Development of Doom (2016)


The revenant attacks in alternate cover art used for the collector's edition and season pass.

The 2016 Doom endured a lengthy development process spanning a period of eight years, beginning in August 2007 and ending with release on May 13, 2016, during which it was conceptualized and prototyped, scrapped, and then redeveloped from scratch.

Early development[edit]

Speculative Doom 4 logo previously found on

John Carmack confirmed in August 2007 that Doom 4 was in the future plans of id Software.[1] On May 7th, 2008, id announced that the development of Doom 4 had begun.[2]

In 2008, John Carmack stated that the game would have better graphics than Rage, but would be targeted to run at a lower frame rate of 30 frames per second.[3] id Software also intended to make Doom 4​'s multiplayer mode better than Doom 3​'s.[4]

Graham Joyce was slated to write the Doom 4 storyline as of January 2009,[5] but passed away in September 2014.

On April 10, 2009 GameSpot published an interview with id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead in which he revealed that Doom 4 was "deep in development." He stated however that the game was "not [in] pre-production". The development team was "relatively new" and id was "still actually hiring people" onto the Doom 4 team. GameSpot asked Hollenshead if Doom 4 is "a sequel? A reboot? A prequel?" and his response was "Gosh, that's actually an excellent question. It's not a sequel to Doom 3, but it's not a reboot either. Doom 3 was sort of a reboot. It's a little bit different than those."

On June 23, 2009, ZeniMax Media, best known for their subsidiary Bethesda Softworks, acquired id Software and announced that all future id Software games would be published by Bethesda Softworks, Doom 4 being one (in addition to Rage and future Quake titles).

During QuakeCon 2009, Todd Hollenshead mentioned that id Software would reveal new Doom 4 information at QuakeCon 2010, between 12-15 August.[6] However, during the latter event it was announced that there would be no news until the next year, as the development team was not ready to give a demonstration. Tim Willits did however talk to the press in May 2010 to boast: "it'll be even more awesome than Rage."

id Software technical guru John Carmack told OPM UK that anyone expecting to wait a long time for Doom 4 would have a shorter wait than first thought. Carmack told the magazine the shooter should not take as long to get out the door, unlike Rage, which was announced in 2007 at QuakeCon yet not scheduled for release until 2011. Producer Tim Willits told VG247 the following in May 2010: "Well we’ve got Doom 4 going on right now below our feet here. The Doom team are all sped up and working on this technology base – I’m not really at liberty to discuss much about it, but it’s going full steam ahead right now." He also added: "It shouldn’t take as long to ship as Rage. It’s already in the pipeline and we feel good about it."

On August 16, 2010, Todd Hollenshead apologized to Stephen Totilo of Kotaku for the game not appearing at QuakeCon in 2010, before mentioning that the game would be targeted for a simultaneous release on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, saying "That's absolutely what we're thinking."

At QuakeCon 2011, prior to the release of Rage, John Carmack stated that once Rage shipped, the id Software development team would move to Doom 4 to speed up the project. Rage was indeed released in October of that year, but without further information on Doom 4's development immediately available.

On 28 February 2012, some alleged screenshots were released on Official Xbox Magazine UK's website,[7] but these images were disavowed by id Software's creative director Matthew Hooper via Twitter by saying, "Those images have nothing to do with what you're gonna see in Doom 4. When we officially show things, you'll see awesome."

2013 Kotaku article[edit]

In April of 2013, Kotaku published an article describing Doom 4 as trapped in "development hell". Citing connections to id, the article claimed that Doom 4 had suffered under mismanagement, and that development had been completely restarted in 2011. Inside sources described the pre-2011 version, which was to portray the uprising of Hell on Earth, as heavily scripted and cinematic, comparing it to the Call of Duty franchise. The pre-2011 version was criticized as mediocre, but the sources also described the new version as "lame" and a "mess". [8]

2013 staff departures[edit]

Starting on June 26 with the abrupt resignation of Todd Hollenshead as company president and his accompanying resignation from the ZeniMax Media board of directors, incumbent id Software staff began to depart the company at an increasing rate. By November, John Carmack, who had earlier reduced his role to technical advisor, departed the company entirely to focus on work at Oculus VR as its Chief Technical Officer. The majority of the id Tech engine team is believed to have followed him, based on statements made by departing employees and allegations leveled against Oculus by ZeniMax Media in their lawsuit filed in 2014.

