Doom 4: id Software’s Last Shot?
Speaking with a number of devs attached to the project, Kotaku learned that Doom 4 was very much on the back burner while id focused on Rage, and when Rage finally shipped in 2011, the studio realized that what had been created over five years of Doom 4 development was a mess. So much of a mess, in fact, that Zenimax Media stepped in and told id to go back to the drawing board. Yes, Doom 4 is still in development, but that development cycle basically started all over again less than two years ago. Here’s the official statement from Zenimax on the matter:
“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. 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.”
While that might sound like a nail in id’s coffin, it could also be the slap in the face id needed. Visual presentation is no longer enough – the studio actually has to make a great game. That means a complete, original narrative with a real story arc, compelling characters, shooting mechanics that don’t feel like they were created when Bill Clinton was president, and a world that, even if it’s not open, provides options and doesn’t feel so confined and linear.
Now, even if, against the odds, id manages to accomplish all that, if it truly wants to once again earn the title The Masters of Doom, it will have to do something it has seemed to shy away from in recent years: innovate. Thankfully, it appears that John Carmack himself already knows the way to do that with Doom 4, something the studio has already toyed with in its recent BFG Edition of Doom 3. It’s called Oculus Rift, and the 3D VR headset, which is now in the hands of developers, finally delivers on the promise and potential gamers have been looking for in virtual reality for nearly 20 years.
Courtesy of the folks at Eve Online studio CCP, I was able to sample Oculus Rift first hand in the space combat sim prototype, Eve VR, at E3 and I was absolutely floored. So much so that I’m now convinced the future of gaming is in virtual reality. And if there is one way id can once again step to the forefront of the developer community, it’s to create a Doom 4 experience designed from the ground up to be used with the Oculus Rift, with gameplay mechanics and features that take full advantage of a virtual environment.
It’s actually kind of perfect when you think about it –- the studio that created the first-person shooter creates the virtual reality shooter. Doom 4 shouldn’t just be an FPS, it should be a VRS. You can have that one for free, id, the rest is up to you. Hopefully you’ll finally let us in on what you’re actually working on next week at QuakeCon. And hopefully, for your sake, it will have been worth the wait.
Mike Sharkey is a former GameSpy (RIP!) editor. He’s currently contributing to IGN and Game Front while constructing a massive robot designed to save the world. Follow @mjsharkey on Twitter.