Bethesda's Pete Hines talks cancelling Doom 4: 'It has to be the right thing executed the right way'

According to Hines, id came to Bethesda with concerns, and the publisher agreed.


Bethesda vice president Pete Hines talked to editors from Official Xbox Magazine (via Games Radar) about myriad topics, including its growth as a publisher and its joint decision with id Software to reboot Doom.

As revealed in No Clip's excellent and extensive Doom documentary, Doom 4 started out more akin to Call of Duty than a proper Doom sequel.

"With Doom it was a tipping point that we reached where we looked at it and said, 'This game is not hitting the marks it needs to hit,'" Hines explained. "And it wasn't just Bethesda, it was id coming to us and saying, 'It's not that it's not a good game or an okay game, but it's just not Doom. It's veered from the things that we think Doom should be about.'"

From the sounds of it, Bethesda let id call the shots, and id made the call to scrap "Call of Doom" and rebuild the game from the ground up.

"We essentially cancelled a game. That's what we did," Hines said. "We cancelled a thing that people had spent a long time working on and we'd spent a lot of money to get to that point and then we cancelled it and basically started over. Which is never easy to do. But it was because we believed in and agreed with the notion of: if this is going to be a success, if it's going to be worth all this time and effort, then it has to be the right thing, executed the right way."

That decision fell in line with Bethesda's general approach to working with development studios. "Games are hard to make and sometimes things happen. But we never take that stuff like, 'Oh, it's fine, take as long as you want," Hines clarified. "No, we have a business and we need to try and make money on this and pay everybody on time. So we don't take that stuff lightly. But we do believe that, ultimately, if the game isn't good and isn't right, then this has all been for nothing."

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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From The Chatty
    • reply
      January 9, 2017 2:04 PM

      This makes me wonder whether they made the right call with Prey 2 or not. My heart still says no tho!

      • reply
        January 9, 2017 2:06 PM

        That one was mired in internal management stuff IIRC. What was shown was kind of a Hail Mary to try to get backers on the developers side.

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          January 9, 2017 3:08 PM

          backers, you mean bethesda? and also it wasnt internal management as bethesda liked what they saw so much that they wanted to buy human head, human head said no, bethesda withheld milestone payments citing poor work to force hh's hand and then everything collapsed

        • reply
          January 10, 2017 1:21 AM

          Sadly you're misinformed on that. Just ask Shacknews own ZeroPrey. He worked on the game. The Hail Mary was Bethesda leaking this report in an effort to get Human Head to cave and return to work, after stopping when Bethesda started arbitrarily asking for changes and refusing to pay them (Zeni still offered loans though!).

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            January 10, 2017 1:27 AM

            Yeah it's basically ancient history at this point. Was looking forward to a Cowboy Bebop style game that seemed to be like.

      • reply
        January 9, 2017 7:07 PM

        The New Order, Dishonored, Dishonored 2, and DOOM have all been pretty great, and what I've seen of Prey gives me strong System Shock 2 vibes. I'm pretty optimistic.

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        January 9, 2017 11:31 PM

        No on prey 2. The new prey looks really cool but damn, it did not need to be called Prey, Prey 1 is such an unrelated game and concept.

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        January 9, 2017 11:59 PM

        From what we saw so far, they didn't make the right choice. Compare the gameplay of this
        with this

      • reply
        January 10, 2017 3:20 AM

        Nope, Prey 2 died because of corporate greed.

        What we're getting now in Prey looks like a good stab at a System Shock clone (which is fine, and im sure it will do well), but we lost a game that had the potential to be a once-in-a-generation type thing. IMHO the loss of Prey 2 is one of the worst things to happen in recent gaming history.

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      January 9, 2017 3:09 PM

      isnt that a picture of evolve?

    • reply
      January 9, 2017 3:12 PM

      And other excerpts from Pete Hines' new book "How to Make Yourself Look Like a Genius in the Wake of Good Fortune"

    • reply
      January 10, 2017 1:18 AM

      There's going to be a big feature on what happened to Prey 2 in the coming months. This video outlines the basics, but what Bethesda did was even more cruel and petty than most know:

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