Beta testing announcement[edit]

Logo used to promote pre-order beta access.

In late February of 2014, Bethesda offered advance beta testing access to a product then simply called "DOOM", using a flat-shaded variant of the familiar logo, in conjunction with pre-orders of Wolfenstein: The New Order. The offer was explicit in mentioning that the product was not yet ready for testing and that those taking part in the promotion would be contacted later when the testing began. It was eventually clarified that the beta access was to be per platform (i.e. the Doom package to be tested would be for the same platform on which Wolfenstein was purchased), and that the platforms currently targeted for release at that time included Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

As of QuakeCon 2015, Bethesda had stated that testing would begin with random selection of registered participants for a limited multiplayer-only alpha, which occurred in several stages. This was then followed by a full beta testing period for all participants, which began on March 31, 2016.

E3 teaser[edit]

Bethesda and id unveiled a "Doom" teaser at E3 in June 2014, containing footage of a monster later confirmed to be the newest incarnation of the cyberdemon gearing up for battle as a female narrator laments the corruption of a promising new technology (then assumed to be teleportation, but later discovered to refer to Argent energy) into a gateway for the demons. No actual gameplay footage is featured in the teaser, however. This was accompanied by the launch of a new official website at, and the promise of a more detailed reveal at QuakeCon 2014.[9]

As of July 2, 2014, Bethesda had amended their previous press release to clarify that the reveal would be exclusive to QuakeCon attendees, and would not be broadcast nor permitted to be recorded for outside exposure.[10]

QuakeCon reveal[edit]

Doom logo as featured in the June 2014 teaser video.

QuakeCon 2014 finally saw a release of concrete information on the game after seven years of planning and development. The reveal took place on July 17, at which time the convention's Twitch stream was shut down. A live gameplay demonstration followed, which was reported on in detail by convention attendees. While the actual footage was restricted to QuakeCon, various media representatives and individuals nevertheless made the following points of information available:

Gaming press[edit]

  • According to executive producer Marty Stratton, who confirmed the game would be called "Doom", it is "an origin game," and will feature "fast, FAST paced combat" that focuses on "amazing guns and blood and gore and gibs".[11]
  • There will be "unbelievable mechanical demons built through corrupt UAC experiments."
  • id Software added the ability to stun and then viciously attack monsters in melee combat, culminating in performing fatalities. Hearkening back to the Doom Bible, the Doomguy is seen to rip an arm off a dead corpse in order to use its hand for biometric scanning purposes. Gun blasts and chainsaw attacks are capable of fully dismembering enemies.
  • The game promised to target 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.

PC Gamer tweets[edit]

  • "First combat mechanic: demons. Mechanical, corrupt, hell knights."[12]
  • "Second mechanic: guns. Conventional guns, 'Big' guns..."
  • "A key feature will be stunning enemies with a shot, then smashing their face with your boots."
  • "Doesn't look like health regenerates. Enemies drop health when you squish them."

Attendee information[edit]

PC Gamer article on the reveal's purpose[edit]

According to Bethesda's vice president of press relations and marketing Pete Hines, Doom was not originally planned to be revealed until 2015, but citing an increasingly negative perception of id Software, they decided to demonstrate what had so far been accomplished, to quell any doubts regarding the effectiveness of the id Software team and possibly counter claims of vaporware. The game would continue to undergo major development and changes, and a public reveal of the game was planned for 2015. [14]

After QuakeCon 2014[edit]

On July 19, it was announced that Tiago Sousa, head R&D graphics engineer at Crytek, was leaving that company to join the id Tech 6 engine team.[15]

The official Doom Twitter account plugged Brutal Doom on July 22, at the time seemingly confirming its influence on some of the creative decisions being made with respect to gore, fatalities, and melee combat.[16] It was later discovered, however, that these elements had been present in the original Doom 4 concept as well, which predates the mod.

Two days later, a post appeared on the official id Software Twitter stating, "The 1996 Doom Comic, inspiring the next evolution in Doom." [17] Elements of such appearing in the final game include frequent use of the phrase "rip and tear," and a berserker-like mentality observed in the game's protagonist.

