Can id build a better Doom?

Can the new Doom go back to its roots while growing out on new hardware?


Over the past twenty-one years, the Doom franchise has built up quite a legacy. That will continue in a few weeks' time when the much-rumored Doom 4 is revealed at Quakecon 2014 in Dallas, Texas. However, given the criticism that Doom 3 received, combined with how many have become desensitized to video game horror, we can't help but ask... is this a franchise that can grow beyond being a mindless shooter?

The first two Doom games were PC classics, where thousands of players put hours into the hellish single player campaigns, and even more hours were lost with multiplayer along with the dozens upon dozens of mods. However, the series lost a bit of steam with Doom 3. Despite being graphically impressive for its time and featuring some really nasty creatures, it also strayed a bit due to its simplistic storyline and lackluster gameplay. The most common gripe was over how you couldn't hold a gun and a flashlight at the same time. That didn't stop id Software from releasing a specially modified version for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, complete with a faster frame rate and a extras like cooperative multiplayer.

Now, with a fourth game clearly confirmed between a new E3 trailer and a beta packed in with Wolfenstein: The New Order, the question still lurks. Is Doom a series that can truly change to fit with the evolution of the first-person shooters? Or, for that matter, is it a game that needs to change at all, considering the rabid fan-base it has managed to build?

Mars Roving

We've been annihilating demons for over two decades, and it's probably a good guess to say that id Software has every intention of keeping that up. Now comes the big question. Are we staking out new territory in this next Doom game, or will we continue to drag around Mars as the gates of Hell swarm upon us?

Changing the location of the game is a double-edged sword. On the one side, sticking to "what works" from previous games in the series provides some familiarity. The feel of the game completely changes when you're not a lone soldier trapped inside a base with narrow corridors. So, if hell were to invade Earth, you'd expect more outdoor fights, civilians being eaten or transformed into zombies, and stuff like that. Although that might be fun, it's not really Doom.

But, by the same token, we've staked out this territory across a number of games now, and changing the locale could be something for the better. We're not saying going to Cleveland or anything like that, but maybe something that connects us closer to the demon source to begin with. Maybe the moon with reduced gravity areas. Or, better yet, go on the offensive and take the fight straight to hell.

Regardless, look for id Software to bring something familiar, yet something new, with this latest entry.

Big Freaking Gameplay

Although Doom 3 offered plenty of tense moments, something felt a bit off in terms of the tempo compared to previous games. The original Doom games were more about run-and-gun and solving puzzles, instead of juggling between a flashlight and a gun. It was a bit jarring, especially hardcore fans expecting a next level Doom performance, not a slower-moving shooter.

We have a certain expectations with Doom. We shouldn't be fumbling about in darkness, wondering about what's howling off at us in the distance. Instead, we should have a gun in hand and opening doors to reveal rooms full of killer Hellbeasts that crawled out of an interdimensional portal. Although Doom 3 had some a few tense moments, there was something lost between the classic games and the retelling.

With Doom 4, the team could easily introduce some scary new elements, now that it has more advanced hardware to work with. Enemies could pile on the screen using a new engine, and environments straight out of the book of Hell could easily be replicated with the right amount of work.

Imagine walking in a room with a heavily powered weapon (yes, like the BFG), and laying out a horde of beasts that come rushing at you at once. Doom 3 could've used far more moments like this, and with the PS4/Xbox One/PC tech as it exists now, id Software could easily be up to task.

Oh, and for good measure, the chainsaw needs more versatility. There's nothing more truly satisfying than hacking up an enemy to bits with one in hand, proving your true worth without needing to lock and load with a BFG. Granted, we'd still use it, but the sheer satisfaction of mowing down a barrage of enemies with a swoop of a chainsaw... well, nothing can really beat that, right?

Is Doom ready for change?

Updating Doom might not be a matter of change in the purest sense, but rather moving back towards the tone that made the original games operate so well: less survival horror-based moments and more about using an assault rifle to plow Helldemons into kingdom come, and saving "big boy" weapons like the BFG to do massive damage to bosses.

