Bethesda's original Doom 4 was canned for being "Call of Doom"


Bethesda Softworks has never been very clear about why it felt the need to shut down the development of Doom 4 and start over from scratch. Marketing Vice President Pete Hines said at the time that the game in its initial state "didn't exhibit the quality and excitement" the studio was looking for, but that's far from specific. However, in a more recent interview with Polygon following last week's unveiling of the new Doom at E3, Hines was more forthcoming, saying that the initial iteration of the game was too far from the original Doom, and too close to a certain very popular modern military shooter.

"We weren't happy with the game that was being made," Hines said. "We decided that it wasn't Doom enough and needed to be thrown out and started over. Some folks left and some faces changed at the studio. Out of that change—which was not easy for those guys to go through—some amazing things happened."

Foremost among those things was the development of id Tech 6, which Hines said wouldn't have happened if the project hadn't been reset. It also resulted in a much-needed influx of new blood at id Software, which "injected a lot of life" into the team.

We got a look at a partial Doom 4 cinematic back in May (which has since been removed over a copyright claim, but for now you can watch it here) and although it's brief, it definitely seems to fit the mold of what Hines described as a "Call of Doom or BattleDoom game," which he said came off more like a reskinned version of a different franchise.

"It wasn't fast enough. The way that the demons worked, the visceralness of the combat, all the stuff you see with the finishing moves and all of that, wasn't part of it at all," he said. "The combat was more disconnected. You almost found yourself taking cover at times and using things from other first-person shooter games which, again, might be fine for them, but for Doom it just didn't feel right."

The full interview runs about 25 minutes, and covers a lot of ground on Fallout 4, Dishonored 2, and The Elder Scrolls: Legends. If you're interested in any of these games (and surely at least one of them does something for you), it's definitely worth watching in full.

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.