A pre-order page listed by Bethesda quietly appeared for the game on sometime around September 29, 2014, sporting a tentative release date of December 31, 2015. The date was later pushed up to first quarter 2016 as of the E3 2015 reveal.

E3 2015 reveal[edit]

Doom - E3 2015 Trailer

Bethesda announced on May 18, 2015, that a public reveal of the new Doom game was scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 14th, at 7:00 PM Pacific time, at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The announcement was accompanied by a photo of various characters from Bethesda franchises having reserved seats in an auditorium; amongst these were the demon from the 2014 teaser video, now confirmed to be the new incarnation of the cyberdemon, and a picture of the new revenant. Also released was an 11-second long teaser video, showing a stylish super shotgun being breach-loaded, followed by the approach of a jet-pack-wielding, screaming revenant rapidly firing missiles at an off-camera target as multiple projectiles fly by it in the background.

The reveal took place as promised, beginning with an introduction by Marty Stratton, and followed by a video similar to the gameplay previously demonstrated at QuakeCon 2014. The protagonist can be seen putting on an F-90 helmet, similar in design to that of the original Doom marine; after putting it on, the outline of the helmet itself fades away and leaves only transparent HUD elements, with some being persistent and others appearing only when in context. The protagonist equips a combat shotgun and cautiously proceeds into an industrial area of the base where molten metal is pouring like waterfalls into vast forges. Various elements of the environment are seen to be interactive, requiring actions like prying a door open with the marine's exoskeleton-enhanced hands.

He is attacked by imps, who are very fast, with some acrobatic movements similar to their Doom 3 counterparts but with a projectile attack similar to the original game, and heavily armored zombies with laser weapons. A translucent weapon wheel interface can be used to change weapons, during which the game seems to enter a bullet-time-like slowdown. Fatalities, officially dubbed "glory kills," are demonstrated as being implemented as swift, decisive motions which do not interrupt the constant, relentless flow of the combat, with the marine closing range to rip off an enemy's body parts or to crush a downed monster's skull. Exploding barrels are seen to return and are frequently placed through the base levels. A machine gun is also found, shortly before the protagonist is stopped by a hand scanner to which he does not have access.

Activating a holographic projection unit which recorded earlier events, he observes a Hell knight dragging away a human and brutally killing him, leaving his corpse where the recording stops. Tearing off the corpse's hand, the marine uses it to bypass the scanner. He then finds a chainsaw, with which he begins sawing into imps, severing limbs, cutting off heads, and splitting monsters in half. A revenant appears from beneath a ledge, however, flying with its jet packs, and swoops down onto the marine. Being savagely ripped to shreds, the protagonist dies as the monster beats him to death with his own limbs and brutal punches.

The id team then revealed that the new Doom would include a fully integrated and vastly simplified yet powerful editing system called "Doom SnapMap," which would integrate with the upcoming system to encourage modding. Prefab objects from the stock game were expected to combine seamlessly with new creations, including fully customizable game logic.

Multiplayer was also covered in brief, with mentions of multiple modes to be included such as Domination, Freeze Tag, Team Arena, and traditional deathmatch. Shots were shown of players battling with the plasma rifle and other weapons and items, including a demonic pentacle-shaped powerup later referred to as a "demon rune," which corrupts the player into a revenant, allowing him to fly and attack enemies with dual homing rocket launchers.

Another sequence of gameplay was then demonstrated which showed the new game's vision of Hell, a barren wasteland of jagged rocks, fire, towering stone obelisks, and deep rifts. Cacodemons can be seen floating through the air. The player is seen to be able to take large falls without suffering damage via his advanced exoskeleton's "impact compensation" system. The enormous mancubus is revealed, alternately firing green plasma and attacking with a flamethrower-like spread. The player rips the mechanical chest plate off of one of the creatures and shoves it down its throat, causing it to violently explode after momentarily staggering about. Hell knight-like monsters with a skull for a head and a spectre-like translucent creature attack before more revenants emerge, rapidly firing missiles and using a laser tracking system to attempt to guide their attacks toward the player.

Finally, a cyberdemon teleports in behind the player, and he is seen to pull out and begin charging the BFG, finally confirming the weapon's return.

