Doom 4 1.0
Doom 4 1.0, not to be confused with id Software's eventual successful release of Doom (2016), is a cancelled first-person shooter that was originally intended as a reboot of the Doom franchise. After being initially announced in August 2007, it suffered repeated delays and development setbacks until, in 2011, intervention by publisher Bethesda Softworks and parent company ZeniMax Media led to internal reorganization at the company. It then entered a period of "rolling reboot" which would last until the new concept which became the final "DOOM" solidified in 2013.
|“||It wasn’t like the art was bad, or the programming was bad. Every game has a soul. Every game has a spirit. When you played Rage, you got the spirit. And [Doom] did not have the spirit, it did not have the soul, it didn’t have a personality. It had a bit of schizophrenia, a little bit of an identity crisis. It didn’t have the passion and soul of what an id game is. Everyone knows the feeling of Doom, but it’s very hard to articulate.||”|
Early development began in August 2007, according to comments made at that time by John Carmack. This was followed with an official announcement by id Software on May 7, 2008. It was begun shortly after the abandoning of an early concept project called Darkness, which was to be a survival horror game based on the horror aspects of Doom 3, and while id Software's then-upcoming title Rage was still in development. This would see id Software internally split into two development teams for the first time.
Several years would go by without any subsequent information being offered by id Software, with growing frustration by gamers and the gaming press when inquiries at the yearly QuakeCon convention were met with event cancellations; statements such as, "we can't talk about that;" or with apologies by Todd Hollenshead for the continuing lack of information.
Finally, in April 2013, citing anonymous sources who had left the company in the wake of internal reorganization, Kotaku published an article describing Doom 4 as trapped in "development hell." The article claimed that the game had suffered under mismanagement, and that development was completely restarted in 2011, a detail which was later officially confirmed. According to one source, ZeniMax at one point issued an ultimatum for progress which led to the cancellation of Rage 2, and the recombining of the separate id development teams.
Producer Marty Stratton, former project creative director Kevin Cloud, and new project creative director Hugo Martin later described the period between 2011 and 2013 as a "rolling reboot," beginning with an invitation from Marty extended to the staff at publisher Bethesda to discuss restarting work on the game. An anonymous third party remembered a quote from a frustrated John Carmack during one of the meetings leading up to this intervention: "Doom means two things: demons and shotguns."
According to Kevin, the id Software staff were concerned that the existing project had become something that "wasn't really capturing what we felt like was DOOM, and what the fans would want from it." Marty reiterated the common Call of Doom sentiment, and described the project as cinematic and story-heavy, with characters around and interacting with the player throughout. He mentioned that it took a long time for the game to get into the phase where the player could fight demons, starting out with exposition and then progressing into battles against zombified humans. Hugo referenced the 1997 Robert Zemeckis film Contact with regard to how he felt about the project, saying that, unlike the original Doom, which had "one guy involved in big things," it was more about the "big things," and that in this respect, it sacrificed the character of the Doom Slayer. He called it a realistic depiction of the impact of a global hellish invasion.
Many staff members would not survive the project transition, including Todd Hollenshead, John Carmack, and most of the id Tech programming team. Carmack's growing aggravation with ZeniMax with regard to his ambitions in virtual reality technology had seen him reduce his role from lead developer to technology advisor, and would eventually lead him to depart id Software in 2013 to work as Chief Technical Officer for Oculus VR. Fallout from this departure would lead to a lawsuit between the two companies which was concluded in 2016.
According to Marty, though it would be tempting for people to think that id Software "looked at this game and then scrapped it," there were actually many aspects of the project which continued to inform the later game's design. These include various basic elements such as locations and weapons, and in particular, the "sync melee" system which later became glory kills. During this rolling reboot process, numerous prototypes were produced, many still using the older game's assets until they had been replaced with new material.
|“||You can't have 30 guys crawling all over you at 60 frames per second at this graphics technology level because it's painful. It's a lot of effort to do that. But, we did make the call that for Doom 4, the single-player is going to go 30 frames per second on the consoles. So we can have 30 demons crawling all over you on there. But the multiplayer is still going to be 60 frames per second, so it has the quality feel that Rage has.||”|
The majority of the id Tech team had been focused on the development and completion of Rage, and according to John Carmack, would move over to the Doom 4 development team after that game had shipped.
Doom 4 was to be built on a minor iteration of the id Tech 5 engine, and according to John Carmack as of July 9, 2008, would be targeted at 30 frames per second on consoles, in order to achieve better graphics performance than Rage. The engine, which Carmack intended to be "cross-generational," would attempt to target 60 FPS for PC single-player, and during multiplayer games on all platforms.
Though no release platforms had been set in stone at that point, Rage had already been targeted at the then-current generation of consoles (the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3), as well as the PC, so it was widely assumed at that time, and later confirmed by Todd Hollenshead, that Doom 4 would follow suit. Carmack mentioned the PlayStation 4, which had been confirmed as being in development by Sony, as a potential additional target.