Judging by the trailer, you'll be packing some sort of protection suit with built-in weaponry to help you along, but, really, this is the sort of game where sticking with the basics would work best in its favor. That's because nothing beats the good ol' feeling of a chainsaw, as previously discussed.

That's not to say new stuff can't be added, it just has to be effective. A flame thrower, for instance, would do wonders, even with monsters that are born out of fire. Hey, if it can bring them into this world, it can take them out, yes? For that matter, it wouldn't hurt to see more powerful ones enter the fray, like a laser cannon that can cut through a monster like butter.

The important thing, again, is that the "feel" is right. This is Doom, after all, and not Wolfenstein. id Software needs to dial in on what made the games operate so well in the first place, contour the weapon performance on that level, and let the blood fly. Certainly, it can do that.

Kicking up multiplayer

The original Doom introduced us to the glory of Deathmatch, where you and your friends could take on each other in a winner-take-all scenario, shooting each other like crazy until someone emerged a clear winner of the match.

While Doom 3 had multiplayer, it was severely limited, with only four players in a match and a handful match types to choose from, all variations of Deathmatch. While it may have felt like exactly what was needed with a game like this, keep in mind that id Software led the charge in multiplayer, so there's no reason it couldn't have tried a few new ideas with the latest entry in the series.

Which is why multiplayer in Doom 4 will be absolutely vital. This is id's chance to once again show why it's king of the hill. It needs to step in and introduce the kind of modes that make the Doom series shine. Perhaps a survival/swarm mode, or something along those lines. It needs to bring back the ferocity that the series has become known for, instead of just sticking with the general modes that we've come to expect from other games.

New, but familiar

The key to redefining what Doom is supposed to be lies in what fans fell in love with in the first place. Over-expanding the story to ridiculous heights and changing the game to a more tense, less run-and-gun affair isn't what the general fanbase is looking for. These folks wants thrills, and they want them now. The trick is in keeping the game from almost becoming a parody of itself, since so many games have copied the Doom formula that it has become a cliche. With the right amount of determination, and maybe a look at what made Wolfenstein: The New Order click so well with its release earlier this year, the team could get on the right track.

Having updated levels from the original Doom games wouldn't hurt either. Those were beauts.

Doom 4 should release sometime in 2015, although there's no word on when the beta included with Wolfenstein will actually begin.

Robert Workman was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 1, 2014 10:30 AM

    Robert Workman posted a new article, Can id build a better Doom?.

    Can the new Doom go back to its roots while growing out on new hardware?

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      July 1, 2014 10:38 AM


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        July 1, 2014 10:42 AM

        Getting through the maze on par, and looking for secrets.

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        July 1, 2014 4:47 PM

        there were some teleporter puzzles i remember.

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      July 1, 2014 12:16 PM

      Doom 3 was nothing like the original doom, and I want Doom4 to be more like the original games.

      Doom was being a badass with a shotgun and a chainsaw. You felt like a superman and the guns felt so powerful. It was pretty much what Bruce Campbell felt like in the Evil Dead movies.

      Doom 3 was being a weak human with badass monsters coming at you in tight dark corridors. You were no longer a Badass, you were trying to live and survivve, and find out what happened.

      Please Id, we have many games like Doom 3 today, but nothing like the original. Bring that back with a modern engine, where the player is a badass, grinning as he mows down demon hordes, feeling like a superhero, and it will be amazing. It's what fans want! Also, Give us deathmatch and add co-op.
      Bring back the reason people still play Doom today, but hardly anyone plays Doom 3.

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        July 1, 2014 12:20 PM

        You are asking for too much. They have forgotten what made their games good a long time ago.

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          July 1, 2014 1:25 PM

          i think less that, and more fps gameplay has evolved past doom1/2. We all think we want that gameplay because of fond memories but i bet it'd be boooooring

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            July 1, 2014 1:30 PM

            You obviously haven't played Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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              July 1, 2014 1:32 PM

              ...which is nothing like the original Doom?

