Doom 4's 'identity crisis' cause for delay

Doom 4 now has the full focus of id Software, following the project restarting earlier this year.

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id Software started on Doom 4 a long, long time ago. But it was deemed unexciting and the studio decided to start over from scratch.

So what was so wrong with Doom 4 that it had to go back to the drawing board? Studio director Tim Willits says it wasn't just a matter of a single, easily fixable problem. "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," he said. "It had a bit of schizophrenia, a little bit of an identity crisis."

Willits told IGN that id has now "cut distractions out" for the restarted project. "We focused everybody. All hands on deck," he said. "If you have everyone marching to the same drummer, you can get places."

Of course, that laser-focus also means that other franchises have been put on the back burner for the time being. Willits noted that the Quake brand is "critically important" to the studio, and that they're "not going to forget about it." Willits also recently noted that Rage isn't dead, and in this interview noted that he might be open to licensing if a developer has a strong concept. "We don't have anyone right now, but that's a possibility."

Between juggling those three franchises, though, id doesn't have much room for trying new things in the immediate future. "I know we're not going to do another new IP," Willits said.

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 6, 2013 10:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Doom 4's 'identity crisis' cause for delay.

    Doom 4 now has the full focus of id Software, following the project restarting earlier this year.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 10:02 AM

      Rage had spirit?

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        August 6, 2013 10:04 AM

        Rage had a pretty clear vision of what it was going to be, as far as I can tell. The storytelling just fell flat on its face.

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          August 6, 2013 10:14 AM

          Rage was a binch of FPS campaign sections duct-taped together with an ersatz Fallout 3 RPG inventory and quest system, a quasi-open hub world system, and a driving mechanic that Willits insisted (for YEARS; since at least 2008) would be more engaging than multiplayer competitive FPS. Oh, and it had a co-op add-on.

          Rage didn't have vision. It had pentafocals.

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            August 6, 2013 10:19 AM

            If that was their intention from the beginning, then I'd say it was a clear vision then. Judging from what I've read about Doom 4, they flip flopped on whether it was going to be another slow paced horror game, or more of an action game like CoD thus the lack of true vision.

          • gmd
            reply
            August 6, 2013 11:01 AM

            I thought the atmosphere was great and it controlled so well, but the story and driving is just meh.

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            August 6, 2013 11:28 AM

            Rage would have been super awesome if it was just FPS all the way through.

          • reply
            August 6, 2013 4:18 PM

            Could every id game be described as a binch of FPS campaign sections duct-taped together?

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      August 6, 2013 10:04 AM

      It probably just felt like the ROTT reboot and old school shooters, which meant passe and hard to go up against open world games like GT5,etc

      Probably still would have sold decently enough but in the world of 3million selling 'disappointments', this wont cut it, sad.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 2:43 PM

        If it went the route of the ROTT reboot...I'd probably buy multiple copies of it (one for me...then a few others for people I know because people should own ROTT!).

        • reply
          August 6, 2013 2:44 PM

          That meant to say because people should own a DOOM4 worthy of the name with fast paced combat...for some reason I just typed in ROTT which is its own fun thing.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 10:06 AM

      Wait, I thought this already occurred like 18 months back??

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      August 6, 2013 10:08 AM

      Great to hear that they have a team working hard on it. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

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        August 6, 2013 9:29 PM

        I'm thinking the same thing, its a relief to read this news. Doom and quake <3.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 10:54 AM

      Motherfucker you need to do Orcs & Elves HD

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 11:04 AM

      QuakeCon 2014 is going to 0wn

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 11:18 AM

      Do you guys think id Software will ever have a blockbuster again?

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        August 6, 2013 11:28 AM

        N0.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 11:36 AM

        I pretty much agree with what Carmack said at Quakecon. The are a legacy company and their legacy is legitimizing the FPS genre.

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          August 6, 2013 9:04 PM

          A legacy company? What does that mean?

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          August 7, 2013 2:35 AM

          So release Doom II & Quake Classic iOS already, and bring Doom MP back to their iOS app again.

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        August 6, 2013 11:59 AM

        No, but there are numerous devs who don't have blockbuster releases and still have decent profits. Id needs to transform into that kind of developer. Bethesda's standing in the way of that.

        • gmd
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          August 6, 2013 12:05 PM

          I think Bethesda telling them their game sucks is a good thing.

