ZeniMax Gives id Software Ultimatum on Development of Doom 4

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What an apt name for the situation at hand…Doom. After 5 years in development hell, more details have come to the surface about what exactly has been going on inside id Software during this tumultuous time, still with nothing to show for all their work on Doom 4.

Kotaku reports via four sources with connections to the doomed title, that the studio has been stilted and road-blocked by mismanagement and a pure lack of communication. Bethesda – parent company ZeniMax’s video games branch publisher – even confirmed that Doom 4 had been completely retooled after three whole years of development back in 2011, as Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Pete Hines stated;

“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. When we’re ready to talk about the Doom 4 Id is making, we will let folks know.”

Among inside jokes that the early versions of the title reminded them of something out of Call of Duty, there were also some bright moments and ideas that had the potential to create a new experience for gamers and fans of the franchise;

“There was lots of concept art and prototype missions set up showing different parts of the earth being taken over, being warped and twisted into a hellish re-imagining… It’s not just the demons: everything around you is changing. Humans are starting to struggle to go through an environment that is partially familiar, partially unknown now.”

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Once Rage was shipped, the studio heads returned some of their focus to Doom 4 and discovered that many elements were not as they envisioned or hoped and so Doom 4 was rebooted. Then, at a big group meeting held with the intent of stirring and building motivation, John Carmack reportedly said something to the effect of; “Doom means two things: demons and shotguns” when asked what the franchise truly means to him. This is obviously not an encouraging sign of the future of id titles if such a simple, narrow-minded outlook on the genre is prevailing within the team.

The thing was that Rage 2 was being prematurely planned, but ZeniMax cancelled the sequel due to lacklustre sales and critical response and ordered everyone to refocus on making Doom 4 a reality – not only a reality, but a success that “can and should be as big as Skyrim.” Unfortunately, a power struggle and culture clash erupted once the two teams (Doom and Rage devs) combined and so any sort of morale boost created by ZeniMax’s rallying had been lost.

Now, we’re hearing that Doom 4 is to be expected on next-gen consoles and PCs, but only if the work of the team at id live up to the expectations of ZeniMax, who have given them an ultimatum. The specifics aren’t known, but it is likely to be to the effect of; ‘make something happen or you will cease developing games and move on to working solely on tech’. The whole story (which can be found via the link at the top) is fascinating with so many more quotes on the process that you may find intriguing.

Personally, I believe id are past their time…Rage all but proved that. What do you guys think? Do you have hope for not only Doom 4, but id Software as well?

I am a graduate of the Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment (w/ major in Games Design) course at Qantm College, Sydney.

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