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              July 1, 2014 5:43 PM

              That game has more in common with Half-life 2 than anything.

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            July 1, 2014 1:32 PM

            fps graphics have evolved past doom1/2, but other than an occasional outlier, id say fps gameplay has devolved to such a point that "gameplay" is not really the appropriate word anymore.

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            July 1, 2014 2:13 PM

            Serious Sam is amusing, but does indeed get a bit boring

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              July 1, 2014 3:33 PM

              Serious Sam gets boring because it's completely unfocused, not because the action isn't fun.

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                July 1, 2014 10:11 PM

                How is SS unfocused? It's a non stop onslaught all the time with no plot.

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            July 1, 2014 3:09 PM


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            July 1, 2014 4:05 PM

            I don't know. I mean I go back and play Doom 2 and it's still pretty fun, and not in that "omg I played this 20 years ago" way

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            July 1, 2014 5:53 PM

            Have you played the original pain killer recently? That game is fun as hell, and the closest to the original dooms we have had. I would love something done like that.

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            July 1, 2014 6:21 PM

            Agreed, the genre has moved on and everyone looks back with rose tinted glasses. We have Painkiller and Serious Sam that fill that role currently, and they didn't hold my attention longer than 30 minutes or so.

            I know others disagree, but I loved Doom 3 and would be 100% happy with a direct sequel.

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              July 1, 2014 7:22 PM

              You claim it's rose colored glasses and nostalgia but I would argue maybe those kinds of games just aren't for you.

              There aren't a whole lot of formulas to choose from and most games follow them to this day. If you look at the best selling PC games off all time it's mostly RTS, FPS, and RPG/MMORPG. Very few games on the list redefined their respective genres. Innovations are minor and most improvements they offer over their predecessors are technical in nature. The game play itself is generally still familiar (i.e., if you've played one RTS, you're already familiar with next years RTS)

              For all the effort companies put into big budget heavily marketed AAA blockbuster titles, 75 out of the 110 best selling PC games are at least 10 years old, many of them are over 20, and the best selling game of all time was not a big budget title.

              Granted Doom 3 sold almost as many copies as Doom and Doom II combined, but I don't consider that an amazing feat considering 75% of homes had a PC when it was released. That number was significantly lower in 1993 when Doom was released. Don't forget along with Doom, Mosaic was released in '93. Prior to that the web didn't really exist, at least not in a graphically accessible fashion, so it stands to reason home computers were a luxury, even a novelty, that most homes didn't include.

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        July 1, 2014 4:50 PM

        i think brutal doom pulls off the badass thing really well. but i cant really see a game like that coming from a major company. in dunno if it's possible.

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        July 1, 2014 6:42 PM

        Fuck that, Doom 3 was amazing. Fuck the haters, for real. You guys are annoying as shiiiittt

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          July 12, 2014 6:14 AM

          I also loved it and even today get surprised with the design and immersion. I don't know why people love to criticize it.

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        July 2, 2014 3:33 AM

        I agree so much with this. I'm also tired of the horror thing games are doing. This stopped me playing doom 3. Like, the more they can scare the shit out of the player the better the game. No. I hate that shit. If I wanted that I'd go play Amnesia.

        You should only die in doom when you take on 50 monsters at once on ultra-violence because you're a goddamn badass. Like hotline miami, you can slowly point n click your way through the levels, but it's better to run in guns blazing.

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      July 1, 2014 1:11 PM

      Maybe I'm missing something but where does the teaser show the player character? Isn't the only thing shown the big cyber demon looking thing?

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      July 1, 2014 1:29 PM


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      July 1, 2014 1:36 PM

      Where's the Doom 4 beta we were promised?

