Doom 4 and the 10 unholy commandments

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[El Dango loves himself some Doom, which might explain his apprehension towards the upcoming tentatively titled Doom. I like his reasoning on what could avoid a potentially disastrous release but what do you think? Start a blog today and maybe offer your own ideas! -Striderhoang]

Doom 4 is a thing that’s happening, whether you like it or not. You should like it, of course, but sadly, you may have plenty of reasons not to. After all, is there anything worse than a disappointing sequel?

If you have any sense of priority, then yes, there are thousands, but it’s still a bummer when it happens. The fear of a bad sequel tends to be more common when there are long gaps between releases, as the creators are usually either replaced or have had plenty of time to lose their touch. We got a new team working on a new Doom, and seeing as those games only come out every 10-12 years, there’s plenty to be both excited and frightened about. Excightened.

Having recently been reminded how amazing the original Doom is (especially with certain mods attached), I have decided to make a coherent overview of what kind of guidelines that the new developers should follow in order to make this particular lightning strike twice. 10 commandments so to speak, but of the unholy, demonic kind. Y’know, to fit the theme.

It’s right below you.

Game design has come a long way since 1993, and whether or not that’s for the better or worse is a question that you probably shouldn’t ask because, frankly, the answers to that tend to be rather lengthy and angry. What I will say is that the developers of this new and exciting game should probably do their best to figure out what modern standards do and do not work with the gameplay of a proper Doom game. Minimaps and waypoints, for example, are probably a bad idea. Stuff like that takes away from the concentration that you’re probably going to need when you accidentally open a door that lets out like 50 enemies at a time. A weapon wheel, on the other hand? That’s probably gonna work out pretty well. That’s all the detail I’m gonna go into. The important thing is to balance these things out, and not mindlessly following trends for the sake of it.

This one may actually deserve the number one spot more (assuming the order of these even means anything), but at the very least, it needs to be mentioned: simply calling it Doom is not going to work. It didn’t work with Sonic (2006), it didn’t work with Tomb Raider (2013), so why would it ever have a chance of working here? People are either going to call it Doom 4 (like I do) or Doom 2015/16, because Doom is and always will be the name of the original game and no silly reboot trends are ever going to change that. Expecting people to jump through hoops like this is unreasonable. It’s borderline delusional if you ask me and it’s never, ever worked. Just give up and call it Doom 4, or give it some kind of subtitle to differentiate it. Don’t pick a pointless fight with your audience that you can’t possibly win.

What bothers me especially is how much this reeks of incompetence and it makes me worried about the game. If creativity is running this low in the naming department, we have no reason to believe that the game will be any better. On the flip side, an original and passionate sounding name is the kind of thing that inspires confidence in your product. Even something as cheesy as say, Doom: Hellblaster would be a huge improvement (over what is essentially nothing, but still). I’d play the shit out of a game called Doom: Hellblaster! Blasting some hell sounds like a hell of a time!

Granted, this is the only thing that has me even remotely worried about the game’s quality so far but it’s still very, very lazy, so it’s worth a spot on the stone tablet regardless. Give it a real name.

Painkiller is a somewhat popular game with some fun weapons, some cool looking levels and at least one pretty cool boss fight. That said, everyone claiming it’s even comparable to something like Doom is eventually gonna get punched in the throat by a mysterious figure wearing a fox mask and clown pants. See, in Painkiller, you kill every enemy you see, walk over to a red dot, kill the next wave of enemies and repeat until you win. That’s it. Sure, it has some cool weapons and creative looking enemies, but there is no fucking level design. It’s just places! Places you’d go to in real life, like a train station, or an amusement park, or a haunted orphanage, except all you do is shoot all the bad guys. You don’t shoot them because you want to, but because it’s what you have to do. An enemy gets lost or stuck in Painkiller? You gotta track the mo’fo down. Same thing happens in Doom? No biggie, just continue trying to find the exit.

See, the exit should be your objective, not the enemies. Fuck the enemies! The enemies are awesome and essential but fuck ’em! You shoot an enemy, you do it to survive, that’s what Doom is. You want to kill these guys because they’ll turn your ass into bacon any chance they get, not because the game says you have to. Having to figure out each level is what keeps Doom from getting repetitive and Painkiller has nothing like this going for it.

STRAFE® looks pretty cool though so you can make it like that. You have my permission!

“Please help, I need medical attention!”

“I’ve got your medical attention RIGHT HERE!”

“Sir, that is very rude and unhelpful.”

Yo devs, if you ever get kidnapped by terrorists and they force you to pick between making Doom: Hellblaster like either Painkiller or Doom 3, please do that Men In Black thing and forget everything I just said. Painkiller may not be the ideal role model, but it has heart. It has good intentions at least. There’s actual, legit fun to be had with it. Doom 3 is just a load of shite. It’s super impressive on a technical level for a 2004 game, but it’s a creative clusterfuck (have fun marketing that, Adobe) of hellish proportions.

