Back in 1996 ad agency Digital Cafe created a free Doom mod called Chex Quest as a pack-in toy for the popular breakfast cereal. Naturally, it was about protecting a sentient race of cereal from slimy green aliens. Now, the artist behind that project, Charles Jacobi, is working on an HD remake of the quirky commercial mod.
In an interview with Zam Jacobi reflected on the process of creating Chex Quest. How he was inspired by Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear; how Digital Cafe managed to snag the Doom license for a song since id had already moved on to Quake; and how cereal manufacturer Ralston Foods commissioned a sequel, while a fan later got Jacobi to collaborate on a third game to commemorate the weird series' 10th anniversary.
And that leads us to now: the game's 20th anniversary. Jacobi has been putting together an HD remake of the cult classic mod using Unreal Engine 4.
"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," Jacobi told Zam.
It might be a while until it comes out though, as this is something Jacobi is just working on in his spare time. "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," the developer said.
Jacobi hypothesised that Chex Quest's popularity was due to its family-friendly appeal (though the free price-tag couldn't have hurt either). "Doom was so notorious, like bloody, violent and everything else that there was a big chunk of kids that would love to play first-person-shooters but had parents that would not let them, right?" Jacobi said. "For some of these 6,7,8-year olds, their only first person shooter experience for quite some time, until later. And that's what I've heard quite a few times."
Here's a little snippet of how the original Chex Quest looked in action: