It's no longer a headline to say that the DOOM series has lost much of its footing or perceived legendary status in the eyes of gamers. Groundbreaking, innovative, or unbelievably ambitious shooters have continued to stun and delight fans year after year, leaving id Software's signature demonic shooting spree in the dust. The developer is looking to change all that, having unveiled the game for QuakeCon attendees, promising a complete "reimagining" of the original games.
Essentially positioning the new DOOM as a reboot or "origin game" - hence the title DOOM, as opposed to DOOM 4 - speaks volumes to just how much id and Bethesda feel that the franchise must once again prove why it deserves to survive among fiercer competition than ever before. The company is clearly not straying too far from the source material, as the teaser trailer for the upcoming "reimagining" showed that it would still be set on the surface of Mars, and would once again hinge on the fusion of demonic flesh and futuristic machinery.
As details leak out from QuakeCon attendees who were privy to the unveiling, it's clear that Bethesda sees success in emphasizing the series' continued dedication to blood, guts, gore, and grotesque enemies that seem more at home in a nightmare than a space station or Mars facility. And reboot or not, DOOM is still not a shooter aimed at the squeamish.
Focusing on early gameplay footage (with the developers claiming it will run at 1080p and at 60 fps on next-gen systems), the demo featured melee weapons, chainsaws, shotguns, and plasma rifles. The threshold for brutality is still not an issue, as one segment of gameplay required the player tear off a facility guard's arm in order to use his palm to unlock a section of the base.
Again, the first showing is anything but a surprise: players can expect to traverse a space facility, dispatching demons of all shapes and sizes, and being granted an arsenal to allow them to do it in myriad ways. Skeptics will need to wait until id or Bethesda release assets to the public, but for now, it seems that the developers know that more than blood or guts, what they most need to succeed is an angle.
Last year, the same critics saying that DOOM had run its course were saying the same about Wolfenstein, another holdover from the earliest days of PC shooters. Wolfenstein: The New Order changed all that (read our review), and it didn't do it by either abandoning its bullet-frenzy roots or returning to them. The New Order simply charted a new course and kept to it, with its personality turning heads, and already shifting conversation towards a sequel for the revitalized brand.
Will DOOM be able to pull off the same feat? Only time will tell. But if id Software intends to make it a next-gen showpiece from a technical angle (developed using the new idTech 6 Engine), they will certainly be helping their chances.
We'll keep you updated as more details are released, but what are your hopes for a reimagined DOOM? Do you think the franchise could still attract an audience, or is it too anchored in the past to return to its former glory? Sound off in the comments.
DOOM is currently in development for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One.