A year and a half ago, I commented on rumors that id’s Doom 4, the latest in their rep-making franchise, had been canceled in the wake of Rage‘s middling sales. Bethesda said ‘nah’, but as Kotaku is revealing, the company did completely reboot the game at that time, becoming another drastic move in Doom 4‘s troubled development. Reading Kotaku’s piece, I couldn’t help but wonder, “how does one make a Doom 4?“
I was not a huge fan of Doom 3. Up to its release, I was hyped on the value of Doom as a brand when I was too young to play its ultra-violent predecessors when they released, but also the sheer technical marvel of John Carmack’s new engine left my jaw on the floor. The game was a competent shooter, but had I known I’d be wandering in the dark, bumping into monster closets for nearly fifteen hours, I would’ve said “pass”. (Just for noting: I actually enjoyed the game’s flashlight mechanic.)
Flash-forward seven years and id follows up with the quasi-open world, post-apocalyptic Rage, a game I loved to death for various reasons I won’t belabor you with, and it’s everything I want in an id game. Unfortunately, Rage isn’t as hip a game with the cool kids as it is with me, so Bethesda merges id’s two teams to work together to make Doom 4 to life, a game that will ship three million copies on the name alone. Before the reboot, the team was apparently building something very different from Rage, a Call of Duty-style, incredibly scripted affair that simply failed to resonate with the more free-form action of the previous games.
I kept thinking about how I’d build the ideal Doom game these days, one no doubt set on Earth, but I kept drawing blanks. In the meantime, I’d highly recommend Kotaku’s piece for some bitter details on the game’s off-the-rails development.