I was only 3 years old when the first DOOM came out and did not yet play violent games, but later learned that although Pong was the beginning of all gaming, Doom was the first mainstream, widely popular first person shooter which was released in 1993. The software studio, id Software (by the way, that is id, like Freud’s name for the pleasure principle in humans… not ID, the abbreviation of “identification”) had also released Wolfenstein 3D in 1992, the beginning of 3D gaming as we know it today. At only 2 years old, I was not playing the aggressive game Wolfenstein either. However, as I grew I found myself more and more attracted to the FPS genre, going back to some of the original shooters, everything from Counter Strike and Unreal Tournament through Gears of War on up to more current day Halo and Call of Duty games.
To be perfectly honest, I did not know that much about id Software until Yvonna Lynn, the founder of Charisma+2 gamer models, mentioned that their first gig as an agency was for QuakeCon (which I still haven’t been able to work yet… ahem ahem). It was exciting to read about the founding fathers of 3D gaming at id Software. So with that short trip down history lane, let’s delve into DOOM!
After the Beta, there were floods of haters whining that it was a CoD/Halo clone, but even the biggest critics, like TotalBiscuit “The Cynical Brit”, who started out with plenty of hate, ended up streaming it upon release with nothing but praise the entire stream! He loves it, and with good reason.
DOOM has single player, multiplayer, and a new feature called Snap Maps. Veteran fans of id may be surprised by the popularity of the single player campaign because id has never been particularly famous in that arena. However, for the Doom IP, there has always been a distinct “feel”. The QuakeCon community has a definite hype saying, “DOOM feels so Doom!” for lack of a better word. You either get it or you don’t. The hidden areas are super fun too! I like the way they keep the player in the game while paying homage to the roots. You get to keep your current gun but it is set in the original environment. I am also grateful, that although not unique to only Doom, it does some handy things like allows you to keep all you have earned and collected even if you die and need to replay from the checkpoint. Another fantastic feature of the SP is the map. To be honest, I was incredibly leery when I found out a while back that there was not going to be a HUD map. I tend to get lost in campaigns. However, id did an outstanding job on the map which is easy to access. What makes it so spectacular? It is a 3D map! I can finally tell what level something is on because it isn’t just a slight shift from light grey to ultra light grey for the basement and a sorta light grey for the 2nd floor. It is a zoomable, rotational 3D map of excellence. There are so many cool features I am discovering the more I play. For instance, I love the Runes! You earn “Runes” which manipulate your abilities. You acquire them by completing trials and level them by doing certain kinds of kills, such as air strikes, and a dozen other types of skills.
Console fans may also be surprised to know that when asked before the release Marty Stratton, Executive Producer at id Software and Game Director of Doom said that gamers might be “surprised because the game is equally as fun on a console”. Known for an enormous PC fan base id also takes advantage of being able to get more out of a PC, so no worries you Master Race fans, there will definitely be some visual goodies and uncapped frame rates on your rig. Still, whether you play on PC, XboxOne, or Playstation 4, all will have at least 60 frames per second. That is simply a thing of pure beauty!
Although I prefer my Xbox One, I can see why id Software caters to their PC roots. Id has always been famous for PC games and mods, long before current TF2 and Skyrim mods were even a glimmer in any gamers’ eyes. The first wildly popular mod from id fans was Return to Castle Smurfenstein. Fast forward to what id brings you today as far as encouraging a new generation of developers who enjoy level design. Id brings you Snap Maps on DOOM, which is “a powerful, but easy-to-use game and level editor that allows for limitless gameplay experiences on every platform” a sort of easily accessible WAD (Where’s All the Data). This was first shown at E3 2015. In conjunction with id studios, Snap Maps was made by Escalation Studios, who first brought us two of my most adored Wii games Samba de Amiga and Where The Wild Things Are, in addition to working with IPs such as Splode and Disney’s Infinity Toy Box.
As far as multiplayer being like Call of Duty and Halo, well, in the sense Yes because they are all FPS games. Of course there will be some similarities, but the essence, drive, and gameplay are unique. Aside from quantifiable differences, it just “feels” different. Bethesda states, in their 22 reasons to love Doom “At the core of the gameplay is the notion of push-forward combat – an evolution of what defined the combat in the original DOOM”. It is incredibly FAST, no ducking and hiding, no camping (thank you id), and has that constant adrenaline rush of non stop running for your life and shooting like crazy. I also find I keep hitting “reload” like in other shooters (though the action is moot because there is no reload- you either have the ammo and shoot or you don’t). Before it’s release, I began learning more about the multiplayer. Brad Bramlett, producer of DOOM MP, states “the game has 6 starting weapons and the rest unlock at level 17. DOOM also has 3 different power weapons, but only one spawns on a map at a time”. Pictured right are Bramlett on the left with Designer Peter Sokal on the right (who you may recall we interviewed in 2009 about Wolfenstein) at the Doom Launch party). The combining of preset loadouts and weapon pick ups piqued my interest, and I simply love it!
Looking at the Clone accusations from a meta perspective: All major AAA studio FPS games have some things in common like progression, XP, and unlocks because they work. They make the game better, and the game becomes more addictive which is of course great for the publisher and in turn us because then they make more games! This does not mean all FPS games are the same. By that reasoning, they generally all have guns too, but it doesn’t make them clones. Gamers tend to be competitive in nature and like goals or incentives in their games, hence progression. It keeps the game fresh. If you don’t like modern games, there are tons of retro gamers out there, feel free to join them! As for modern gamers, being reminded of their achievements is rewarding and compels more gameplay.
As far as the whining about melee Quick Time Events? QTEs have been around since before I was even born. Shenmue in 1999 was the first and they have been around ever since. Why? Well, despite the ease with which armchair coaches from nowheresville complain, it is not just a lazy dev option. Game developers are some of the most creative, hardworking people you will ever meet. It is a disservice to minimize QTEs to something so silly. QTEs “can be seen as a form of experiential integration designed to simulate involvement in a particular moment of the avatar’s story” says PasteMagazine.com in their article The QTE is Dead—Long Live the QTE!
I truly believe by the time this article gets published, the gaming world will have a huge change of heart from where they stood recently during the beta. Like Notch, who said that he “had changed his hype levels from none to high” after watching Cody Hargreaves play for a few hours (yes a few hours! That is how good it is). For those who are too young to have really known the Original Doom to the experienced veterans, gamers will find themselves hailing a new (or reborn) chief of FPS in id Software. In closing, if you have not heard of Doom, where have you been?! But also, be warned- it is an incredibly gruesome and violent game with actions like splitting a demon in half top to bottom with a chainsaw… which is of course praised by Doom lovers as being gratifying and visceral plus it drops a ton of ammo for your other guns when used. You do; however, have the option to turn down the gore… to a degree :)
DOOM was developed by id Software and was released May 13, 2016 by Bethesda Softworks
… and yes it was definitely worth the wait.