Doom Eternal's long-awaited follow-up is a medieval prequel called Doom: The Dark Ages

First revealed at today's Xbox Games Showcase, id Software's follow-up to 2020's Doom Eternal will be a medieval flavored prequel called Doom: The Dark Ages. The brief trailer showed off Doom Guy's new look (complete with furry Game of Thrones cape!), some gameplay snippets, and a planned 2025 release window.

The big takeaway? The Doom Guy (Slayer if you prefer) has a goddamn combo Captain America shield/chainsaw that he can bounce around between enemies. That's already enough to get me through the door, but id is also seriously upping its game when it comes to shooter levels that look like they should be Metalcore album art, with all the colossal fantasy spires and terrain made of giant demon skeletons I've come to expect from the series. We also get a look at an extremely on-brand gun that chews skulls into live ammunition that PC Gamer Global Editor-in-Chief Evan Lahti has labeled "a cerebral slapchop."

We're also getting Doom's first sampling of vehicle combat, strangely enough, with dragon riding shown off in the trailer and a mech suit mentioned in Microsoft's first press release about the game: "Take flight atop the new fierce Mecha Dragon and stand tall in a massive Atlan mech as you beat titanic demons to a pulp."

The reveal was a bit less of a surprise than it might otherwise have been, with its name and general concept having leaked almost two weeks before Microsoft's showcase. Still, id's Doom reboot series has been such a winner, it's hard to undercut the excitement of this announcement.

Doom 2016 was kind of a revelation: it's easy to take the boomer shooter's new lease on life for granted now, but the indie explosion of old school FPSes owes a lot to id's lightning-fast, acrobatic reboot of the series that defined the genre. Doom Eternal was one of those "bigger and better" sequels in almost every way, introducing new mechanics, weapons, and challenging enemies like the infamous Marauder.

The Dark Ages has also been ably set up by the neo Doom series' extensive lore: it's all very lofty and heavy metal, with more of a focus on fun than continuity, but basically: after the events of the '90s Dooms, the Doomguy went down into Hell to keep doing his Doomguy thing, killing demons and whatnot and joining a society of mythic heroes called the Night Sentinels. Things went south with the Sentinels eventually, and the Slayer got locked up in a coffin before getting unleashed in another timeline's Mars just in time to go through a retelling of his first adventure: Doom 2016.

Make sense? Doesn't matter. The important thing is that it's all rad as hell.

The idea of a more medieval Doom also brings to mind one of id's other foundational FPS franchises: Quake. Before it was all Stroggification and Space Marines, Quake's look was defined by the sort of heavy metal, battle axe, Ragnarök chic that's now been co-opted by Dooms Eternal and The Dark Ages. With Doom now taking over that lane, I gotta wonder where Quake fits into any future plans for the studio.

Regardless, more Doom is, well, more Doom, and I can't wait to see where id takes this series next year.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.