Bethesda's legal department drops the hammer on Doom Remake 4 mod

Doom Remake 4 is (or was) a massive mod compilation, first released in August 2018, that brings Classic Doom into the modern era. We took a look at the updated Experimental Edition in May and it was very impressive, with 3D models, high-resolution textures, physical based rendering, and bodies you can blast into sticky chunks because they're not just sprites anymore. The core game itself remained completely unchanged, however: The maps and weapons are both exactly as they were in the original game. 

As a result of a cease-and-desist letter from Bethesda Softworks, however, the mod is no longer available. 

"I announce our shutdown of the page. It's with a great sadness that I'm posting today; I recently received a letter from ZeniMax Media Inc to end production on Doom Remake 4. After a few days, I've exhausted my options to keep it afloat; we knew this day was a possibility," modder vasyan777 wrote on June 8

"I've talked to legal counsel, and they stated that there would be a high chance of us winning the argument, since this is a mod, but the legal fight would take most likely a year(s) and cost around 100k." 

Vasyan777 did attempt to keep the project afloat by re-releasing an updated build that they believed would bring the project into compliance with Bethesda's demands. "The legal problem with the previous build was that it was distributed as a stand-alone release which was using Doom IP," they wrote in the updated mod description. "The new build REQUIRES an actual original game which you will have to purchase from GOG or Steam."

That was not actually the problem, however, or at least not the only problem, and a subsequent rejection letter gave vasyan777 until June 20 to remove all ZeniMax Media properties from the internet, halt all development of the Doom Remake 4 project, destroy all code and materials related to it, and promise to never do it again. 

"Unfortunately I had to remove all downloads due to legal issues not being sorted," vasyan777 wrote in the most recent update. "I thought ZeniMax would approve the new build because this time it was distributed as a mod, but it seems the problem was a 'third-party game engine' which they said is illegal to use with Doom IP (this is very weird since Doom Remake 4 was bundled with GZDoom which is just a Doom source port forked from original Doom engine which is GPL)." 

Thanks, PC Gaming Wiki

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.