For the third year running, I’ve gotten the opportunity to attend QuakeCon. Well, “attend” may lead you to believe I’m rocking a rig in the BYOC room and fawning over Bethesda’s afternoon pressers as new info on Fallout 4 spills my way.
I wish that were the case. More accurately, I’m enclosed behind a booth, which is in turn littered with garments that I’m selling to Dallas’ local PC...
New Doom Screens Make Mars Look Like a Helluva Place
Anybody gonna get mad if I just call it New Doom? Has a pleasant ring to it. As pleasant as anything called Doom can be anyway.
Here’s to a Helluva Good Time: Doom Reveal Impressions
Thanks to my travelling man stint courtesy of my job, I happened to get access to the closed-door reveal event for id Software’s Doom revival held at the 19th annual Quakecon. Yeah, they showed the game in action. Cutting straight to the point with a spinning chainsaw blade, the footage was absolutely fucking killer. I’ve never been so excited for Doom.
The presentation began with some foreplay – precursory details about the game that set the tone for where id is heading with this quasi-reboot. Namely, we’re going back to Mars, a setting the dev team felt Doom belonged (which all but squashes the originally proposed Earth backdrop). Though it’s unlikely you need any more preamble past “demons and shotgun,” the story revolves around a research institute called UAC experimenting on Hell’s denizens, combining machine and monster because… there’s nothing else to shoot on Mars?
id scrapped the “Doom 4” moniker in favor of just “Doom” for a reason. It’s not a remake so much as it’s an homage to everything about the series that’s been lauded and beloved by fans over it’s nearly twenty year lifespan. It was stressed that this game doesn’t fall in step with the modern day FPS convention of “cover-shooting” that forces you to wait behind barricades while your health regenerates. As in days of yore, this Doom has you running and gunning, dodging flying projectiles and getting in your enemy’s face for the kill. What was shown off was fast-paced, almost reckless gunplay that called back to the genre’s formative years.
The footage had our helmeted space marine navigating a darkly atmospheric environment that resembled a cross between Aliens’ LV-426 and Hellraiser’s torture-scapes. The levels aren’t one-dimensional planes, either. More than a few times, our marine dabbled in light platforming to get up and above; he’s even got himself a short jet-pack burst that serves as a sort of double jump.
Stopping and smelling the Martian roses became a secondary endeavor, however, once demons started spilling onto the scene. This… this is where I felt a yawning maw of a craving for this game and it’s because of a new combat mechanic that, honestly, every FPS might gladly rip-off once Doom drops. In the gorey heat of battle, you’ll sometimes notice a pulsing glow envelop enemies you weaken with gunfire. That gives you the ability to launch into an instant kill finisher that literally tears demons apart. We saw chest cavities caved in, heads knocked clean off, and things happen to jaws that shouldn’t happen to jaws.
The moves are contextually sensitive, meaning that if you’re near a wall, well of course your Doom Guy will bash a demon’s skull into it. Are they down on the ground? You’re mashing skulls like you’re making wine. Happen to be mid-air? Imagine the real world result of Mario descending boots first upon a Goomba. It adds a layer of moment-to-moment choice where the result is you mincing up a room of enemies in the most horrifically pleasing way possible.
And because you’re looking to revive your health instead of regenerate it, the dev’s cleverly have demons drop healing pick-up’s, encouraging you to blast and mash away in order to chain kills and keep your energy from falling. Instead of feeling like a holdover from FPS days of yore, it actually adds this frantic, kinetic feel to the combat that just makes me salivate.
The game plans on throwing the entire hordes of Hell and its next-door neighbors at you. Some fights escalated to rooms packed with a mixed-bag of enemy types. Fireballs and claws filled the player’s vision. Luckily, a new weapon radial allows you to pause the action Mass Effect-style and choose the best killin’ instrument to make sweet music with. And, man, do the weapons look awesome. There’s an automatic shotgun equipped with rapid-fire, an intensely accurate plasma rifle, the classic overpowered double-barrel, a friggin’ rocket launcher and – though conventional – a good ol’ fashioned chainsaw that provided the demo’s most gruesomely satisfying moments of bifurcation.
Multiplayer was confirmed, though only insomuch as to confirm it existed. Beyond that, 1080p and a silky 60fps were guaranteed for the next-gen title (yes, it being Quakecon, any mention of consoles was met with immediate and resounding “Boo’s”).
The footage killed it for the crowd, ovations and loudness ensuing. For me… It made a crater of an impression. What was shown doesn’t just seem like an evolution for this series but the potential push the entire FPS genre needs to break away from tired ideas introduced last-generation. It looks fast, bloody, and incredibly fun. id definitely has something big on their hands here. Bigger than a BFG.
Wolfenstein: The New Order Dated, Trailered, and Slapped with Doom 4 Beta
The Bethesda backed, MachineGames developed reboot of id’s famed Nahtzi killin’ vidja game officially has itself a date.
Wolfenstein: The New Order, which sees B.J. “Blast-to-Bits” Blazkowicz launching a counter-offensive against the Nazi force that’s conquered the free world since winning World War II (History 101 Spoiler:...
Doom Co-Creator Leaves id Software for Good
John Carmack, one of the original fab four that founded id Software, has resigned from the company after clocking in 22 years of service.
An outspoken supporter of the Oculus Rift – do a Google image search for “John Carmack” to view hundreds of pictures of the man shoving the virtual reality headset in people’s faces, his own included – it was previously announced Carmack would assume the role of chief technical officer at Oculus VR. Bethesda Softworks, id’s parent company since 2009, was quick to assure the public that Johnny Boy would still remain on board as a technical adviser.
Given the headline, that obviously fell through. Taking to the internet’s megaphone, Twitter, Carmack explained in earnest that “it just didn’t work out.”
“Probably for the best,” he wrote, “as the divided focus was challenging.”
Alongside industry personality John Romero, Carmack created Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake. In other words, some of the most influential video games to ever hit the market, and instrumental in forming the FPS genre as we know it today (sans all the recent military games; unless the military is downplaying the amount of demons, nazis, and nazi-demons it fights on a routine basis).
Presently, John is exiting the studio he founded amid development on the long gestating Doom 4 – a title first announced in 2008. Production on the sequel is said to have run into several hang-up’s, not least of which was a forced rebuild of the entire game and concept once the original build was deemed wholly unsatisfactory (while leaked assets for the game looked promising as hell, apropos to Hell finally being unleashed on Earth, internal sources say the game just wasn’t very Doom).
In a statement from id Software, the studio reports that Carmack’s exit will not negatively affect current projects, his work on the id Tech 5 engine and related technology already having been completed. “We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.”