Sorry, Doom dreamers: John Carmack wishes John Romero 'the best' but they're not working on a secret new project together

John Carmack, chief technology officer for Oculus VR, speaks during the Oculus Connect 6 conference in San Jose, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Facebook's virtual reality unit Oculus on Wednesday announced Facebook Horizon, described as an ever-expanding VR world where people can interact with others as digital avatars. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Image credit: Bloomberg (Getty Images))

To many, id Software co-founders John Carmack and John Romero were the Lennon and McCartney of videogames: Their friendship was strained to the breaking point by creative friction, but the work they did together literally changed the world. They've both done good stuff since then, but, well... it's not quite the same, is it? But while some deeply committed fans may have dreamed that the passage of time would enable them to come together again to work on a new masterpiece, Carmack recently said on Twitter that it ain't gonna happen.

Idle dreams about a renewed partnership between the Johns were given fresh life during an AMA held by Romero last week to mark the release of his autobiography, Doom Guy: Life in First Person. Naturally, questions about their split and the state of their current relationship came up, and Romero indicated that their differences were not irreconcilable. In fact, they're still in touch.

"We could have stayed working together if we did things differently at the start of Quake," Romero said. "John and I have talked about it recently and the options we came up with are in the book."

And on the possibility of teaming up with Carmack to make an all-new Doom game: "John and I wouldn't work on a DOOM game—it would be a new game. But he's not into game dev so much anymore."

For the record, Romero is working on an all-new FPS "with a major publisher." Intriguing!

The bro-fest continued earlier this week when Romero revealed that the first back-of-the-book quote was from Carmack—and it is extremely gracious. 

(Image credit: John Romero (Twitter))

"John Romero's remarkable memory called up names and events that I hadn't thought about in a very long time, taking me back to the stress and joy of throwing everything we had at projects that truly did break new ground and touched millions of people," Carmack wrote.

"For years, I thought that I had been born too late and missed out on participating in the heroic eras of computing. Only much later did I realize that Romero and I were at the nexus of a new era—the 3D game hackers."

So clearly, any hard feelings between the two had been shelved, or at the very least weren't being aired publicly. That's a start, right? Alas, that's also as far as it's going to go.

"@romero‘s autobiography is out, filled with tons of details about the old days," Carmack tweeted. "To be completely clear—I wish him the best!

"To preempt the inevitable question, no, we aren’t planning to make a new game together."

(Image credit: John Carmack (Twitter))

The resurrection of id Software is a fun fantasy, although I don't think anyone really expected that Carmack and Romero would get the band back together for one more shot at glory. I'd be the first in line to play if it ever actually happened, but there are lots of good videogames out there already—frankly, I'm happy enough just knowing that the Johns are pals again. 

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.