Olduvai Research Facility

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The Olduvai facility viewed from outside.

The Olduvai Research Facility is the primary setting of the 2005 Doom motion picture. It is a UAC base on the planet Mars, established sometime after 2026 when the Ark wormhole was discovered on Earth and found to lead to the remains of an ancient Martian city. In the course of the film, the facility is destroyed by escaped, mutated test subjects and their victims.


The Olduvai base has three primary sections:

  • Archaeology
  • Genetics
  • Weapons Research

Archaeological research was at least partially under the purview of forensic archaeologist Samantha Grimm. The genetics department was headed by Dr. Todd Carmack. The facility employed 85 permanent research staff across all departments.


The primary project of the base became research into an artificial 24th chromosome found in the humanoid remains excavated from the ancient ruins. This chromosome was attributed with granting the ancient Martians superhuman abilities including strength, fitness, intelligence, healing ability, and disease resistance. The chromosome was adapted into a retroviral agent and introduced into involuntary human test subjects—condemned criminals—but unexpectedly, the subjects began mutating into monsters (similar to the Doom 3 imp and Hell knight) who could spread the genetic mutation to others.


When the test subject Curtis Stahl escaped containment, he was able to attack several scientists in the genetics lab; only Dr. Carmack was able to escape the initial slaughter, sending out a distress call. Six colleagues remained unaccounted for inside the lab. The distress call was forwarded to the Nevada base on Earth, resulting in the dispatch of the Rapid Response Tactical Squad, a group of space marines, who were tasked with securing civilians, rescuing the scientists, and recovering "assets". The RRTS meets fierce resistance from the escaped test subjects and their victims and are unable to contain the creatures, resulting in an outbreak among the other employees still quarantined at the facility. With access to the Ark, those infected also threaten to spread the problem back to Earth.


Olduvai is named for the Olduvai Gorge, a location in Africa where many early hominid fossils have been discovered. This is likely a nod both to Doom 3's backstory in which the ancient Martians were ancestors of modern man, and an allusion to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which places its opening scene in that location.