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      July 1, 2014 1:39 PM

      If Zenimax wanted to get some old school cred they should hire Romero, Tom Hall, Sandy Peterson and some of the other old id people to at least be "consultants" on Doom 4.

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        July 1, 2014 5:44 PM

        Yes. Zenimax really should take charge of the project, and who better to save it than the people who once upon a time actually had all of id's interesting ideas?

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      July 1, 2014 2:06 PM

      Short answer: no Long answer: nope

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      July 1, 2014 2:11 PM

      No. Doom going back to a it roots won't sell very well. Next question.

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        July 1, 2014 2:51 PM

        I don't know how you can say that since the main complaints leveled at Doom 3 mostly revolved around the way it abandoned it's roots. More people are probably still playing Doom 1 or 2 than 3 at any given time.

        And pretty much any Doom game is going to sell, despite complaints Doom 3 sold over 3 million copies.

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          July 1, 2014 3:05 PM

          Because games like Doom 1 or Doom 2 only have a small market now. I am not aware of any Doom1 or Doom2 like games that sell very many copies. Also Doom1 and Doom2 were partially good at the time because of the novelty of playing a "3d" game with good graphics, mature themes, and lots of violence. Back then a FPS didn't need to have more than that because it was all so fresh and new and people were just getting used to controlling and navigating that style of game. I am not saying Doom wasn't fun, it was, but the landscape is different now than it was then.

          What supporting evidence do you have that a 50-100 million dollar game like Doom1 or Doom2 will make a profit besides that a portion of the Doom3 players complained it wasn't the same game they played 15 years before Doom3?

          I think a modern game like Doom1 or Doom2 can make money but the development costs would have to be low. Lets say it was $20-$30 and only cost $5 million to make and market. Then it would make sense for the size of the audience. But I don't see a game like Doom1 selling 5 million or more copies at $60 price point. You might love that game. It might be your favorite game. But if it was your 50-100 million dollars would you bet it on a Doom1 like game? I wouldn't.

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            July 1, 2014 4:31 PM

            those are some high standards to say a game doesnt sell well. didnt SC2 sell only 3 million when it launched? thats not a small market game

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              July 1, 2014 4:49 PM

              If it only sells 3 million that is probably near the break even point. I can't know for sure. Maybe its 2 million maybe its 4 million. I assume they are looking to do better than plan a game that maybe breaks even.

              SC2 launch sales did not meet expectations. SC2 also has a broader world wide appeal than Doom.

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          July 1, 2014 3:24 PM

          Those complaints came from people who have no idea what sells fucking games, they are a loud minority of nostalgic whiners who want to re-live 80's action movies and how they perceived Doom as kids.

          I love doom, you have no, god, damned, fucking, idea just how much Doom defined me for a very long time, the game was my life - it was my favourite game of all time until Sept 17 last year.

          However, look at how Serious Sam, which aped Doom 2's shitty "millions of monsters" levels sold - and you see people get sick of that simple gameplay schtick as sales peterered out for the series, then you look at painkiller and how many sales it got. Guess what? People aren't willing to drop $60 fucking bones on a game of derpery gameplay and copy / paste enemy spawns.

          Doom 3 is way the fuck under rated, it pays respect to the BEST part of Doom, the atmosphere of Doom 1. Sure it uses monster closets but it's scary as fuck, it's dark, it looks good, the monsters are terrifying. Guess what? Doom E1 right there./
          So basically those complaints levelled at Doom 3 were by people who have no idea what sells in todays market and if they got what they wanted, they'd probably have complained anyhow. What they ACTUALLY want is a fucking time machine to go back to being a kid to play those games when they were cool (and let me be clear here, Doom 2 isn't a bad game but some of those shitty, copy / paste levels are crap - Doom 1 is where it's at for a purely SP experience)

          As for the Op? id doesn't stand a chance, there's nothing left of them.

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            July 1, 2014 3:53 PM


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              July 2, 2014 12:41 AM

              Takes a lot to knock the king off it's perch but GTA V did it. Greatest entertainment product of all time, just joy on a disc.

