Doom is 21 years old. That’s over two decades of running, gunning, and sending the denizens of hell packing.
In the two-and-a-bit decades since the original first exploded like a barrel on gamers’ PCs, the first person genre has evolved. The FPS has embraced blockbuster cinema, each new release filled with set pieces, cinematic interludes and pulling you through from beginning to end in just a few short hours. We’ve gone from sci-fi to World War 2 to modern warfare, before returning once more to sci-fi.
But some things never change, and that includes what makes Doom, Doom.
Speaking with UK newspaper Metro, executive producer of the new Doom game, Marty Stratton, has been discussing how the development team at iD Software has worked hard to ensure that the game retains the same classic feeling of the original.
One of the things that defines the original Doom games is extremely fast movement, and so iD has doubled-down on making the player as agile as possible. Double jumping, mantling ledges, and fast movement have all factored into ensuring that the new Doom feels just as fast as the original, with Stratton joking that “we’ve made the player like a Ferrari. You don’t want to put that Ferrari in a parking garage”.
This speed has had an effect on level design, Stratton explained. The original Doom and its sequel were defined by their wide open spaces as much as their twisting, labyrinthine layouts. Doom 3 changed that, focusing more on claustrophobic corridors and dark, flickering light sources. But with the new game, Stratton and his team have returned to the wide-open arenas of the original, and filled them with ledges and multiple levels of verticality.
“We refer to these arenas almost like skate parks, where you’re just going in and you’re improvising your way through this combat dance with the enemies,” Stratton explained. “And it’s just… it’s super fun, and you can go back and play it over and over.”
Stratton’s comments should be reassuring to fans who are concerned that iD software has forgotten what made Doom so enjoyable in the first place. After all, Doom 3 played more like a survival horror game, with scripted jump scares and a lack of wide-open areas. And before it was scrapped and rebuilt, the new game – which was known at the time as Doom 4 before iD dropped the numeral – was to be set on earth, heavily story-based, and feature a squad working alongside the player.
We’ll just have to wait until next year to find out how successful iD has been. But based on the gameplay footage shown at this year’s E3, Doom is certainly shaping up to be an intense return voyage to hell.