at least:
Games from that era who are trying to make comebacks seem like they’re missing the “purity” of the originals, if that makes any sense. I played Quake competitively forrrrr, I dunno, 10 years? And I don’t really care about Champions. At all. In the 90s Champions would have been a mod for a Quake game. LawBreakers would’ve been a mod for something else with some server-side settings being messed with. If the community cared enough, they would have decided to see how these things worked in those older games and went and made it themselves. If it took at all, then it gained its own subsection within the larger community; if it didn’t, then it didn’t. Christ, we had a Counter-Strike-esque mod for Quake 3 that people played called Urban Terror–a much better way of doing things than having Id Software try to make a standalone Quake entry incorporating Counter-Strike.
But hey: money. Gotta try and cash in on trends. Nobody wants to pay to let you develop a game if it’s not going to make money, so here, class shooters are popular, make some of that. Except now your class shooter isn’t as good or shiny or friendly as those other class shooters, so those people don’t want it, and in the meantime the people who you thought wanted it changed the channel as soon as you said “class shooter.”
Something else worth considering is that the map/mod communities that had a major role in helping those older games reach the heights that they hit has long since reached the point of mere myth. Generally harder to develop from a technical perspective, but, more importantly, harder to make at all under the watchful eyes of far more protective IP holders who clearly don’t want you messing with their shit. Even at Quakecon nobody actually played Vanilla Quake 3. Ever. We played OSP, Rocket Arena, Threewave, Promode, whatever–all mods, all the time, and almost always on third party maps, or official maps that the community had altered in certain ways. Now we get Snapmap™ and some DLC instead.
Also, also, completely uncalled for shade: I don’t really remember Cliff being a part of said era anyways, outside of that one quote that was always in an IRC topic somewhere about how “the only time I like the movement in Unreal Tournament is when I move it to my recycle bin.”