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            July 1, 2014 4:07 PM

            Doom 1+2 are like Sonic 1/2/3. Great in their time but we've moved beyond them.

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            July 1, 2014 4:24 PM

            yeah, what they need is a time machine so they can go back and play doom1 and 2 with fresh eyes. Nothing else will even come close.

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            July 1, 2014 4:33 PM

            No, Doom E1 was Classic Doom 3. It was everything Doom 3 wasn't.

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            July 1, 2014 4:41 PM

            Serious Sam's borrowed formula worked out okay for them I think. Apparently Croteam doesn't release sales figures but it must have done well enough to complete a second and third game in the series, along with the upcoming fourth installment. SS pretty much put Croteam on the map and is generally considered a fun game worthy of attention. It may not offer anything that hasn't been offered before but it worked for them, just like it worked for Doom and Doom II and could conceivably work for the upcoming Doom installment.

            Painkiller isn't as good as the SS games imo.

            Not everyone needs an exciting story or some version of clippy holding their hand and walking them through a QT experience. They just need weapons and targets.

            Doom 3 was good, but didn't feel like Doom, which I think some people were kind of expecting since, you know, it was called DooM 3. I've been an id fanboy since Wolf3D and put in so many hours of Doom and Doom II replaying it, playing hundreds of wads, making wads, etc. that if I'd spent half that much time studying medicine I probably could have reversed aging or cured cancer by now.

            It was pretty much all I could do to finish Doom 3 and I haven't even touched the expansion pack yet despite having owned it for quite a while.

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              July 1, 2014 6:19 PM

              What, you mean abrasion is talking out of his ass?? On

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            July 1, 2014 6:19 PM


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            July 1, 2014 6:23 PM

            Serious Sam is not even close to Doom in how it deals with monsters. Serious Sam throws way more monsters at you than it should making it boring. Doom never had that problem as you were either running and gunning or quickly backing off to deal with monsters for a very short period of time. Serious Sam will sometimes force you to sit in an area for 10 minutes as it throws the same monsters at you.

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              July 1, 2014 6:36 PM

              This is a good point and really the only thing that grates on you in SS after a while. It would be better without clearing a horde and then having to wait for another horde to spawn so you can clear them too.

              But I guess my main point was people actually do buy games using this type of mindless enemy splattering formula, at least enough to keep Croteam afloat.

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                July 1, 2014 6:46 PM

                I'm not even saying its bad . I did enjoy the Serious Sam games for what they were. They were not Doom though. Serious Sam is much better played coop than solo.

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                  July 1, 2014 6:56 PM

                  To be fair that last thing goes for Doom, too.

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            July 1, 2014 6:45 PM

            You've been on point lately, abraison. I have a kidney stone, I'm high as shit on perco, and I'm about to pop in GTAV and fuck around.

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            July 1, 2014 6:55 PM

            Doom 3 got a lot right, and it worked at first. The problem is that there was very little variety to the encounters as the game wore on.

            It tried to borrow from the structure of System Shock 2, and in some ways got close, but it the repetition hurts it badly. It does occasionally mix it up a bit - the hell section, for example - and when it does it's great again. But ultimately the latter parts of the UAC installation feel a lot like the parts you were playing hours earlier.

            It's not a bad game; I played it through again recently and did enjoy myself. But some of those complaints absolutely were not without merit.

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            July 1, 2014 7:31 PM

            Good post, abrasion!

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            July 1, 2014 7:36 PM

            Finally. Someone gets it. Doom 2 was NOT the best Doom. All action, no atmosphere. Doom was Doom.

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            July 1, 2014 9:23 PM

            this post is how I know we're gonna fuck some day.

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            July 1, 2014 9:44 PM

            Painkiller was fucking awesome I will fite u

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            July 2, 2014 3:38 AM

            Doom 3 was too scary, it's supposed to be a monster mash not a horror survival game.