“Aww, but it’s not that bad.” Yes it is, don’t lie to yourself. It provided none of the things that make Doom as infinitely playable as it is, replacing all the real, genuine fear and tense gameplay with shitty jump scares and flashlights and weapons that sound like someone is gently wiping their ass, even though it’s supposed to sound like metal being launched at a really high speed. But that’s okay, the weapons don’t really matter in a first-person sho-DON’T FUCKING-…!!!

Just don’t make this mistake again, alright? Don’t make another extremely poor Half-Life wannabe. At least make an extremely poor Painkiller wannabe, that’s more fitting.

Okay devs, so imagine you’re now captured by super terrorists who give you even less options and well, you get the idea.

Call of Duty might still be way better than Doom 3 (at least the guns sound like guns), but there’s something about the king of first-person shooters that trying to rip it off sounds really sad to me. I mentioned earlier that it was a bad idea to mindlessly follow trends, and Call of Doom is like the ultimate nightmare pinnacle of that fear. It wouldn’t exactly be dignified, would it? It would practically be throwing the towel, the franchise completely giving up on its own established and beloved identity.

What’s worse is that it’s hardly necessary. Doom is a pretty fucking huge deal. It may have happened a while ago, but everyone still knows about it, so ripping off something more recent seems like a waste. Furthermore, has this ever been a wise move? How many CoD wannabes out there are actually making it big right now? Hell, I’m pretty sure this kind of thing has actually hurt more sales than it has helped, like with Splinter Cell: Blacklist (which suffers heavily from ‘gets better later’ syndrome).

Seriously, Doom should not rip off anything, no matter what (except STRAFE®, that’s still okay). It’s silly that I even have to worry about this.

“Hey man, that’s my friend! Leave him alone!”

“What’s that, you want some too!?”

I want this game to be full of scary monsters that are gonna tear my ass apart, then make me come crawling back for more. The monster design is straight up legendary, and getting to see these guys again as modern HD, 3D models makes me very excited. It’s just important that they keep standing out and that they keep being different from each other. Also, I’d like to see some new ugly mugs in there. After all, if you’re not gonna add some new stuff, you might as well do a remake instead.

There are plenty of possibilities and I’m hoping to see some really smart and terrifying enemies in the new one. The hellish, blood-soaked sky is the limit, so hopefully we’ll see some really cool stuff once the game finally comes around. Something with wings and fangs and eyes in weird places. Creatures that could come from anywhere, forcing you to be more careful than ever.

Hey, remember how I almost just complained about weak sounding weapons? I hope so, otherwise I’m really worried about you.

Anyways, I want the shotgun to give me a massive ear-rection whenever I use it. That is the least of my demands. That is fundamental yo! If the game can’t grant this, all hope will be gone and I will spend the rest of my life in fetal position, crying and pissing myself to sleep every night.

But hey, let’s be optimistic and think about the ways all the weapons are gonna kick ass! Imagine the BFG, the rocket launcher, or even all the new weapons! IMAGINE THE SELFIE STICK!

They gotta look good, sound good and feel good! That’s the basics of it all and it really is quite simple, so my expectations are high for this one.

Not ‘open world’ open, but classic open. Don’t give me any forced gladiator combat. I wanna go from point A to point B in a really cool way, requiring me to explore and find cool weapons and shit. Good looking environments aren’t enough, give me mazes, traps and secret tunnels! Old Doom level design is the tits and sticking to that style is very, very important. I believe John Romero (pre-bitch making) wrote down a couple of level design notes that he followed himself, so go read those!

Also, with the technology of today, the levels can become a lot more vertical than ever before. Anything from tall towers to deep rifts in the ground will be possible, and I really hope the devs take full advantage of that, because it’s pretty much the reason to play the new one over the older ones, aside from the obvious visual upgrade.

I don’t know which ancient pharaoh that AAA gaming pissed off, but it seems to be cursed with a horrible inability to balance out single and multiplayer. Some games only stick to one, which is probably the smart choice but the whole situation has led to a bit of a split between my fellow button pressing enthusiasts. Some prefer single-player, others go multi. I’m not part of this war however, and I believe the newest Doom can satisfy both.

Honestly, I’m sure single-player is the biggest challenge here. Doom gameplay lends itself very well to multiplayer, largely due to its simplicity, so making that part work is all about adding a co-op partner and a couple of deathmatch arenas, possibly even based on single-player levels. As long as they don’t do anything that over complicates the game, single and multiplayer can co-exist peacefully (and maybe even have super hot sex with each other).

If you’re still not convinced that the Brutal Doom mod is the jizz of the gods, check this out:

Okay then, now go download it, play it, and be happy!

Alright, so it does have some weird features that don’t really add that much, but if the developers of the fourth Doom try going for a similar feel, they are basically already on the right path. I have no doubt that following Brutal Doom‘s example of a more modernized ’90s FPS will lead to a great end product. So in a way, this commandment may turn out to be the most important of them all.

They still gotta change the name though, seriously.

Thank you for reading the ugliest blog I’ve ever made. Before you comment, let me just say two things:

1. Don’t you fucking dare correct my Old English!

2. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