Doom Eternal is on the horizon, and it looks awesome. If you liked the first game as much as we did, there's a lot to be excited about—grapple hook shotguns, a shoulder-mounted flamethrower, and a laser axe. And other things, if those three somehow aren't enough for you. At E3 2019, id finally unveiled Doom Eternal's release date, showed off new gameplay, and introduced Battlemode, Doom's new take on multiplayer.
Here's everything we know about Doom Eternal before its release in 2020. And everything we learned this year from id's big annual show, QuakeCon.
What's Doom Eternal's release date?
Doom Eternal will release on March 20, 2020.
Doom Eternal is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.
Check out the latest Doom Eternal trailer from January
The new trailer above is pretty, but also pretty standard, Doom fare of running and gunning. Among the familiar Cacodemons and Mancubuses are two new enemies: the Marauder and Gladiator. There's also a glimpse of the Crucible in action: a glowing red sword which featured briefly in Doom 2016 and is returning as part of the main arsenal.
Here's some bloody fresh Doom Eternal gameplay
This gameplay footage from YouTuber TheSpudHunter, shows off Doom Eternal in Nightmare mode. You can spot one of the game's Slayer Gates, the sequel's version of Rune Trials.
We played Doom Eternal, here's our gameplay
Chris had a hell of a time with his hands-on of Doom Eternal at a preview event last year. Watch his gameplay above.
After 3 hours with Doom Eternal, here’s what we liked—and what we didn’t
More recently, Wes and Andy played three very polished hours of Doom Eternal and came away with conflicting (but mostly positive) thoughts.
"People are going to go wild for Doom Eternal. There’s something inherently lovable about its brash, no-nonsense energy. It feels amazing in your hands, especially when that flow kicks in and you’re completely hypnotised by the violence. But after playing it for about two hours non-stop, I know that, at home, 40 minutes at a time will be enough for me," said Andy.
Combat is feeling amazing, as expected, but the pair have reservations about the platforming section they played. "It was linear and didn't engage my mind at all, the way exploring classic Doom levels would have me mapping out a 3D space in my head. That's what I missed most in Eternal. Give me some of those labyrinthine levels and I'll be happy," said Wes.
Here's the (spoilery) first 10 minutes of Doom Eternal in 4K
The first 10 minutes of Doom Eternal captured by IGN are mostly just the same demon slaying we already know to expect. If you want to see more demon flesh sloughing off their bones in Doom's gross new gore system, catch more of that above.
Here's the Battlemode gameplay reveal from Quakecon 2019
Developer id took to the stage at E3 to give fans a good look at Doom Eternal's ambitious 1v2 multiplayer, Battlemode. We learned that there will be five playable demons: the Revenant, Pain Elemental, Mancubus, Arch-vile, and Marauder. There are six maps at launch, but more maps and demons will be added for free later on.
The mechanics on display really sell the idea of "reflexes versus strategy" that id has been talking about with Battlemode. The demon players don't worry as much about their aim as summoning AI demons and other hazards that weaken the Doomslayer. Meanwhile, the Doomslayer player is more-or-less playing a level of Doom, except the demons are way smarter and ammo is more scarce.
Director Hugo Martin breaks down the new & classic demons of Doom Eternal
A new NoClip documentary brought in Doom Eternal game director Hugo Martin to talk about the game's new and classic demons. It's cool to see how many demons are returning from DOOM 2, but it's even cooler to see the brand new baddies in action. Here's every demon covered in the video:
- Whiplash (New): A slithering demon that flanks the Doomslayer and whips him dead
- Tentacles (New): An "ambient AI" enemy that ambushes the Doomslayer from holes in the wall
- Marauder (New): Doomslayer's demon rival who players will fight several times in the game
- Doom Hunter (New): A demon-machine hybrid that floats on a hovering tank and a bunch of weapons
- Carcass (New): A defensive demon that puts up a protective wall. Rocket launchers not recommended.
- Pain Elemental (Classic): A Cacodemon-like flying demon with creepy arms
- Arachnotron (Classic): A brain with legs that fires grenades and can climb on walls
- Archvile (Classic): The classic Doom summoner that tries to call in reinforcements
- Hellified Soliders (Classic): Basic soldier gruff with a nasty bite
How long is Doom Eternal's campaign?
"It's definitely bigger than Doom 2016, longer," Stratton said. "I think the way we're challenging players will probably make it play a bit longer. My guess right now is it's in the 18-22 hour range on a pretty complete playthrough."
Creative director Hugo Martin backed up that estimate in early 2020 saying, "We're hell-bent on engaging you from beginning to end," Martin told Gamespot. "This is a 22-plus hour game,"
Calm down, it'll be on Steam
Pretty much nobody likes Bethesda's game launcher, and nothing makes people angrier than when Epic makes an exclusive deal with a new game. Well, chill. Doom Eternal will be released on Steam.
