Doom 4: id Software’s Last Shot?

On the eve of QuakeCon 2013, I’m white-knuckle-gripping my defibrillator paddles, hoping to shock some life into one of the most storied developers in the biz, a studio that’s now barely registering a heartbeat. Sad but true: the guys and gals who created the first-person shooter genre with Wolfenstein, elevated it to new heights with Doom, and brought the FPS experience online for  the first time with multiplayer death match in Quake, could be too far gone to save. For the sake of nostalgia, I’m going to hit ‘em with the juice anyway in the blind hope that id Software will somehow return to greatness with Doom 4.

You’re laughing, aren’t you? I get it. Id worked on its first new franchise in a decade, Rage, for five long years, and when it finally launched in 2011, we got a storyline pulled straight from Fallout, shooting mechanics from the 1990s, ho-hum vehicle combat, linear levels, and nothing truly innovative beyond the graphics – visuals tough to enjoy on PC due to unforgivable compatibility issues. Perhaps worst of all, for some reason, id shipped Rage without a real multiplayer mode (there was a vehicle combat multiplayer mode, but no FPS multiplayer). Yes, the studio that created death match decided not to include death match in its shooter. I compare that decision to baking a birthday cake for a loved one and giving it to them without any icing on it.

Rage serves as the most recent example of what id Software is now capable of achieving. While the end result was by no means terrible, it was a huge disappointment for gamers who understand what the id name represents. Where was the creative spark, the innovation, the step forward for the genre? But the decline for id really began long before Rage, didn’t it?

Doom 3, with its overwhelmingly positive critical reception and reported 3.5 million in sales, serves as a feather in id’s cap. I’d argue that it also created the blueprint for id’s downfall.  Powered by the id Tech 4 engine, Doom 3’s deeply atmospheric presentation was nearly flawless, and the visuals blew gamers away in 2004. Take away that visual presentation, though, and what is Doom 3? Not much. There’s little in the way of storytelling, the shooting mechanics were pulled straight from 1994’s Doom 2, the levels are as linear as they come, and the barebones multiplayer mode that was included felt tacked on. Doom 3 is an impressive demonstration of the id Tech 4 engine, but it’s really not a terribly impressive game.

Id seemed to follow that same technology-over-gameplay blueprint with Rage, and why wouldn’t they? Doom 3 was a huge hit. Unfortunately, impressive technology, in the form of id Tech 5, wasn’t enough to cover up id’s core game-making flaws this time around, and with Rage’s sales disappointing publisher Zenimax Media enough for them to cancel Rage 2, id Software is on the ropes. There are even reports that suggest Zenimax will transform id into purely a technology studio if its next game is a flop.

Which brings us to Doom 4 and me charging up the defibrillator. QuakeCon 2013 kicks off on August 1, so it’s time for us to once again wonder if id will provide an update on the shooter they’ve been working on since 2007. We’ve yet to see so much as an official screenshot or piece of concept art of Doom 4, let alone a trailer, so we still have little clue what form the shooter will take. Thanks to a revealing April feature in Kotaku, we know do know this: Doom 4 is in trouble.

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13 Comments on Doom 4: id Software’s Last Shot?


On July 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm

i read this article and though the poster is either a liar or a joker cant figure it out


On July 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Obvious troll is obvious, bob. Try harder or fuᴄk off you sad ᴄunt.


On July 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I’m getting a little sick of developers holding huge licences like Doom or Half Life not only taking forever to do anything with them, but also actively refusing to even talk about them. Something like “hey guys we are actually working on Doom 4, have some concept art!” would be nice. or get off the pot guys, “when its done” only works as a delaying tactic for so long before people just sort of stop caring.


On July 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I agree with Bob it seems to be full of


On July 28, 2013 at 9:12 am

after reading this unearthly facade of journalism, I was forced to post this comment.

I do not even want discuss the description of RAGE with it’s supposed “flaws”, considering that “innovation” in RAGE gameplay is obvious and well accepted: considering that “crafting system” and multi-ammo management are pretty much GLORIFIED in other games who use them much less or the new animation system that they use to move the characters in fights…
or the mega-texture concept who is the BIGGEST innovation in rendering since full 3d engine rendering or real-time light volumes rendering… both innovations from id software…
the “journalist” here attacks a developer that have still much to show, for no apparent reason other than show himself “educated” in VG culture…failing.

because if anything, DooM3 game-play would (and is not) be straight out Quake 2…

the IGN is strong in this one.


