Sandy Petersen, one of the original four level designers of 1996 classic Quake, did a bit of reminiscing on Twitter about it today. Specifically, about how Episodes 2 and 3 of Quake don't have boss monsters—almost surely due to time limitations around making more monsters. Petersen explained that he and American McGee tried to fill that gap using some creativity. They just... scaled up existing monster models to be huge.
The idea was eventually denied by the art team because the scaled-up models looked terrible. McGee wanted to make a level based around a giant, 300-foot zombie that would require players to climb lifts, staircases, and scaffolds to get at its vulnerable bits. "It was a neat level," said Petersen, "but the art team vetoed it."
Petersen's own giant boss contribution was a huge Vore, which the player would have to fight a guerilla war against by evading seeking projectiles through caverns. Instead, the boss of Episode 2 is just... a Vore. That's the first time one shows up. There are more later.
McGee made a Quake level with a 300-foot zombie. It barely fit into its half of the level. You fought it by using lifts and staircases on a scaffold by the zombie. McGee’s goal: see if 3-d scaling was useful. It was a near level but the art team vetoed it.October 11, 2020
After McGee’s giant zombie: I made a giant vore whose homing darts chased you all through the level. You ran through tunnels and caverns evading darts & seeking a vantage to shoot back. Also canned by the art team. Because scaled-up critters look bad. pic.twitter.com/lRO6BlaBDtOctober 11, 2020
Fans of old Quake may note that episodes 2 & 3 lack boss monsters. McGee’s giant zombie and my own super-vore were tries to fill the gap. Ah well. It would have taken more time to make 2 new bosses and time is money I guess. pic.twitter.com/ctEim91tmGOctober 11, 2020
American McGee and Sandy Petersen are pretty famous personalities from the hazy 1990s of PC gaming. At the time, they worked for id making games. Petersen later went on to make the Age of Empires series at Ensemble Studios. He has returned to tabletop game, his first love, in the last decade. American McGee made his namesake game, American McGee's Alice, after his work at id, and currently develops games as an indie creator.
Anyways, I'll be spending the rest of the day thinking about this dreamboat... but bigger: