Doom Eternal is the first game in the series to ship without an online deathmatch mode, which is noteworthy because Doom pioneered it. But pioneer or not, Doom 2016's take on the format didn't set the world ablaze, and in an interview with Shacknews, Bethesda VP Pete Hines makes a good case for the mode's absence in the new game.
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"The biggest problem we thought we had with Doom 2016 was that [multiplayer] wasn't done at id, and felt really disconnected from the base game that everybody loved,” he said. “Whether you're playing by yourself or with others, we want it to feel like you're all playing the same game. That's as opposed to, ‘I'm a badass demon slayer in singleplayer, but when I go over to multiplayer, there are no demons, and it's just Deathmatch.’ I don't know what that has to do with [Doom] other than that, well, a couple of decades ago we had that, so we should just have that again.”
Hines also said that the mode is "eons old", and that Bethesda and id Software didn't want to include deathmatch as a matter of course.
The world is awash in popular deathmatch modes, and the pace of modern Doom does feel somewhat at odds with the staid human-versus-human format. Why lob rockets at a different coloured Doomguy when you could be brutally extracting giant eyes from a Pain Elemental? Doom Eternal's battle mode, an assymetrical 1v2 format that pits a Doomguy against two demons, is much more in keeping with the flavour of modern Doom.
Though the jury's still out on whether it's good: James' review of Doom Eternal was glowing, but he was entirely focused on the singleplayer aspect. We'll have more thoughts on battle mode soon.