I used to make quite a bit of Quake Arena Arcade montages for fun back in the days.
When it comes to popular console first-person shooters, I think of Halo, Goldeneye, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and more. However, when I think of popular console arena shooters, i can’t think of any. Halo always did have its arena shooter influences, but I never feel like it’s in the same ball park as Quake or Unreal Tournament. It’s not as fast paced or over the top as those games. However, there has been console ports of those games.
I remember playing Unreal Championship and I actually enjoyed playing this game back when I was a lot younger. Unfortunately, I had slow internet at that time, so I never got to play it online or even know if it had an active community of players playing like Halo 2 did. Eventually years would pass by and I learned there was a port of Quake 3 Arena coming to Xbox 360 called Quake Arena Arcade. I definitely enjoyed this port despite of some issues, but the online experience was great for a temporary amount of time and then people stopped playing it.
These games were popular on the PC platform back in the times when arena shooters were popular, but on the console side, it always struggled to find an audience that has the same interest. Some people may say because these games are better played with a mouse and keyboard and that is a good point. I personally find Quake 3 Arena on PC to have superior controls than the Xbox 360 version, but I do feel like it’s still possible to come up with good controls schemes or settings on the console side. The original Halo got me into console shooters when I was predominantly someone who enjoyed playing first-person shooters on the PC. I feel like that’s a good enough example of there is a chance for an arena shooter to be successful in the console market.
However, arena shooters have been on a decline of popularity for many years. I believe the popularity started to decline around 2005 to 2006 where first-person shooters were starting to get more realistic rather than chaotic and also the eSport scene started to die out for arena shooters too. I never really understood why all of sudden there was a decline in popularity of these games, but nothing lasts forever and everything evolves. Sometimes, a revival will eventually happen.
Eventually, Doom (2016) did bring back the arena shooter formula to the mainstream when it decided to be different than what you would normally see in today’s first-person shooters. However, it was met with criticism with a two weapons only system, load outs, and just seem to struggle to appease to the people who want a more authentic arena shooter experience rather than a casual version of it. I also want to say I’m proud that id Software managed to keep people playing the game’s multiplayer after many months of its release date and I do feel like it’s the best arena shooter I can possibly play despite of not being the best arena shooter experience I’ve experienced. I also want to say it’s probably because this game is more accessible than the traditional arena shooter format.
I do hope Quake Champions bring back the popularity of arena shooters because I do feel like they should still be around here in today’s first-person shooters. And who knows, maybe there might someone who’s going to take a risk and try to create an arena shooter on console to popularize them on that platform.