The 1996 total conversion of id Software’s original DOOM into the branded Chex Quest game was a real marvel back in the day. It was a cheesy remake of DOOM themed after the Chex cereal, starring a guy who looked like a cross between Buzz Lightyear and a solid piece of Chex. Well, that corny game that a bunch of kids loved to play back in the mid and late 1990s is making a comeback courtesy of the original artist and the Unreal Engine 4.
ZAM interviewed Chex Quest artist Charles Jacobi who talked about the influences, designs and inspirations behind that iconic DOOM mod. The most startling thing about the interview is the fact that a new Chex Quest is in development by Jacobi, and it will be running on the Unreal Engine 4.
Jacobi explained in the interview…
“I’ve always kind of wondered about like ‘Well, what would it be like if I just did a remake of the first one, but with a modern game engine?’ And at my professional job, I use the new Unreal, Unreal 4, and I love it. It’s a really powerful tool set, especially for content people…I don’t necessarily need to be a programmer and I can build lots of functionality with it. So I’ve started building, basically, a high-def remake of the first one.”
If you have no idea what the original game was like or why it was so popular, basically there’s tons of videos across YouTube showing off the levels and gameplay. It was a kid-friendly version of DOOM without the blood and gore. Gamers fought against the smelty looking green aliens called Flemoids. You can check out some gameplay of the original 1996 FPS courtesy of CuteFloor Gaming.
Of course, don’t expect the game to arrive anytime soon. Jacobi is working on it slowly as a side projecting, explaining in the interview…
“[…] just like Chex Quest 3 it’s really just a hobby thing that I do on the side. So, you know, progress is slow. I think I’ve got maybe half the monsters made, half the weapons made, and maybe two levels.”
Not bad. Half of most stuff done is still much further ahead than some Kickstarter projects that have been in development for some time and still haven’t been finished.
The thing is, the Unreal Engine 4 is highly scalable with the Blueprints… a lot of what would require coding or deep programming knowledge can be done with a few clicks and few numerical entries. It’s all really intuitive. The PBR also makes it convenient for artists to setup scenes without requiring programming or designing separate shaders and you don’t even need a lighting time to bake the lights into an area like some engines out there. It can run everything in real-time.
I’m almost actually excited to see how the new HD remake of Chex Quest looks.
I also wonder if the old Buzz Lightyear influences will stay? According to Jacobi, Pixar’s animated film really helped play into the design of the hero, where he states…
“[…] in particular, I loved Buzz Lightyear. And so it’s obvious, that like the shape of his head and a lot of those sort of things kind of played into [that]. Anyway, Buzz Lightyear and especially that cartoon that followed it up … that sort of universe was something that we wanted to recreate.”
“[…] it’s a bit of an homage to, like I said, the Buzz Lightyear Star Command universe. It has similarities to it. It’s my personal homage to it, which is something I loved, when I saw Buzz Lightyear in the theaters when that movie came out I was like ‘He’s…so cool! I wish I had that toy!.’”
There’s no ETA on when Chex Quest HD is set to arrive on the market or if it’s going to make the leap to home consoles, but we could definitely use some sort of fun, over-the-top shooters that bring a bit of levity to the gaming industry. A lot of stuff lately has been so grim-dark, edgy and mature with very few titles to counter that. It’s always nice to have a healthy mix of genres and sub-genres to dive into.
We’ll keep you posted on the progress of this Unreal Engine 4-powered remake of the classic Chex Quest shooter.