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            August 6, 2013 12:13 PM

            Agreed. Id has been putting out solid but dull product for awhile now. They need some creative spark over there.

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            August 6, 2013 1:48 PM

            Yeah, even though Bethesda totally crap on their own game designs and malign the RPG genre with their cheapo fast-food offerings like Skyrim and even Oblivion, at least they're likely holding id to a higher standard. Now if only someone would hold Bethesda to a higher standard, instead of half-assing cashouts with every new release, while giving the middle finger to the PC crowd unless they think they really can't surmount the criticism - there wouldn't even have been a 4gb memory patch for PC without it, and Todd is a lame console fanboy who yearns to push his shit interests on others while vindictively making sure that those who don't play his was don't get their way - as with the god-awful console UI's that are completely incompetent on PC.

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            August 6, 2013 2:36 PM

            yep, same here.

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            August 6, 2013 2:40 PM

            Indeed

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            August 6, 2013 2:58 PM

            That would be good, but I was thinking more of Bethesda suggesting that Id make Skyrim in the Doom universe, or any other universe, for that matter. Id is historically great at making shooters, and the shooter part of Rage was the best part, so they should keep making games that emphasize that mechanic, and not RPG elements, third-person arcade driving, or mini-games.

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            August 6, 2013 4:18 PM

            Then why is there still a Elder Scrolls MMO in the works?

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            August 6, 2013 9:02 PM

            After games like Rage and Blink I think it was in their interest to take a closer look at what their studios are doing.

        • reply
          August 6, 2013 3:50 PM

          id has put two games in the last decade and both of them were MEH

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        August 6, 2013 12:14 PM

        No.

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        August 6, 2013 1:08 PM

        All I want from Id are dark/moody fast action games with good multiplayer, simple controls, and pretty graphics. They don't need to make MMOs, RTS, or racing games.

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        August 6, 2013 1:34 PM

        Nope.

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        August 6, 2013 2:02 PM

        not anymore, they aren't independent. I was hoping for Quake 5 with RA5/CTF out of the box to ignite the DM scene and let people have some competitive fun. I would try to capture the MOBA momentum by hitting them upside the head with OSP and CPMA.

        they cone weaved around trying to test "innovation" and that introduced scope creep and they royally fucked up.

        I was hoping for a focused product at a competitive price - people know it's not a everything+the kitchen sink game. It carries the Quake title, and would be on steam, and fully integrated. physx support, insane FOV/FSAA/etc support, and fully moddable. in my opinion, that would be a hit.

        but timing is everything, and I would have seen that released right at the end of the school year. with no real MP shooters around, it would rock folks' face off until BF4 shows up. but then the mods would have kicked in by then, and we'd have the fun weird shit like Q3 football and such rebooted in Q5. :D

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 2:23 PM

        I think it's time for this again:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1ZtBCpo0eU

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        August 6, 2013 2:39 PM

        Definitely not.

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        August 6, 2013 2:44 PM

        Only if they're willing to take some SERIOUS chances.

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        August 6, 2013 2:49 PM

        Not sure. I do know if they released a new Quakeworld (or new Quake) that was fast and fun with powerful weapons...I'd buy it and then buy copies for people I know...if they did a new DOOM game that recaptured all the speed and intensity and fun of the original two DOOMs I'd buy that in a heartbeat and buy copies for friends because again...FUCKING DOOM!

        But I don't know if those could sell huge numbers. I *do* think they could be profitable...but I think id is convinced that they must be AAA developers and must be doing whatever the "in thing" happens to be.

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          August 6, 2013 3:02 PM

          Well sure, now that they have overlords telling them what they need to do.

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        August 6, 2013 2:55 PM

        No. They have made it clear they learned nothing from Rage, by saying it had the same 'soul' as their other games despite everyone else saying it was boring/incomplete, etc.

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          August 6, 2013 3:00 PM

          That sounds more like Willits sounding like he learned nothing from Rage. Not the first time Willits has had to be corrected by the outside world; I remember how hard he was flogging the 360 controller for Rage, so much so that many gamers were afraid that they were abandoning keyboard and mouse. After over a year of silence, he moved the mouse around for 10 seconds at the QuakeCon 2009 Rage demo, which brought out a rush of cheering from the audience.

