John Carmack On Doom 4, id Software, & Quake Live: Full Of Regret
In honor of Doom’s 20th birthday, Wired Game|Life just posted a fantastic three-page interview with John Carmack. The former id Software Technical Director, and current Oculus VR CTO, touches on just about everything you would expect in a Carmack interview…but some of it (the last page especially) is a bit sad.
Carmack and Wired’s Chris Kohler touch on Doom, the early days, the FPS genre, and the like, but when it comes time to talk about Doom 4, Carmack sounds awfully regretful when talking about the prolonged development.
WIRED: Another question you probably can’t say much about but that everyone reading an article about Doom will want to hear—what’s up with Doom 4?
Carmack: That’s something I can’t really go into much in detail. It’s been hard—one of the things that was a little bit surprising that you might not think so from the outside, but deciding exactly what the essence of Doom is, with this 20-year history, is a heck of a lot harder than you might think.
that was id’s mantra for so long: “It’ll be done when it’s done.” And I recant from that. I no longer think that is the appropriate way to build games. I mean, time matters, and as years go by—if it’s done when it’s done and you’re talking a month or two, fine. But if it’s a year or two, you need to be making a different game.
Rushed game development rarely yields positive results, but the “done when it’s done” philosophy seemingly touted by many developers, particularly on the PC side — id, Valve, Blizzard, to name a few — can seriously complicate development and release down the road.
Backing up a bit, Carmack has the same kind of regretful, sad outlook on Doom 3 BFG never getting that promised Oculus support:
But I did feel really bad about the fact that I had pseudo-promised Doom 3 for the Rift when I was first talking about it, and now the fact that it didn’t get released, I felt personally uncomfortable with how that turned out.
The interview is a solid mix of calling out id/ZeniMax misfires and 90′s id Software nostalgia. Take ten minutes and read it, if you haven’t already.
Similarly, I came across this John Carmack-Quake Live tweet on NeoGAF today. It’s not from the interview, but it has the same regretful tone seen in the article.
@mamantoha The last couple years, I pushed for moving Quake Live to Steam, but it just wasn’t a priority for Zenimax.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) November 8, 2013
Quake Live is/will be a standalone title of sorts by the end of 2013 — an odd move instead of exposing it to the massive Steam community. Money is a factor, as always, but why turn away from a user base of 65 million people? That question, along with any others you might have about id Software 2012-2014, will probably be answered well after those Kennedy assassination papers are declassified.