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Interview: Panic Button talks about bringing Doom Eternal to Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch is about to rip and tear with next week's Doom Eternal port. We talk to developer Panic Button to learn more about what it took to bring this game to the handheld hybrid console.


The ripping and tearing will continue until it is done. But the deployment of Doom Eternal is not done. There's still one more platform for it to hit and that's Nintendo Switch. This iteration of the game wasn't going to be ready for the game's spring launch, but it does look like it'll be out before the end of the year. Bethesda announced earlier today that Doom Eternal's Nintendo Switch port would release on Tuesday, December 8.

Developer Panic Button originally brought the previous Doom to Nintendo Switch. It was phenomenal, overachieving on a port that could have potentially proven too much for the Switch's limited hardware. They're looking to follow up their work by successfully porting Doom Eternal to Nintendo's handheld hybrid. Shacknews reached out to Panic Button to chat about their latest effort and were able to reach developers Travis Archer and Cody Nicewarner via email. We discuss the challenges of porting Doom Eternal, the changes in the developer's process since the first Doom port, and whether this is as far as Doom ports will go.

Shacknews: You've worked with Bethesda in the past, specifically on the previous Doom port. When did Bethesda first approach you about Doom Eternal?

Panic Button (Travis Archer and Cody Nicewarner): The initial conversations started sometime around 2018. Based on our existing relationships with Bethesda and id Software as well as our familiarity with idTech 6, we knew it would be a great opportunity to work on DOOM Eternal.

Shacknews: Your Doom port still stands out as one of the best Switch ports ever made. Has your process changed at all with the upcoming port of Doom Eternal?

PB: There were some differences between the two projects. Most notably, this was more of a co-development process. The Switch version was developed alongside the base game, as opposed to being a port of a finished product. This created opportunities for collaboration but also introduced challenges.

Shacknews: Can you explain the process of taking a game like Doom Eternal and porting over to the Switch, which comparatively doesn't have the same level of hardware as its contemporaries?

PB: The process varies a lot between projects. For a typical port, we start by evaluating the title on the platforms that currently support it, taking into account the content, the engine and the target console. If we feel confident we can deliver a quality product, the project moves on to the development stage. Because DOOM Eternal was more of a simultaneous co-development project, this process didn't necessarily apply. We relied heavily on our previous experience with idTech and the expertise of the folks at id Software. They know their own engine better than anyone else and they were instrumental in helping us complete the project.

Shacknews: What's been one of the biggest differences you've noticed between Doom and Doom Eternal and did it affect development at all?

PB: DOOM Eternal is a very ambitious title and it runs on idTech 7, which is an advanced and well-optimized game engine. There wasn't a lot of inefficiency to remove in the engine, so there was less traditional optimization work to do, but conversely, there was less inefficiency to capitalize on. Also, DOOM Eternal takes full advantage of the more powerful platforms it supports, which in some ways behave very differently from the Switch hardware. However, despite its lower clock rate and power consumption, the Switch has some advanced features of its own that we were able to use to our advantage.

Shacknews: Were there any features that needed to be cut in the transition to Switch?

PB: No, the Nintendo Switch version of the title is a faithful translation of DOOM Eternal. All features and accessibility options are available at launch. From difficulty settings to multiplayer, the title remains the same.

Shacknews: Would you call this Doom Eternal port one of the studio's biggest challenges to date?

PB: Yes! We knew from the beginning that this project would be a challenge. We're pushing both the hardware and the scalability of idTech 7 to the limits. We worked closely with the team at id Software to make sure the end result is the best possible DOOM experience, and we can't wait for people to get their hands on it!

Shacknews: Do you feel like this is the end of the line as far as Doom ports go? Hypothetically, if a third Doom were to release on the next generation of consoles, do you feel like Panic Button would still be able to make a port happen?

PB: If such a title were proposed we'd certainly consider it. We've developed a great relationship with Bethesda and id Software, and we'd love to work with them again.

Shacknews: What else is on Panic Button's agenda going forward?

PB: We can't share at this time, but keep in touch!

How soon can players get their hands on Doom Eternal for the Switch?

Shacknews: Very soon! The title is slated for digital release for Nintendo Switch on December 8th.

If you want an idea of what to expect with Doom Eternal, you can check out our original review from earlier this year. We're continuing to follow the Doom franchise as a whole, so be sure to check in with Shacknews for the latest. Doom Eternal comes to Nintendo Switch on December 8.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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