So imagine you’re id Software. You’ve just spent six years building Rage, your most ambitious game ever (which I thoroughly enjoyed). You’ve managed to fill out two more teams, one of which has been working on a new Doom game for the past few years. Your sister studios under the Zenimax/Bethesda label – which have produced exactly one decent game series: The Elder Scrolls – have been releasing stuff like Brink that reaffirm the notion that even if your game isn’t even that great, you’re still better than them. Well, Rage finally releases to mixed-to-decent reviews (much like Doom 3 did) and a botched release on your lead platform, the PC. Then Zenimax comes and tells you that you’re the bad guy here and that your new Doom game is cancelled. How would you feel?
Admittedly, it’s all rumor at this point, but it gets you thinking: what kind of deal did id get in its buyout by Zenimax? Surely, they couldn’t have lost much of their creative control in the process. The shooter house doesn’t really come off as a developer that can be told to sit in a corner. On the other hand, they’ve pushed two retail releases in the past decade (no, those side games like Quake 4 don’t count) so there’s gonna be some expectation at how much they can spend. If Doom 4 is ultimately cancelled because of Rage‘s under performance, it isn’t much of a tragedy as the game has never been shown outside the company. Honestly, the most economical solution would be to just produce a new Rage game in the next eighteen months, but that’d be totally fine: I’d love more Rage and I didn’t really care that much for Doom 3 to begin with.
I don’t think the world would hurt if id decided to invest a little more in their stories (despite Carmack equating them to being as useful as the narrative of a porno), and table the graphics discussion. They already have that down pat.