As fans of first-person shooters are likely keenly aware, back in April, news broke that publisher Bethesda and development studio id Software canceled work being done on the long-awaited Doom 4 and started over. The reason was simple: the game wasn’t turning out right, so rather than put out an inferior product that’d be done sooner, the parties involved opted instead to just hit the reset button and start again. During this past weekend’s Quakecon, Bethesda VP of Marketing Pete Hines and id studio director Tim Willits sat and talked with IGN in more depth regarding Doom 4.
For Willits, it seems that the problem wasn’t one thing in particular, but rather how the product was shaping up as a whole:
“It wasn’t like the art was bad, or the programming was bad. Every game has a soul. Every game has a spirit. When you played Rage, you got the spirit. And [Doom] did not have the spirit, it did not have the soul, it didn’t have a personality. It had a bit of schizophrenia, a little bit of an identity crisis. It didn’t have the passion and soul of what an id game is. Everyone knows the feeling of Doom, but it’s very hard to articulate.”
Hines elaborated on Willits’s assessment, adding that it just didn’t feel like the right kind of game:
“If it was like the quintessential, ‘yup, that’s Doom 4,’ then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But, it was something that we looked at and the id guys looked at and said, look, it’s not even that something is necessarily bad. But is it good enough? You can make a game and say, ‘that’s not a bad game, but it’s not as good as an Elder Scrolls game should be,’ and there’s a difference…it’s not great. It’s not amazing. It’s not what people have waited all this time for. It needs to be like ‘this was totally worth the wait.’ And I think what the guys at id are working on is…they’re pushing the boundaries and challenging themselves. I don’t want anybody to look at id’s next project and have this reaction that it’s still stuck in the 90s.”
Considering the disappointing reaction fans had to Rage when it came out last year, it’s not too surprising that Bethesda and id would take a harsher eye to what would become the latest installment in what has become one of the most important and iconic shooter franchises in the industry. For the longest time, when gamers talked about first-person shooters, they were merely referred to as “Doom clones.” The fact that a franchise this old only has three games under its belt speaks to the quality id Software wants to ensure with each new entry in the series.
As such, it’s probably good that the folks involved with Doom 4’s creation are taking extra care to make sure that it doesn’t suck. If that means making everyone wait longer for a good game, well, that’s probably best in the long run. And in the meantime, there’s that new Wolfenstein game for shooter fans to look forward to.
But if you’re feeling wistful for what might’ve been, take a look at this buttload of leaked images and assets from the Doom 4 that was…