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Doom 4 development troubled - report

Five years after id shooter sequel's announcement, sources describe complete reboot, mismanagement, talent exodus

It's been nearly five years since id Software officially announced Doom 4, but the developer has yet to release so much as a single screen shot of the game, much less set a launch date. A Kotaku report today shed some light on why, detailing a development process beset by problems with at least one complete reboot.

While much of the report is based on accounts from four unnamed people tied to the game's development, id-parent company Bethesda acknowledged scrapping the original Doom 4 project.

"An earlier version of Doom 4 did not exhibit the quality and excitement that id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect," Bethesda vice president of marketing and public relations Pete Hines told Kotaku. "As a result, id refocused its efforts on a new version of Doom 4 that promises to meet the very high expectations everyone has for this game and this franchise."

That original version of Doom 4 was described as Doom II reimagined in the mold of modern cinematic AAA shooters like Call of Duty. The project had been developed simultaneously with 2011's Rage, but Kotaku's sources said management didn't pay close attention to Doom 4 until Rage launched to disappointing sales. When they did get involved with Doom 4, studio leadership didn't like how the game was coming together and decided to completely reboot the project.

"Rage came out, and it wasn't the splash success that everyone hoped it would be," according to one source. "Eventually what kind of came down was, [Bethesda parent] ZeniMax said, 'Okay, look, we gave you guys a bunch of chances and you guys are having a lot of trouble managing multiple projects, so you guys are gonna have one project: Just do Doom 4.'"

John Carmack essentially confirmed as much at QuakeCon in August, when he lamented the termination of the company's mobile development efforts and said once last year's Doom 3: BFG Edition was released, everybody at the company would be focused on Doom 4.

However, Kotaku's sources say that reboot has struggled to come together as well, and the studio has been coping with an exodus of talent--whether leaving of their own volition or being fired--ever since. The sources now say Doom 4 is vaguely planned for release on the next-generation of consoles.

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Latest comments (8)

Kevin Patterson musician 8 years ago
While I enjoyed Doom3, I have really wished that ID would give us a modernized version of the original's fast frantic gameplay. Recently, someone posted a video where they took a doom screenshot and recreated it with modern graphics and it looked like what Doom 4 should be. I don't really want a call of doom, I want something that harkens back to the original, and what made that game still fun to play today. I don't understand how they can't see how a beloved game like Doom, where people still play it today, doesn't need to be like any modern game. It needs to be Doom with multiplayer, but modernized. That's what fans really want.

Also, I wish Activision would allow Raven to create a Heretic reboot. A fantasy shooter would be amazing with next gen graphics.
It just needs to be done, It would be amazing!
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Rajveer Kothari Game Designer, EA Mobile8 years ago
I have long missed playing games that left a lasting impression. Games like Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Hitman (Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money), Command and Conquer Red Alert 2, Blood, etc.

Hope Doom 4 sees the light of day sometime soon and fills up that void.
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Paul Smith Dev 8 years ago
That original version of Doom 4 was described as Doom II reimagined in the mold of modern cinematic AAA shooters like Call of Duty.
And the whole world sighed in relief.
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Show all comments (8)
Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios8 years ago
Perhaps id are just past their sell by date and out of their depth these days :-( Time to retire to a tropical island.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
iDs games always take an incredibly long time and it comes across that big technical and design issues are encountered during these projects of incredible scope and ambition, amplified by the fact they have such a small team.

I did feel it was a little odd that there has been no information whatsoever on this project, even new tech showcases. After playing many technically impressive but kinda average games, I'm glad to see there is a real drive to get something fresh, fun and innovative out.

iD are in an all new era. New focus, massive parent company, bigger resource. Perhaps it hasn't all come together just yet (and I was sad about the closure of the mobile operation) but I feel it will eventually. And better the original game idea was cancelled than see a game that may have been 'not very good' if not terrible...
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 8 years ago
If any game is the polar opposite of the linear action corridor roller coaster ride that is Call of Duty, it is the original Doom series. I am not even sure if the strong occultism roots of the franchise lends itself to "gogogo" rushes, and on-rails shooting galleries.

Doom is the barebone ancestor to fps games, but where is its evolution even imaginable? CoD because of how well it sells? Bulletstorm because of how controller skill factors in how much you enjoy it? Left4Dead because of how tension is created and multiplayer incorporated?

Where is the "hellish atmosphere" of the original currently at? Higher resolution textures of bleeding walls? The brutal choices of the Walking Dead? The constant uphill struggle of modern rouge likes?

No matter which combination you settle on, somebody will be disappointed.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship8 years ago
I agree wtih Klaus, I don't actually think it's all that obvious which way to take a modern Doom. It's all very well to say that Doom should simply modernise the original's run-and-gun simplicity, but what do you end up with? A horror themed Serious Sam? Painkiller? Neither of those fills me with the kind of excitement a new game in this franchise should. The world has moved on, and if Bethesda want this to be another Fallout-sized tent pole franchise, they'll have to get ambitious. I'm really not sure there's an obvious way to do it.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Er... maybe the team ought to go back and play the original DOOM to see what worked best about it before moving on with any further development? Ha, ha (but not really kidding)...
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