On July 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

The author of this article has a very different perspective from most id fans. I love 1990′s style shooters. Quake and Doom after to this day highly entertaining, but beautifully simplistic combat that has a (potential) challenging but fundamentally simple style that modern games lack. I loved RAGE but agree that it was a tease of what it could have been. I played through its story only twice, the second time on nightmare difficulty. It has plenty of “you CAN do this complicated extra feature” or you can just play through it with the slash and burn attitude you would approach Doom with. I honestly hope that Doom 4 is everything RAGE was, with the scope Doom had, plus everything id tech 5 can deliver. Its a lot to demand from id, but if there is anything id is good at, its doing the impossible.

john carmack

On July 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm

to the author : you are a ing retard for thinking that doom 3 is awful if not for its graphics. the gameplay was great in doom 3. it was action filled, and just straight up fun. the levels weren’t linear at all, it involves going through various areas and doing various objectives. just because it isn’t a ing open world, doesn’t make it linear (which all you critique gots seem to think), and worst of all you said its shooting mechanics were pulled from doom 2. first off, doom 2 and doom 1 have the EXACT SAME shooting mechanics, second of all if you think that the guns in doom 1 & 2 are even remotely anything like the guns in doom 3, you should just straight up off yourself. please stop writing articles you hipster got, get a life.


On July 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

Poor journalism is poor. Rage and Doom 3 both shipped with rendering techniques that were both innovative and widely used (post-release). To say you didn’t like the gameplay is one thing, but the programming was more impressive and innovative than anything id had shipped since Quake. To say, like a fact, that Doom 3 isn’t a great game is also a show of your IGNorance. Again, to dislike it is pure opinion, and it’s fine if you state it as such, but Doom 3 has much about it that makes the gameplay interesting and unique, and IN MY OPINION you’re an idiot for ignoring that.


On July 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Well, i think that it wouldn’t hurt to bring John Romero back in. Also, coupling realistic fighting mechanics(realistic ammo and weapon carrying capacity with more diverse fighting moves and other realistic bits in terms of fighting and physics) with LOADS of demon punishing would be pretty good and innovative. Maybe some cool fatalities would be good too.
Actually, ID could pretty much look up to Brutal Doom and add MORE realism in terms of fighting and physics, and MAYBE a little bit of tactics to that(like the ability to take cover) and then DOOM 4 will be great.

Ron Whitaker

On July 30, 2013 at 6:28 am

@Electr0Jesus: I really don’t think anyone is questioning the technical chops of id Software. In the article above, Mike points out that, “There are even reports that suggest Zenimax will transform id into purely a technology studio if its next game is a flop.” id’s tech is legendary, and no one is going to question their coding chops.

Unfortunately, the game play in Rage and Doom 3 was lacking. Not even the nostalgia of Doom and Doom 2, pioneering games in the genre, could make up for the fact that Doom 3 was, for lack of a better term, generic. Rage was a poorly realized Fallout knockoff that looked amazing (when you get the mega textures to work right).

I grew up on id Software titles. Not only the Doom games, but Hexen, Heretic, and the like. I’d love to see them rise from the ashes of a once-great company to release another blockbuster, but I fear that the reality is that they’ll end up making engines for Bethesda’s games. Maybe that collaboration will cut down on the bugs in the next Fallout, eh?


On August 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

There was nothing generic about Doom 3, look at a list of even just fps’s in 2004 and honestly tell me one title who’s shooting felt like Doom’s.


On August 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This is total bollocks: ‘prophecy’ game journalism at it’s worst. The author is trying to make his subjective judgments on past games the evidence for ids future failure. Protracted development cycles don’t mean a game is going to turn out badly. Plenty of other potentially great games struggle because they are pushing new frontiers: The Last Guardian, Prey 2, Half Life 3 etc Alot of people love id’s output thus far and there is nothing to suggest at this stage that Doom 4 will be anything less than stellar and worth the wait.


On January 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

This guy who reviewed doom3 is stupid ,why I say this is because I loved doom 3 can’t wait for doom 4 I agree rage might have fell short of mark.