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        August 6, 2013 7:23 PM

        Nope.

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        August 6, 2013 9:00 PM

        Nope they seem like a dev past its prime.

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        August 6, 2013 9:32 PM

        The creators of a genre, hmmm probably yes.

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        August 7, 2013 1:09 AM

        No.

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        August 7, 2013 4:01 AM

        No, they lack the creativity they need for that.

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      August 6, 2013 1:43 PM

      DOOM 2 is the last id game I had fun with. Guess I don't consider them a developer to pay attention to anymore, despite Carmack's prowess. If they can create a DOOM 1/2 type experience, with the pumping music and chaotic gameplay, and cool looking enemies instead of the DOOM 3 scared-to-be-bold-just-be-bland kind of washed out enemy designs, I'll be jumping in. DOOM 3 just sucked on almost every level, though, and should not even be regarded as part of the same series titled DOOM as D 1/2.

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        August 6, 2013 1:46 PM

        you didn't like any of the quakes?

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          August 6, 2013 3:23 PM

          No, I actually detested early 3D games, thinking they looked like blocky garbage, and I wasn't a fan of the colour pallet, either. I disliked 3D probably up until around UT99.

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            August 6, 2013 3:29 PM

            Though I still hated Warcraft 3's 3D look. I prefer a 2D RTS over a 3D one even today, because 2D just allows unlimited artistic detail, at the sacrifice not having unlimited degrees of frame drawing. But in an RTS, and lots of other games for that matter, that's a very minor issue. Still playing as many 2D games today as 3D ones, like many people.

          • reply
            August 7, 2013 12:26 AM

            You liked Doom 2 but complain about early 3d games like Quake looking like blocky garbage? The only thing not blocky would be the sprites, but in the case of sprites, when you kill a dude you get to stare at his crotch every time you run by because that's the only death sprite available.

            Quake's color scheme was pretty boring, but Doom isn't exactly brimming with color.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 1:57 PM

        What is it like to be dead inside?

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        August 6, 2013 2:27 PM

        Oh, come on... the Quake's were not fun? id started sucking when Doom 3 came out.

        • reply
          August 6, 2013 2:43 PM

          This right here....doom 3 and rage are pretty much polished turds.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 1:48 PM

      The article's DOOM logo is shit. Please use the DOOM logo, and not the shit DOOM one.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 8:58 PM

        The front page itself at the top has the actual cover art and old logo.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 1:52 PM

      doom 4 should be half life 2 with demons and hell instead of aliens and city17

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        August 6, 2013 2:59 PM

        They copied the gravity gun for that Doom 3 expansion pack, didn't they?

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        August 6, 2013 7:58 PM

        No way. I don't know what it should be but I don't want DOOM turning into Half Life. DOOM 3 already walked far enough down that road.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 3:04 PM

      It's worrying how proud Willits seems to be of Rage. In the other article he twice said he was proud of it and now he's saying it had spirit. Personally I think he should be saying, "Rage was terrible and we need to do better". If they don't recognise the flaws in Rage the next game will end up equally bad.

      The best way to improve their games would probably be to get rid of Willits. He was lead designer on Doom 3 and creative director on Rage and both games were pretty dreadful. They need somebody who can make a fun game. Romero would probably be a good option.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 3:13 PM

        At least he isn't a producer anymore; that's the position where he seemed to do the most damage. He was okay as executive producer of Doom 3; even though a lot of people derided it for monster closets and archaic gameplay architecture, that game at least knew what it wanted to be. Rage was a mess that felt like it was designed in a bubble, with a design document that hadn't been changed since 2008.

        • reply
          August 6, 2013 4:00 PM

          yea, seriously. this.
          willits should not be making any creative decisions.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 3:46 PM

      So what do you want to see in Doom 4? I see a lot of people hating, but nobody offering solutions.

      I've only ever played Doom 3, and I think CoD is the absolute worst a singleplayer game can get. As such I expect I have differing opinions from the classic Doom fans.

      What would make me day one buy Doom 4 is:
      - Not 100% linear
      - Upgrade system lite
      - Kickass atmosphere on the level of Metro, STALKER
      - A superfluous sexy lady on the box cover

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 4:00 PM

        Doom game on Mars like STALKER would be cool

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        August 6, 2013 4:14 PM

        Open world if it's Hell on Earth themed.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 4:32 PM

        Random thoughts:

        Doom 4: hell on earth

        Upon walking through the last portal in hell you find yourself in the middle of a corn field... Smoke billowing on the horizon, earth's towering cities under attack by the spawn of hell.