            Serious sam was fun but it was almost sandbox kill billions of monsters generally without any level design, just open killing fields.

            Doom 1 & 2, Quake 1 & 2, and Unreal were good because the levels were really well designed, you had decent firefights, and they were above everything else, incredibly fun. Especially deathmatch and coop.

            The argument about what sells is a moot one. You know what makes money? EA's shitty dungeon keeper abortion and most of the other crap they pump out. People have every right to demand and wish they had something good to play, just because it might not rape the wallets of 13 year old's parents, doesn't mean it's not a valid point.

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      July 1, 2014 2:48 PM


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      July 1, 2014 4:40 PM

      Let it go. Just let it go.

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      July 1, 2014 5:39 PM

      No, flame throwers won't "build a better Doom."

      id has been on a downward spiral for over a decade, confirmed by the nadir of the bland, dysfunctional Rage. I'm sorry, too, as somebody who bought his original Doom on floppies and went on to buy or rent all their games, and played many of them again and again merrily for over two decades.

      The main problems are safe, conservative thinking and the dilution of a once-enjoyable idea through over-reiteration. That dog's been overbred, if you get my drift.

      Just hand off the IP to the people at Bethesda who did such a great job with Fallout 3. And as for yourselves, revisit the early, better, more daring ideas that since-departed talents brought you. Try an action RPG. Try something -- just don't bring us any more stale leftovers. I'm tired of the taste of your bologna sandwiches, Willits.

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      July 1, 2014 6:13 PM

      Y'all are so cute pretending that id software still exists.

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        July 1, 2014 9:57 PM

        I sometimes wonder if it's weird for Kevin Cloud.

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      July 1, 2014 6:16 PM


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      July 1, 2014 6:50 PM


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      July 1, 2014 7:37 PM

      "The most common gripe was over how you couldn't hold a gun and a flashlight at the same time"
      that was part of the design though, to make the game scarier and more difficult, no? i mean are we really going to fault the game for that?

      "it also strayed a bit due to its simplistic storyline..." simplistic compared to what? doom and doom 2?

      i'll continue reading the article, but the intro is a bit silly.

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        July 2, 2014 3:48 AM


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        July 2, 2014 8:51 AM

        I'm not sure if saying that having no-flashlight while shooting is by design is a reasonable excuse. Sure, it was meant to play up the shadows, but at the same time... you're supposed to be this badass future soldier on Mars. Tactical flashlights already exist in the real world. At the very least, the problem could have been solved by a roll of duct tape.

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        July 2, 2014 10:22 AM

        The recently released book Doom: Scarydarkfast quotes Time Willits as saying:
        Well, the reason you couldn’t attach a flashlight to the gun was that the engine wouldn’t run fast enough. I worked so hard to cover that up. “It adds this element of risk, decision making. . . .” And yes, there were gameplay things we did once we found ourselves in that situation, but the genesis of that decision was not we’re going to make this crafty experience where you have to switch back and forth; it was we’re stuck and now we have to make it work.;rgn=div1;subview=detail;type=simple;view=fulltext;q1=flashlight

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      July 2, 2014 4:00 AM

      you know what doom needs? Jetski racing! Car racing sucked in Rage, but jetski racing, that will really enhance the core gameplay!

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        July 2, 2014 4:03 AM

        Yep, definitely jetski racing, also it needs regenerating health, a shield, the doom guy should have a floaty kinda jump and maybe a gun called the needler.

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      July 12, 2014 6:12 AM

      It's funny that people say all the time Doom 3 wasn't a good game.
      I just loved it. The inferno tech atmosphere and all the characters were awesome.
      Loved every minute I spent in front of my PC and also played the DLCs. It was released in 2003 and the graphics were amazing for that time. Any other company could do something close to that.
      I loved RAGE also just didn't like all the RPG elements - go take this and that (very boring).
      I like shooters and the story is a part of it but...
      After all, it is a shooter, the story doesn't need to be that good.

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