The original concept of Doom 4 is well known to FPS fans as "Call of Doom" for the way it took the series in a more scripted and cinematic direction, similar to Activision's Call of Duty series. At least, it would have, had Bethesda not pulled the plug on it years ago. The reasons for its cancellation have never been made entirely clear, but in the first part of a new documentary on the history of the game, called Doom Resurrection, some id Software veterans (and one relative newcomer) reveal a little bit more about what went wrong.
Doom 4 was "a lot more cinematic," and had "a lot more story to it, a lot more characters around you that you were with throughout the course of the gameplay," id Software's Marty Stratton says in the video. "It was definitely a twist on Doom that took it into a much more cinematic, much more scripted type of experience."
It was "awesome," in the words of Hugo Martin, formerly of Naughty Dog, who served the creative director on the 2016 release of Doom, but it didn't fit the mold. "As a concept I can see why they went there, because I would probably want to explore that too—if it wasn't a Doom game," he says. "To tell a bigger story, it sacrificed the Doom Slayer. And Doom is about one guy involved in big things, and Doom 4 Classic was more about the big things."
The second part of the documentary, released today, digs into the process of designing the game's opening level. As a reboot of one of the most famous FPS franchises of all time, it had to be done right, but getting there was harder (and also a lot funnier) than you might think: The studio struggled for a long time with setting the tone and establishing the player's motivations, before finally deciding to acknowledge the obvious truth.
"We were like, let's just—everybody knows. We know, they know, everybody knows," Martin says. "You're expecting the game to be like, 'Maybe it's an occult, and it's a secret, and no one knows.' How about as soon as you walk in, it's playing on a fucking megaphone? 'We need volunteers for the Revenant Program. We're gonna turn people into demons!"
That's good stuff. Part one is above, part two is below.