In response to controversy concerning the box art for Doom‘s 2016 reboot, id Software is running a poll to decide what art should adorn the backside of the cover.
It’s tough being reminded that game developers and publishers so often make decisions based on marketing rather than artistic merit. Perhaps one of the most simply conveyed examples of this is box art. Box art from back in the day was often purely artistic – a piece of concept art or poster art admittedly disparate from the game itself. Modern box art is all about shelf appeal. Box art has to get gamers to spend money.
Case in point: the recently revealed box art for id’s Doom reboot. It’s rather widely recognized that box art featuring a single male figure, usually outfitted in armor and/or weaponry, is S-tier sales material. Just look at Gears of War, Halo, Mass Effect, and specifically BioShock Infinite – all games famous for this very same controversy. Simply put, the box art represents the final game in a moderately tangential way. In Doom, players will literally never look at their own character (unless there’s mirror tech), yet there he is proud and center on the box art.
As should be expected, Doom fans across the globe have made their disappointment with Doom‘s box art clear. And id Software, much like Irrational Games with BioShock Infinite, have tackled the issue head on. They can’t change the box art because they know that this style of art sells more retail games, but they can, however, put alternate art on the opposite side of the cover. And they can have fans vote on the art that will adorn said alternate cover.
Introducing the Doom alternate box art poll on Twitter, where fans can vote for one of two different pieces. Option A, which is below, and Option B, which is at the top of this post.
The core audience for Doom should be immediately pleased with id’s alternate box art offerings. Both pieces are on the opposite side of the style spectrum from the real box art and both are throwbacks to retro Doom‘s themes. One in particular is a very specific throwback to the original Doom box art, so it should be understandable that this piece already has a sizable lead in the poll. Option A features a demon skull (it rather looks like Diablo’s skull from the original Diablo, hole for the soul gem and all) and a demonic circle. Option 2 features Doom Guy in a hellscape being overwhelmed by demons.
It should be understandable that a large part of the community, now embracing option B wholeheartedly, believes that this image should be the game’s official box art. NeoGAF has even gone so far as to mock-up what the cover would look like with both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s branding and official markings. They even went so far as to add the original Doom logo.
For now, however, id’s only willing to put this art on the backside of the original cover. To make your voice heard in the least of ways, head over to id’s Twitter poll and vote on Option A or Option B. They’re both great.
Doom launches on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting May 13, 2016.