Announcements followed in the wake of the presentation that third-party developers would be joining the id Software team to complete the game, including Tom Mustaine's Escalation Studios for the SnapMap component and Certain Affinity for the multiplayer game modes.

QuakeCon 2015[edit]

The newest "Doom" logo revealed in May 2015, sporting a more gritty look.

Doom's multiplayer component was on live display at QuakeCon 2015, offering players a chance to test an alpha build of the game in six-on-six six-minute team matches. It was learned that this game play mode uses the loadout mechanism pioneered in Quake Live, whereby an about-to-spawn player can select two weapons with which to enter the fray. A new series of single player campaign screenshots were additionally released by Bethesda, many of them displaying areas of diverse shading, helping to further dispel the persistent rumor since E3 2015 that the entire game would be subject to a cinematic yellow color filter. A new previously unknown breed of demon with a fiery red appearance and a cannon-like right arm, later revealed to be the Hell razer, could also be seen in one shot.


The PC version of Doom became available for pre-order via Steam near the beginning of December 2015.

Campaign trailer[edit]

Bethesda and id unveiled a "Doom" Campaign Trailer on February 4, 2016 to accompany the announcement of a May 13, 2016 release date.

Multiplayer trailers[edit]

A "Doom" Official Multiplayer Trailer was released on March 9, 2016 to accompany the announcement of a closed beta test between March 31 and April 3.[18] A further Multiplayer Maps Explored movie introduced the nine maps to be included in the game, the Multiplayer Modes Revealed clip showed off the six multiplayer game modes, and a Demons, Power Weapons & Power-Ups movie demonstrated some additional multiplayer features.

Cinematic trailer[edit]

On March 31, 2016, Bethesda published the Fight Like Hell Cinematic Trailer, a live-action movie directed by Joe Kosinski to evoke "the pillars of DOOM's gameplay: Relentless Combat, Terrifying Demons, and Bad Ass Guns." This was released to coincide with the beginning of the closed beta testing period for those who participated in the Wolfenstein: The New Order pre-order promotion.

Open beta[edit]

Bethesda announced on April 6, 2016, that an open beta was scheduled to begin at 12:00 PM EST on April 15 and end on April 18.[19] They simultaneously announced the at-launch availability of three multiplayer DLC packs for US $14.99 each, or a discount price of $39.99 for all three. The first pack was confirmed to include the following items:

  • Three new maps
  • An additional new weapon
  • A new playable demon via the demon rune
  • A new set of armor
  • A new piece of equipment
  • Additional hack modules and taunts
  • Additional player armor and skin decals and colors

It was also clarified that SnapMap and the multiplayer module would both receive free updates after release as well.

On April 11, 2016, a brief Open Beta movie was released to illustrate the start of the beta test, and a Player Progression and Customization trailer on April 14 to highlight the extensive multiplayer unlocking and customization options for avatars, weapons, and other gear.

Launch trailer[edit]

On May 5, 2016, Bethesda provided details about the impending release, such as the preload and unlock times for Steam, PlayStation Store and Xbox Live, as well as the PC system requirements[20], all illustrated by a new Launch Trailer.

Another trailer released on May 11, entitled Guns, Demons, Speed, demonstrated customization of the single-player experience to suit a player's style, with id Software's Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin providing commentary.

Abandoned concept[edit]

Main article: Doom 4 1.0

It was originally planned that Doom 4 would be a remake of Doom II, set on Earth and featuring a cast of rag-tag militants assembled as an impromptu resistance force against the demonic invasion. Todd Hollenshead made a statement finally supporting what had been fan speculation up until that time, asserting that, "Doom is part of the id Software DNA and demands the greatest talent and brightest minds in the industry to bring the next installment of our flagship franchise to Earth".[21] (emphasis added)

A series of concept screenshots of the game were leaked by a former employee as part of a portfolio which seemed to confirm the "Hell on Earth" theme.[7] While Bethesda eventually acknowledged that these were indeed screenshots of what was then Doom 4, they were also quick to add that they were from an earlier stage of development and no longer represented the current state of the project. Information made available at QuakeCon 2014 put this idea to rest, as Earth-like environments had been shunned in favor of Martian bases.