        Now spend the next 20 hours moving through a variety of Earth's major cities mopping up hellspawn. As you clear each area you must choose where to go next, but you wont be able to make it everywhere. Will you save NYC, only to lose Paris... London or LA? Eventually battling your way back to some other level of hell... Yada yada...

        It would be awesome if it was a co op game, akin to L4D, mixed in with some kind of global teamwork, with dynamic backgrounds that would link between the thousands of games being played. If x number of people die in an area of a zone or city, everyone sees a major catastrophic event occur way off in the distance...

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 4:54 PM

        Borderlands meets Doom2. Coop, gunloot, tons of demons to mow down

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        August 6, 2013 7:23 PM

        Make it like the original Painkiller and throw in some Bulletstorm with some original Serious Sam.

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        August 6, 2013 8:05 PM

        I admit this is probably a terrible idea that wouldn't be in the spirit of the originals -- but maybe it'd work. What if... it were Hell on Earth and a largely open world / FPS metroidvania. You wander the fucked up Earth and your 'missions' are to destroy various demon infestations and close Hell portals and as you did this you somehow acquired new abilities that opened up new sections of the map.

        I admit this isn't in the spirit of the originals in the way Serious Sam and Painkiller are, but I honestly don't want more of that. I also don't want it to be Call of Duty or Half Life, though.

        • gmd
          reply
          August 6, 2013 8:11 PM

          I'd play that

        • reply
          August 6, 2013 9:00 PM

          I'm all for a Metroid Prime style DOOM4 single player. Combine that with the fast run and gun action of DOOM and I think it'd be an interesting direction to go in. They could even keep key cards as those could unlock some of the sets of doors.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 9:21 PM

        The multiplayer should harken back to DOOM and DOOM2 in terms of speed and the power of the weapons with some nods to Quake. They should either go balls to the walls fast in terms of running speed with some movement tricks thrown in...or go all out with air movement QW style where you can gain insane speed...or both. It needs to be fucking fast as hell. The weapons need to do serious damage...there's a trend with deathmatch games where weapons have managed to get weaker and weaker with each iteration and generation...I think a new DOOM needs to have a Rocket that can one shot a newly spawned player with its splash damage if you nail a close enough shot and do a fair bit of damage if you're decently close...perhaps use the old Q1/Q2 splash damage calculations as those gave for a more satisfying rocket splash IMHO (I believe it was something like (damage-(distance*0.5)) which wasn't the most intuitive method or mathematically sensible but it worked very well and it felt good...the Q3 method (I can't even remember the formula of the top of my head but it was something like damage*(1-(distance/radius)) or something) was never as satisfying even though it was perhaps more mathematically "correct"). I want shotguns that do a great deal of damage and armor that's worthwhile and maps that reward proper item control and strategy. I want id to be to competitive FPS games what Blizzard is to competitive RTS or Capcom is to competitive fighting games...and id used to be that. I know there are people who are like "well one deathmatch is the same as any deathmatch I don't understand...its all the same huurrrrrr" and those people should bludgeon themselves to death with a hammer. ;p

        For single player I'd personally go a different route...do a complete reboot again...DOOM3 didn't happen...do it Metroid Prime style. Have a large base to explore that links to some other varied bases...have the player slowly open up more areas through the collection of key cards (in the same way that new weapons opened doors in MP), new weapons (some barriers you might need a Rocket to get through), and through other means (like getting power up in running in an area so that you can get doors to open). If we're going back to Mars, have the player occasionally run into groups of fellow soldiers from the original invasion force who are pinned down and need help and maybe you can end up with an island of safety in an area if you help them lock it down.

