In the ten years since Doom 3 was released, Doom 4 has been fabled, rumored, delayed, and scrapped and started over at least once. Id finally pulled back the curtain on Thursday during an exclusive reveal at QuakeCon 2014. In front of a packed auditorium at the 19th annual LAN party/PC game convention, id played a pair of live gameplay demos (running on PC) showing very different parts of the game. As a thanks to fans here in Dallas, the reveal wasn't streamed online and was for attendees only.
The game, for one thing, will not be called Doom 4, but simply Doom, and it will take place on Mars. According to Executive Producer Marty Stratton, the game will be going back to what made the original great: fast action, run-and-gun, inventive and creative combat. He also dropped the news that Doom will be running on id Tech 6, a much-needed update to the years-old technology that has run previous games from id (and struggled with texture pop-in and other technical problems).
There was a lot of combat on display, and all of it was vicious and full of strafing. The game shows off the verticality we've seen in a lot of titles, like Crysis 3, with double-jumps and jetpacks allowing the player to cross gaps and find high ground. Large crates and gaps can be climbed to reach new areas or just to escape from attacking enemies.
The mechanic that everyone's going to be talking about for the rest of QuakeCon, though, is the hand-to-hand finishing moves. After significantly damaging an enemy, they'll flash and highlight. By stepping close, the player is able to start a variety of combat moves that would be more at home in Mortal Kombat than most shooters. We saw lower jaws pulled off, skulls stomped on, and hearts torn out with the level of detail usually reserved for those slow-mo bullet cams in the Sniper Elite series. Unfortunately, in the ten minutes of gameplay I saw a few repetitions. Given the fullness of time, will we get tired of repetitive killing moves? Maybe, but the first few times will probably be a lot of fun.
Also making a triumphant return are massive weapons. We never saw the fabled BFG, but id is taking a lesson from Wolfenstein: The New Order's jumbo-sized arsenal. All of the guns are huge and clanking. The plasma rifle, in particular, took a few seconds to boot up and engage its various fans and heatsinks. It was a bit showy, but the weapon had a visible knock-back that made it valuable when rooms got crowded with enemies.
Speaking of the enemies, there were a ton of them on display. Small demons made themselves annoying while the larger beasts and Hell Knights stomped in to finish the job. All in all it was a fast, chaotic experience that played out with the same stomping, crashing gore that I remember from the glory days of Doom 2.
Id showed off two gameplay demos, and it made me think that the game is much further along than we'd previously guessed. This is just speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see the game released in the same late-spring window that Wolfenstein just enjoyed.
Tonight's reveal was tantalizing, but we don't know everything about the game yet. Like all fans we do have a wishlist—a few of which we saw tonight. For the others, though, here's everything we want out of Doom 4 .