It came to light in May of 2015 that the abandoned concept was actually significantly far into development when it was dropped and rebooted by id Software in 2011. Leaked footage published on the Internet showed a cinematic-heavy, character- and story-driven game set in a vast futuristic metropolis devastated by demons swarming from a gigantic pillar-like portal.[22] In interviews issued in June 2015 by Bethesda's Pete Hines, he had the following to say about this abandoned concept:

"You can probably close your eyes and imagine a 'Call of Doom' or a 'BattleDoom' game, where it starts to feel way too much like: 'Wait, this doesn't feel like Doom, it feels like we're playing some other franchise with a Doom skin on it... It wasn't fast enough... The way that the demons worked. The visceralness (sic) of the combat... The combat was more disconnected, you almost found yourself taking cover at times and using things from other FPSes, which might be fine for them, but for Doom it just doesn't feel right."
―Pete Hines [23]

Elements of the old game combined with those of the final product were displayed by Marty Stratton at QuakeCon 2016 as part of an exposition of several early alpha versions of the game. The first of these featured the same post-apocalyptic city environment from the abandoned concept's leaked trailer being used as a mere stand-in, serving as the backdrop for an early test of the glory kill concept, where a still-lethargic player performed several of the moves on the early imp model which later appeared at E3 2015. It was also mentioned in this presentation that the Foundry level began as part of the earlier game, and was gradually expanded upon into its final, vastly non-linear layout, and as such is one of the few relics of the earlier game concept to survive into the final product.[24]


  1. Berghammer, Billy (3 August 2007). "QuakeCon 2007: John Carmack Talks Rage, id Tech 5 And More." GameInformer (archived 🏛). Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  2. Shacknews: Doom 4 announced on May 7, 2008
  3. Shacknews: Doom 4 Sports Better Graphics Than Rage; Uses id Tech 5, Lower Frame Rate on July 16, 2008
  4. Shacknews: Doom 4 Multiplayer to Beat Doom 3's Modes on July 31, 2008
  5. Doomworld: Doom 4 Writer Revealed on January 16, 2009
  6. Shacknews: id Promises Doom 4 News at QuakeCon 2010 on August 13, 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 Evans-Thirlwell, Edwin (28 February 2012). "Rumour: Doom 4 cancelled, first screenshots leak." XBOX : The Official Magazine (archived 🏛). Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  9. Doomworld forums thread
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  11. Papadopoulos, John (17 July 2014). "Here Are The First Details For The New Doom Game, Straight From QuakeCon 2014". Dark Side of Gaming. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  12. Plunkett, Luke (17 July 2014). "Doom 4 Is A Reboot. And It's Not Called Doom 4". Kotaku. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  13. GoatLord (17 July 2014). "Doom reveal first impressions". Doomworld Forums. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  14. Wilde, Tyler (18 July 2014). "Doom was revealed to counter fears of trouble at id Software, public reveal unlikely this year". PC Gamer. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  15. Papadopoulos, John (19 July 2014). "Signs Of The Times – Crytek’s Lead R&D Graphics Engineer Moves To id Software, Will Work On New Doom." DSOGaming.
  16. id Software (22 July 2014). "Have you tried Brutal DOOM v20?" Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  17. id Software (24 July 2014). Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  18. Bethesda Softworks (9 March 2016). "DOOM Closed Beta This Month; New MP Trailer." Blue's News. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  19. Skrebels, Joe (6 April 2016). "Doom Open Beta and DLC Announced." IGN. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  20. Bethesda Softworks (5 May 2016). "DOOM Launch Trailer & System Requirements." Blue's News. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  21. Miller, Ross (7 May 2008). "Doom 4 announced, id Software hiring." Joystiq. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  22. Schneider, Steven (19 May 2015). "Brand-New Footage Of Cancelled 'Doom 4' Game Leaked Online." Tech Times. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  23. Kuchera, Ben and Nick Robinson (24 June 2015). Bethesda scrapped Doom 4 because it felt like Call of Duty 'with a Doom skin on it'. Polygon. Retrieved 4 August 2015
  24. Bethesda (2 September 2016). "QuakeCon - Bringers of DOOM." YouTube. Retrieved 10 April 2017.