        Regardless of anything it needs to be fast and you need to face decent numbers of enemies (like 10-25 or so fairly often, occasionally larger groups but mostly those sorts of packs)...have them varied like in DOOM the original...different patterns...guys who will rush you and melee, guys who will hang back, guys who will do easily avoidable damage but keep you on your toes and some of those guys may be bullet sponges that take a bit of work to take down...lots of weak guys with some stronger dudes. And the only thing keeping you alive will be movement, it needs to be all about mobility and constantly moving, avoiding fire, and killing quickly and efficiently. The combat should be satisfying and all about movement and crowd control. Combat in DOOM (the original and the second) are about as different from CoD as you can get...your mobility kept you alive and you had to constantly be thinking about what enemies you were facing and deal with them all as the situation mandated. DOOM4 SP needs to be about run and gun combat puzzles where you have to think on your feet and react to fluid situations, where cover won't do jack shit because your only cover is hauling your ass so fast that you avoid getting hit.

        If they're doing Hell on Earth...maybe go more a Zelda route and have an "overworld" of sorts...and area above an underground base and you have to go in through various access points to do stuff...sort of a hybrid between a Metroid and a Zelda.

      • reply
        August 6, 2013 9:54 PM

        I don't really rate doom 2, doom 1 episode 1 was their best work. I mean I love the shit out of doom 2 with nostalgia in effect but the actual game, from memory the only standout things was the level design being so different to doom 1, and kind of remotely like cities in some small ways.

        • reply
          August 6, 2013 10:36 PM

          I'd agree that E1 was great as hell for single player...I liked E2 and E3 a lot too...I really feel they were all better than DOOM2 and I felt that way at the time. That's not to knock DOOM2, but I just feel that it fell victim to a whole "more of everything" mentality at times.

          Now wrt to deathmatch I think DOOM2 may have been slightly better (what with the SSG and all), but DOOM E1 was great too...E1M5 is a fucking joy to DM on, as are many of the other maps.

        • reply
          August 7, 2013 12:49 AM

          Yep the open urban levels in Doom 2 were quite annoying. There's a fair share of great levels though.

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        August 7, 2013 12:33 AM

        Have a look at ROTT and Serious Sam BFE. That's what I want Doom to be; A fast, furious shooter.

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          August 7, 2013 12:53 AM

          Oh, and more to the point, I want it to be a GAME. ID is crap at story; They should focus on building something that is unashamedly a game, not an epic. Leave that to other studios.

        • reply
          August 7, 2013 1:11 AM

          That gameplay is so so so played out

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            August 7, 2013 1:42 AM

            Yeah, it's so played out that it's starting to feel fresh again.

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              August 7, 2013 2:12 AM

              Maybe for some, in budget games or "ironic" games.

              • reply
                August 7, 2013 2:57 AM

                I disagree, there's a lot to love in the original's gameplay. And it's possible to retain a more arcade game feel without being campy.

        • reply
          August 7, 2013 1:18 AM

          I replied to this post like ten minutes ago but shackbrowse doesn't like submitting them for some reason

          • reply
            August 7, 2013 1:35 AM

            Aaand there we go, it still hasn't appeared after seven minutes!

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          August 7, 2013 2:59 AM

          Doom was never like Serious Sam 3, though. I'm always a bit puzzled when people compare the two.

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            August 7, 2013 3:25 AM

            Yep, Serious Sam is just cleaning waves after waves of ennemy in an open environment. Quite boring actually even in coop.

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            August 7, 2013 3:33 AM

            No, but the speed and focused simplicity of gameplay is the same. I kind of got to thinking this after playing ROTT; One of the things I like about it is that it is not afraid to just be a game. SS3 has that quality as well, as did the original Doom games. The story (if any) is there, very, very far in the background, but it's the gameplay that's doing all the work.

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        August 7, 2013 4:21 AM

        What I don't want:
        - Weapon unlocks or any kind of XP grinding/leveling up
        - Iron sights
        - Serious Sam style open arena mobs.
        - I do not want Doom 1 or 2. We've had them and it's old hat now.

        What I do want:
        - Dark and gloomy
        - Heavy metal soundtrack
        - Infrequent, large(ish) groups of enemies.
        - Good gunplay and monster design
        - A barely there story that ties it all together, that can be expanded upon should the universe prove interesting.

        Basically Doom 3 with more monsters that takes itself less seriously.

    • reply
      August 6, 2013 10:05 PM

      Delay? I thought it had been cancelled?

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      August 7, 2013 12:02 AM

      I would happily wait for a new Quake\Doom every 5 years if they put that id touch to it.

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      August 7, 2013 1:59 PM

      Watchatalkinabout Willits??

      Most games have no soul.