The game was to feature the player joining a rag-tag band of militants who formed an impromptu resistance against an apocalyptic invasion of Earth by the forces of Hell, making the game a modern remake of Doom II. This was first hinted at publicly by Todd Hollenshead, who made a statement which supported what was up until then fan speculation, stating 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".
Later, portfolio concept art by an ex-employee, which was released unofficially onto the web in February 2012, seemed to confirm this, displaying dramatic, post-apocalyptic cityscapes. These images were discredited at the time by id Software's creative director Matthew Hooper via Twitter, with him 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." These were later confirmed, however, by officially approved releases in late 2016 and early 2017.
A vertical slice trailer of the game was additionally leaked in May 2015, displaying some of the same locations featured in the concept art, use of tactical combat mechanics, and extensive scenes of cinematics and player interaction with non-player characters. Parent company ZeniMax met most instances of the video with take-down notices, but would later approve its partial inclusion into the noclip DOOM Resurrected documentary.
Rather than re-imagining the fast-paced gameplay of the original games, Doom 4 was to take a cinematic and linear approach driven by a war-drama-like plot featuring two-way dialogue between the player and characters, many elements of which can be seen in the vertical slice trailer. Movement was meant to be realistically slow and tactical, with cover mechanics, hurdling and mantling over obstacles, and use of iron-sight aiming. This was a large part of what led to the game being referred to as Call of Doom by id Software staff.
One element which survived, in a transformed state, was a unique system for "sync melee" combat, wherein the player would be attached to an enemy to carry out animated close-up attacks culminating in a fatal final blow. This was retained and transformed into the final game's glory kill system, albeit with a much faster pace to avoid disruption of the flow of game play.
A few of the game's monsters appear in screenshots released as part of the DOOM Resurrected documentary. Other enemies are known to have existed from the game's screenshots, in particular one or more variety of flying demons. These can be seen traveling in massive swarms in shots of the city where it is being subsumed into Hell, but the entities are too far away and small for any details to be discerned.
Imp / Wraith
An enemy with both imp- and wraith-like qualities is seen in the sewer tunnels. It was acrobatic like the Doom 3 imp, could climb on walls and ceilings much like the vulgar, and could instantaneously teleport behind the player in a manner similar to the wraith. Its attacks included a fast fireball, which it could throw ahead of the player in an attempt to out-predict his movement, and it could violently leap toward the player and attack with a brutal scratch. Its skin has a muted red color with apparent necrosis in the extremities, and its head appears to be mutilated, with the upper portion entirely missing, revealing a bright red fleshy stump. It appears to have wires or tubes coming out of and going back into its back and neck.
A single former human zombie enemy can be seen during footage of the game's sync melee mechanic. A gray-cloaked, hooded man with yellow-glowing eyes, he is unarmed, fighting barehanded with dodging motions.
A zombie-like or demonic enemy consisting of two or more humans twisted and fused together, with multiple heads, each with vacant gray eyes, and multiple arms attached at unnatural angles which it flails about wildly. It also appears to be a melee-only enemy, and attacks by rushing quickly toward the player. Its skin is a bright white color.
Sergeant / Soldier
An armed form of former human appears in the glory kill test sequence. This enemy appears and animates similar to the final game's possessed soldier, and it may be possible that its model was based on this enemy's assets. It includes a gun which appears to be fused to its right arm, has gray blank eyes similar to the conjoined zombies, and has dark gray skin. It is not seen to fire its weapon during the brief sequence in which it appears, so it is possible that its attack logic was not yet complete.
Another imp-like enemy appears in the glory kill test sequence. This variety can crouch down, presumably to leap at the player, though it is killed in the sequence before it has a chance to complete the animation. Its head appears to be made of bone, with two insect-like unattached mandibles for a lower jaw, and a large dark hole where most of its face should be.
Several weapons are visible between different screenshots and video sequences of the game:
- Knife - The player carries a knife which can be used during sync melee attacks for finishing blows.
- Shotgun - An ordinary pump-action shotgun can be seen held by the protagonist in the shot where he overlooks the burning city. It is also seen fired in first person perspective during footage of a transitional glory kill test build.
- Super shotgun - The series-standard double-barreled shotgun; it appears more stylistically similar to the same weapon that occurred in Wolfenstein: The New Order than the version in the final game.
- Assault rifle - Assault rifles seem to be standard equipment for most members of the resistance, and the player is seen carrying the same or a highly similar model to that seen on NPCs. It is made of jet black metal, and it has a large iron sight which was likely usable for aiming and possibly for sniping.
- Chainsaw - Though not confirmed as a player weapon by any released materials, an NPC can be seen to rev up a large, savage looking version of the chainsaw during the celebratory cinematic scene. This makes it likely that it was included in the game.
Numerous characters appear in the vertical slice trailer, but almost nothing is known about them aside from the identity of the protagonist.
A significant number of locations were created for the game, including many destroyed city locations, a sewer tunnels level, and a warehouse. These levels were in various stages of completion, from work-in-progress concepts to playable demos. Of all of the locations known to be a part of the original game, only one is currently known to have survived, in a form, into the final game. According to Marty Stratton, the Foundry began as a much simpler level intended for Doom 4.
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