What we want from Doom 4
Ready to feel old? It’s been a decade since Doom 3 came out. Game design and technology has come a long, long way since the olden times of 2004, so we’re excited about the prospect of a new Doom taking the shooter world by surprise. Now that there’s finally confirmation that we’ll learn more about Doom 4 at this year’s Quakecon, here’s everything we’d like out of the long-awaited Doom 4.
Doom 3 was dark and moody like a teenager’s Evanescence-themed bedroom, and that was fun for a little while. After a bit, though, enough is enough. Having to creep around, choosing between a flashlight and a shotgun is anathema to what Doom should be all about. We’re not in a Ridley Scott movie here—we’re battling the forces of hell on earth. Put a shotgun in our hands and let us sprint through clouds of demon blood! We don’t want to hide in a closet, we want to strap a nuke to our foreheads and headbutt Satan into orbit.
While we’re at it, put TWO shotguns in our hands. Wolfenstein: The New Order showed us the chaotic fun that can be found with a pair of fully automatic machine guns. Mixing and matching the baddest pieces of the legendary Doom arsenal would be loud, powerful fun.
The Largest BFG Known to Gods and Men
There are a lot of ways to feel powerful in a game, and it’s not always the best idea to cater to them too soon or too early. That said: when the chips are down and we’ve been kicked, shot, and nearly defeated, hand us the biggest fucking gun allowed by the material restrictions of physics. The BFG has become equal parts legend and in-joke in modern shooters, but remember when the BFG was the best and only way to chew through a room of bad guys? If Doom is coming back, the BFG has got to arrive as the B-est G we’ve ever F-ing seen.
Doom is the grandfather of the Deathmatch, but Doom 3’s multiplayer modes were...unevolved. Doom was already celebrated for being the first back in the 90s—now we need some innovation. Introducing asymmetric multiplayer like Left 4 Dead or the upcoming Evolve would be a great start, but anything would be more interesting than Doom 3’s rusty, brown corridors and instagib brawls. Give us something to fight over and changes to adapt to in order to bring Team Deathmatch back to life.
Exploding barrels were a big, fun, chaotic deal back when, but now we want environments that show the trauma of combat. Persistent bullet-holes and enemy corpses would be good, but even better would be the ability to make ourselves new doorways and firing positions by tearing a chunk out of a wall. Doom is the battle against hell on earth, so give us interesting ways to deal with it. The latest Wolfenstein used a laser cutter that was a little goofy, but the principle is sound.
Fix idTech 5 Already
It doesn’t matter how pretty Doom 4 is, or how incredible the combat is, if idTech 5's infamous texture lag problem continues. Pop-in textures put a real damper on the otherwise beautiful Rage, and it would be a real shame for Doom 4 to fall victim to a well-known, avoidable, technical problem. It would be great if idTech 6 finally arrived with a silver bullet for this demon, but at the very least idTech 5 has to stop repeating the mistakes of the past over and over.
Varied Enemies and AI
We hate to harp on it, but Doom 3 was really, really far away from the original theme: hell on earth. Through the pantheons of every world religion, hell is a place filled to the brim with demons and arch-demons of every shape and variety. When they cut loose on poor little Earth, we should get to fight more than two or three of them. Give us invisible demons, massive, hulking demons, demons made out of stone, tar, and sand—hell, give us demons we don’t even have words for. Different demons with different strengths and weaknesses will force us to adapt and think on our feet in ways that fleshy, anthropomorphic, more-like-aliens-than-demons demons never did.
A Singleplayer Experience Worth Repeating
When all is said and done, the singleplayer will eventually be over. Give us reasons to go back and do it all again. Other FPSs are great at this: Far Cry 3 had different traps and weapons to choose from, and Dishonored gave us so many powers to play with we had to go back and beat levels in new ways just to experience everything the game had to offer. Over in console-world, Halo’s toggle skulls make certain enemies faster or stronger just for the challenge of it. Bring this philosophy to the singleplayer experience so that we want to go back again and again.
Speaking of coming back to the singleplayer campaign, let us fight back the forces of hell with a buddy. We know, we know, Doom is best-known for being one soldier against all of hell. Having a friend drop-in and drop-out along the campaign gives all kinds of incentives for players to repeat the best and hardest levels with their friends. Look to Borderlands for proof that the best campaigns can be played alone or with a pal.
A Return to Form for id
Let’s be honest: id is having kind of a rough time. Looking back over the games released by id, there’s a bit of a pattern going on. Since Doom 3 in 2004, the only game id released that wasn’t a classic remake was Rage. Doom 4 has been started and restarted and sidelined, and now John Carmack has left to go make the Oculus Rift. id, show us that the 90s weren’t your only good years. Show us that you can reinvent yourselves. A strong release for Doom 4 would shut up all the naysayers and let us know that even though you started the FPS genre, you're more than just a piece of the genre’s history.