Years later that partnership continues as Apogee made its return to id's annual QuakeCon event in Dallas to announce the revival of Rise of the Triad – a cult-favorite first-person shooter released in 1995. Though its popularity never reached the same level as Doom, Rise of the Triad gained a niche fan base for its over-the-top nature. It's the kind of game that has a character named I.P. Freely; the kind of game with a gun that shoots a literal wall of flame, because why not?
Rise of the Triad's return is being developed by people with at least a little experience in modernizing old Apogee products. Developer Interceptor Entertainment was formed in 2010 to create Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded, a fan project turned official remake that was put on hold indefinitely in late 2011. Apogee decided Interceptor could be trusted with another of its franchises and supported the development team by adding former Rise of the Triad devs and mod makers to Interceptor's squad. QuakeCon 2012 featured a playable multiplayer build that was fast and fun, but also buggy and incredibly unbalanced. When I played it myself, the in-game scoreboard was broken. Throughout one game, I swore I was in last place – when it was over, a member of the ROTT team congratulated me on my victory. Other bugs included one that occasionally displayed a third arm when you reloaded while carrying dual pistols. Stuff like that might be frustrating in a more serious game, but it's somehow hilarious in Rise of the Triad – a game and series that doesn't take itself seriously.
And of course, bugs and glitches like this can happen when you play an early version of any game.
In staying true to the original, Interceptor has no delusions of making Rise of the Triad's remake a finely tuned, fiercely competitive multiplayer game. The multiplayer mode seems to exist purely for time-wasting fun – and easy feat when the action features leaping across the map on jump pads and blowing your friends into Ludicrous Gibs.
The single-player experience was more impressive in ambition if not execution. The demo that was shown at QuakeCon, both during my private preview and a public panel about the game, lacked almost any semblance of enemy AI, meaning enemy soldiers would occasionally walk and shoot, but do little else. But the way in which it mimicked the source material was admirable. During the panel, the ROTT team made a point of walking through sections of the game's first level in the original game, then showing those same levels in the remake. Graphically the remake is a modern-era shooter; however, in level design and gameplay features, both games were very similar, sharing secrets, layouts, and weapon placements.
The only other significant change in the remake was in scoring. You would earn a score in the original game, but as was mentioned during the panel, that was more of a relic from arcades than anything else. Now, more thought has been put into the scoring system, allowing for combos when you kill enemies or collect ankh coins. This will feed into worldwide and friend leaderboards, giving you more reason to not only finish levels quickly, but to do it well. Achievements will also be present to reward you for things like getting 100 percent completion on a level.
Interceptor has no plans on rewriting the story or trying to add logical explanations to things that had no explanations before. The team's intention feels very pure, and aims to release nothing more or less than the return of a game many consider a classic. The original characters return as well, each with their own strengths. Anything not in the original game that the developers feel like experimenting with can wait for post-launch DLC – which will be offered for free.
Rise of the Triad has only been in development for about five months, so it's impressive the team had so much content to show in such a limited period of time. I have some concerns about the planned launch for late 2012 or early 2013. The digital release's $14.99 price and potential for free DLC is appealing, but hopefully Interceptor is giving itself enough time to create a finished and tested product. If successful, Rise of the Triad could be an exceptionally fun return to a nearly forgotten age of first-person shooters.