Update: 8/30, 9:22pm ET
Shacknews reached out to id Software co-founder John Carmack for comment. Carmack said he could not recall the interaction with Willits either, in line with the account detailed on Romero’s blog.
Original Story Follows
In an interview with PCGamesN during this year’s annual QuakeCon, id Software veteran and Quake Champions director Tim Willits claimed to create the concept of building FPS maps explicitly for deathmatch. Fellow id vet John Romero disputed Willits’ recollection of events in a detailed blog post.
According to Willits, who also claimed to design the first episode of Quake—which was distributed as shareware—he got the idea to piece together map fragments into multiplayer-only arenas. “I came into the office one day and talked to John Romero and John Carmack,” Willits said. “I said ‘I’ve got this idea. I can take these map fragments and I can turn them into multiplayer-only maps, maps you only play in multiplayer.’ “They both said that was the stupidest idea they’d ever heard. Why would you make a map you only play multiplayer when you can play multiplayer in single-player maps? So I said ‘No, no, no, let me see what I can do.’ And that’s how multiplayer maps were started. True story.”
Romero caught wind of the story and consulted with other Quake designers including American McGee, Adrian Carmack, and Shawn Green. After comparing their memories of Quake’s development, which ramped up in earnest in late 1995, Romero feels confident in disputing Willits’ version of events.
“The story told about how he came into the office and talked to me and Carmack about his idea, and we responded with how it was the stupidest idea we’d ever heard,” Romero wrote in a blog. “This never happened. In fact, we had been playing multiplayer-only maps in DOOM for years already. There had been hundreds of maps that the DOOM mapping community had made only for deathmatch by that time. DWANGO was a multiplayer-only service that had many…