We’re pleased to announce that RAGE 2, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, and DOOM Eternal will be released on Steam as well as https://t.co/p0BARqmTBp. We will also be bringing Fallout 76 to Steam later this year.March 25, 2019
It's also coming to Google Stadia
The original Doom runs on everything, so maybe Doom Eternal is fixing to do the same. It'll be released on upcoming game streaming platform Google Stadia. So even if you don't have a fantastic GPU, you might be able to play it in 4K anyway—though it's worth pointing out that Jarred played 2016's Doom using Stadia and the latency got him killed.
Doom Eternal has a hub where Doomguy spends his free time
Doomguy needs time to chill between intense demon slayings. While answering questions from the official Doom fan club, executive producer Marty Stratton tried to quietly ask creative director Hugo Martin a question that was picked up by his microphone.
"Should we talk about the hub? Maybe?" Stratton said. They didn't talk about the hub, but our ears definitely perked up. I wonder what purpose a hub will serve in Eternal. Doomguy probably won't be conversing with a band of characters like Wolfenstein, so it may just be a fancy level select.
Eventually, Martin gave a hint of what to expect from the hub. "You'll see kind of, like, where he hangs out," Martin said. "Again, if you care. You'll see how he spends his free time, and you'll learn a lot about him through the game, if you look for it and pay attention."
At a recent preview event, Andy took some time to thoroughly explore Doomguy's pad and ponder what it tells us about him.
Battlemode is Doom Eternal's demon vs. Doomslayer multiplayer mode
Battlemode is a 1v2 competitive mode starring where one Doomslayer takes on 2 player-controlled demons in a match of "skill versus strategy." The demons appear to all have unique movement options and abilities while the Doomslayer can make use of the game's huge arsenal of weapons. It looks pretty unique, especially compared to the bland multiplayer romp in Doom 2016. At E3 2019, id sat down with us to reflect on Doom's multiplayer.
"Thematically and just from its fundamental design story, it was a little bit of Halo, a little bit Doom, a little bit of Quake, but it was none of what people loved from the campaign," said executive producer Marty Stratton.
"There's no meta, there's no real strategy there," said creative director Hugo Martin. "It's just like, my thumbs are better than yours. But when you can overcome someone's twitch skills with strategy and teamwork, that means now there's a meta that emerges, and [Battlemode] is loaded with metas."
id wants Battlemode to be just as much about strategy as reflexes, which could be really unique. It's even got damage numbers, which basically makes it esports-ready. Check out the trailer above.
Doomguy can blast off enemies' weapons & armor to create weak points
Demons in #DOOM Eternal are destructible. You'll blast off chunks of armor and flesh from your enemies as you unleash your arsenal. https://t.co/4WubJuZeGO pic.twitter.com/Tev99b9ywDAugust 10, 2018
Creator director Hugo Martin says that there will be twice as many demons in Doom Eternal compared to the Doom 2016 reboot. It's unclear whether he means twice as many types of demon or just double the number of demons to kill. Either way, it will be a bloodbath.
For bigger demon battles, the Doomslayer can now disable enemy weapons by targeting damage to that specific area. During his time with the game, Chris said this added a nice tactical flair to arena fights.
From the trailer it looks like we'll be fighting Imps, Hell Knights, Spiderdemons, and Cacodemons-with-arms (aka Pain Elementals from the original Doom). At QuakeCon, we saw updated Arachnotrons, the Arch-vile, and the Marauder. The latter "looks like the Slayer," says Bethesda, and "there's a story behind that."
There's improved damage modeling on 'em, too, which you can glimpse in the clip below and the Tweet above:
The gameplay implications of this damage modeling are pretty awesome, and mean you won't be just dumping bullets into an enemy's hitbox before they fall. Shoot at a mancubus' arm cannons or the arachnotron's turret well enough and you'll be able to disable them.
He'd still be able to attack and stuff like that, but that you would alter the effectiveness of his attacks," Martin said.
"He doesn't have his main attack anymore, at that point he'd have to start to rely on his secondary attack, which in the case of the arachnotron he has missiles that, they're like these little grenades that he pops out of these little compartments on his side," Martin continued. "He's got a pretty good melee swipe, so he's capable to do some pretty cool melee stuff. We think that stuff's really strong. We want the AI, certain chess pieces to command your attention, you know what I mean? And ask a bit more of you as the player."
Don't count on every demon having that level of weapon destructibility, though. The hard-nosed Pinky, being a melee charge kind of attacker, has no use for a weapon, so you'll still just take them out by circling around to their squishy backside.
What do we know about Doom Eternal's guns?
At QuakeCon, we saw concept art showing Doomguy's new arm blade, the 'Ballista' which can "spear demons with an explosive bolt," the Super Shotgun, which now has a 'meat hook' on the end (for grappling), and more. Check out the clip below:
Chris also tried out the new ballista, which fires a powerful shot similar to Doom 2016's gauss cannon. "It can also charge a shot that sticks to an enemy for a few moments before exploding—I don't know what purpose there is in the delay, but it is kinda fun watching the monster squirm around as it realize it's about to blow."
