In the first chapter of videogame documentarian Danny O'Dwyer's series on the making of id Software's Doom reboot, producer Marty Stratton admitted that the studio's original take on Doom 4 was canceled because it felt too much like Call of Duty.
Stratton referred to Doom 4 as "Call of Doom."
"It was much closer to something like that type of game," he said. "A lot more cinematic; a lot more story to it. A lot more characters around you that you were with throughout the course of the game. Definitely a different setting; it took place on Earth."
"We explored a direction and got to a certain point and felt like this really wasn't capturing what we felt like was going to be a strong Doom and what the fans would want from it," said designer Kevin Cloud.
Early levels featured zombies and cover-based shooting, with the story revolving around how survivors on earth struggled on after a demonic invasion.
"It was awesome, but it was more realistic," said creative director Hugo Martin. "It was more about the global impact of a hellish invasion. As a concept I could see why they went there because I would probably want to explore that, too, if it wasn't a Doom game. To tell a bigger story, it scarified the doom slayer. Doom is about one guy involved in big things. Doom 4 was about the big things."
Although Doom 4 would have had "unbelievable" production values, according to id, the team didn't feel comfortable moving forward with a direction that rang false.
"It wasn't one thing," explained id studio director Tim Willits. "It wasn't like the art was bad, or the programming was bad. Every game has a soul. Every game has a spirit. When you played Rage, you got the spirit. And [Doom] did not have the spirit, it did not have the soul, it didn't have a personality. It had a bit of schizophrenia, a little bit of an identity crisis. It didn't have the passion and soul of what an id game is."
Bethesda and id rebooted the game in early spring of 2013. The end result, released this May, came roaring out of the gate (of hell) with an identity, look, and feel all its own.
"While other first-person shooters have stepped forward to challenge convention in recent years, none carry the clout and cachet of Doom," I concluded in my review. "For id Software to overcome the challenges specific to its history and craft a shooter that flies in the face of convention marks Doom as nothing short of a triumph—and, one hopes, a sign that change is in the air for a genre in desperate need of it."