There was a time in multiplayer first-person shooters when Capture The Flag modes were as ubiquitous as Battle Royales. Also like Battle Royales, it was a mod that was responsible for that ubiquity: Threewave CTF for Quake.
Now you can more easily play Threewave CTF again. Bethesda announced during Quakecon today that Threewave Capture The Flag was now part of their enhanced Quake release, with nine maps, the grappling hook and new improvements.
Threewave CTF was developed by Zoid Kirsch and initially released in 1996. The mod evolved over time to also include a grappling hook and four power-up runes for teams to fight over, and eventually became popular enough that Kirsch was hired by id Software to make the mode a native inclusion in Quake 2 and Quake 3.
Now that mode has returned in Quake Update 4. It comes with nine maps, all from the original mod, including those created by id Software developers Tim Willits and American McGee. The update also makes some improvements, including “an improved flag status display” to let you know whether the flag is safe, team scoring, a “modern interface”, and improved lighting and fog in the levels. You can read more about Quake Update 4 on the Bethesda blog.
I never played Threewave CTF, but Capture The Flag was among my favourite ways to play Quake 2 and 3, and I think it remains a great mode in modern games. It’s great that this piece of gaming history is now more likely to be played, and nice to have an excuse to write about Threewave 26 years after it was first released. My fingers are crossed that Update 5 gives me an excuse to write about Quake Rally.