Doom Eternal is set in a literal Hell on Earth
Earth, overrun by hell. As shown by this gnarly concept art, the planet's skyscrapers and streets are bursting open at the seams with hell energy while demonic tentacles are strangling everything they touch. The environment suggests we'll be fighting in wider levels with a bit more spectacle than the original reboot's Martian facility.
Probably the most surprising thing about the QuakeCon 2018 footage was seeing usernames in the air above various demons' heads. Turns out players can "invade" another player's session as demons and work together to doom the Doomguy, not unlike Dark Souls' invasion mechanic. If that sounds like a less awesome version of hell to you, id Software confirmed that you can turn the feature off.
id Software's Marty Stratton implied this reflects a change in approach to Doom.
"We're not just making a Doom game anymore," id's Marty Stratton said. "We're building a Doom universe."
It's still not yet clear if players will have a choice of which demon they inhabit, how those demons will feel to play, and just how much of a jerk we can be to fellow players. Invasion Mode will be added as a free update sometime after Doom Eternal's launch.
Is Mick Gordon composing?
The soundtrack will be composed by Mick Gordon, who did music for Lawbreakers, both of the modern Wolfenstein games, Killer Instinct and the 2016 Doom reboot.
Doom 2016 composer Mick Gordon has some new tricks up his sleeve. Back in early January, Gordon put out a video asking for heavy metal screamers to send in audition tapes for a “heavy metal choir.” Sounds positively lovely. Gordon will be recording that choir in the first week of March, and tryouts last until the first week of February, so get screechin’. Gordon hasn’t confirmed whether or not the choir will be used in Doom Eternal, but I mean, c’mon. It’s perfect.
Doomguys die twice?
For a series built on going back to shooting basics, id still has room for some new mechanics, namely the extra lives system you may have seen pop up in the QuakeCon gameplay video. In an interview with VG247, Doom Eternal executive producer Marty Stratton explained that: “it’s just like our checkpoint system.
“It’s just now you don’t have to go all the way back to the checkpoint and play back through that combat encounter. So if you’re almost to another checkpoint or you’re in a boss fight or something, your extra life, if you die, kicks in and the screen goes grey and you are invulnerable for a little bit. You can keep fighting, reposition yourself, and you’re right back in the action where you left off without losing any progress.”
Will there be mod support?
Doom Eternal has no plans for mod support at launch, but might support them "down the road," id Software said.
Game director Marty Stratton said during a Q&A session that there was "no guarantee" of mod support, but that Doom Eternal developers had worked to make the game's code "more flexible" and that mod support is a "long-term initiative," also saying mod support is "important" to him and senior staff.
"We have definitely swung the pendulum back pretty far towards being able to that," Stratton said. "I hope down the road, in the not-near future but the not-too-distant future, we can have a better conversation about that.”
Doom has a long (and really weird) history with mods, so fingers crossed.
Centered weapon view is in at launch, thankfully
Don't worry, you can set your weapons to centered view from the start in Doom Eternal. A few devs showed off the option in the video above and, I have to admit, it looks amazing. Centered view wasn't added to Doom 2016 until a post-launch update, so it's cool to see it included immediately this time around.
Will there be DLC?
Game director Marty Stratton confirmed to Polygon at QuakeCon 2018 that single-player DLC will be coming to Doom Eternal.
More recently, executive producer Marty Stratton told Official Xbox Magazine that post-launch support will be a big focus for id Software. "We see hundreds and hundreds of thousand players continuing to play Doom 2016, and we’ve got nothing [for them]," he said. "They’ve asked for more DLC, they’ve asked for more ways to play, and honestly we got straight into the development of Doom Eternal and haven’t given them anything.
"So I’m really excited about things like Master Levels," he continued, "and the DLC that we have, new challenges that we’ll be offering on a monthly or weekly basis, we’ll be continuing to support Battle Mode, adding Invasion, we’ve got so much that we want to do post-launch, really giving players what they’ve been asking us for, coming back for more of the game, and giving them some more variety in that experience."
Doom 64 is coming to PC
Alongside Doom Eternal, Doom 64 is being released on PC—originally, it was only announced for Switch. If you preorder Doom Eternal you'll get a copy of Doom 64 for free, or you'll be able to buy on its own. Either way, it Doom 64 will arrive on PC on March 20, 2020.
That's all great, but I want to play it right now
Well, you'll just have to wait. But in the meantime, you can play a modded version of 1994's Doom 2, called Doom Eternal XP. It brings in some of Doom Eternal's weapons like the Crucible and shoulder-mounted flamethrower. It even recreates Doom Eternal's dodge skill. Hopefully that will tide you over for a bit! You can find out more about the Doom Eternal XP mod right here.