Go Inside The Brutal World of the Upcoming Doom Remake

This isn't your father's Doom, but even he can join in on the fun

Screengrab from Doom
Wikimedia Commons
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When the original Doom was released in 1993, worlds were shaken. It was the hefty dose of demon-slaying that FPS junkies would later regard as the pinnacle of PC entertainment, and the They definitely don’t make ‘em like they used to these days, at least until now. Enter 2016's Doom, resurrected by the masterminds at Bethesda for an absolutely absurd good time. It’s balls-to-the-wall, adrenaline-fueled carnage.

Just like you remember it -- but better.

Sure, you may not be able to jump or peer up or down, but your space marine was surprisingly nimble back in the early days of Doom. It still holds up today, too. Puzzles are easily solved and enemies are quickly felled via pure firepower or clever switch-pulling. You can switch between several different weapons: shotguns, pistols, the BFG or whatever strikes your fancy -- there are plenty of tools available to mow down the unlucky demons who cross your path, It’s unabashed, high-octane fragging, with the same WASD and mouse controls you’re likely used to from youth. And it feels just as good as it did then, if not better.

Doom II may have been released fifteen years ago, but it’s still an extremely slick and polished shooter that could easily go toe-to-toe with the twitchfests we’re enjoying now. If you haven’t been privy to this sequel or even the original Doom before now, grab it from Steam to see what the fuss is all about.

It’s a steal for five bucks and a fantastic throwback to the heyday of PC gaming.

With the release of the seminal shooter upon us, we can indulge in an engaging stroll down memory lane swarming with imps and cacodemons...as well as the personality that's become a hallmark for the franchise as a whole.

Fear is evolving, but what we know and love about one of the greatest shooters of all time isn't.

Marty Stratton, Executive Producer for id Software, has ensured that this vision of hell itself is sticking to its roots despite a changing climate that demands playing to audiences that greedily devour stop-and-pop shooters like Call of Duty or online, open-world affairs such as The Division. This reboot is as important to fans as it is to its creators, so it makes sense that so much hard work went into making this reimagining really stick. As one of the greatest horror-based FPSs around, it was important to Stratton to retain certain elements of the original game in order to retain that perfect blend of atmosphere and horror for this release.

"Personality has been the key ingredient we’ve tried to add to every aspect of the game," Stratton stresses.  "For characters, Doom’s demons are over-the-top in an action comic-book sort of way - so while fierce and deadly and scary, there is a levity that they bring to the overall feel of the game.  The environments, whether UAC bases on Mars or Hell, have a heavy and dense quality to them.  And although story development isn’t a focus of Doom, we worked to infuse an element of personality into every facet -  whether it’s lore or the quirky nature of the UAC.

I think there’s also an irreverence about Doom that we’ve tried to capture in a number of ways – from the blood and gore, to the style of combat that never lets you hide or stop moving."

Moving is key -- especially if you're interested in going toe to toe with the various snarling, shrieking and bone-splittingly terrifying creatures the game has in store for you. The only thing standing between you and death? Rocket launchers, shotguns, and armaments that Doom has always been a hardcore traditional shooter. The rules are simple: If it moves, pump it full of lead.

As far as the storyline? Not that it really matters in these types of classic frag fests, but in the beginning you had entered the entrail-laden boots of a marine who had descended into the fiery depths of Hell in order to decimate the demons who would exterminate all humanity.

It's hell on Earth, literally, as Doom has you tackling a campaign riddled with varying degrees of disgusting beasts, gory shootouts amplified by showdowns with feral demons and gunplay that all but requires you to sharpen reflexes you may not even knew you had in the first place.

As you scurry throughout secret-laden corridors, walkways, secret areas, and high ground seeking cover, it will quickly become evident that this isn't a game for anyone looking to slither around sniping from ledges or camping waiting to gather kills. This is the thinking man's battle royale, and it all takes place in the blink of an eye throughout maps riddled with skull iconography, bleak decorations, and other level set pieces that'll have players greedily ripping into the game's new SnapMap feature, a powerful level editor that allows players to mold and shape Doom's terrain as they see fit. As Stratton explained, it's all on purpose, the gaming equivalent of a "rock concert":

"Artistic influences – like skulls – aside; for me this comes back to the idea of “keep it fun,” but also hits on another “rule” we’ve tried to use throughout development which is, “don’t take ourselves too seriously.”  We of course take our jobs seriously and our responsibility to the franchise seriously, but we’ve found that every time we create something that is really serious, it’s just not as fun – particularly when it comes to combat. So, I think that’s where we lean on that “rock and roll vibe.”  The best rock and roll doesn’t take itself too seriously and is just plain fun.

 It’s loud and bold, rebellious and independent – and when you see it live, you’ve likely got a fist in the air and a foot stomping out the beat.  It’s a rush."

The rush comes from every different direction, but it's especially found within Doom's Glory Kills, a boon for bloodthirsty gore-mongers everywhere. Guns blazing is obviously the best way to approach some situations in-game, but you'll benefit the most by far from snapping limbs like weak-willed plastic, shattering skulls and and entrails painting the floors of each level. You’re rewarded in nearly every way for

You'll be rewarded with extra health and ammo for the trouble, keeping up the momentum to ensure your survival. It's a constant onslaught on the senses (and sanity) from the beginning, a design that was intentional, as far as Stratton is concerned. Extra time and attention was spent on tooling these Glory Kills to perfection, right down to each minute detail, animation and all.

"At about the same time we were figuring out the “feel” we were going for with gameplay, our animation team put together an animatic that illustrated the fundamentals of [Glory Kills.] These are very fast, fluid melee kills that the player can choose to execute if they’ve done enough damage to stagger an enemy. Visually it was stunning and ambitious, but our animation team is fantastic and we knew if we could get the tech right and more importantly the feel in game right, it would be a defining feature of the game.  

We were lucky to prove it out early in our first playable version of the game and have been able to iterate on them for a couple of years now.

 From a gameplay perspective, we’ve focused on them staying fast and fluid – never interrupting the flow of combat and they award health and ammo – so it really plays into our “push forward combat” style of gameplay.  Visually, they enhance the power-fantasy of ripping and tearing demons to shreds with your hands.  It all comes together to really enhance the improvisational feel of Doom."

It's a far cry from the original game, where you weren't even able to jump or peer up or down, with a surprisingly nimble and devious marine on your side this time around. Glory Kills are only the beginning of it. You're faced with a cerebral vision of hell, far from the mindless shooter so many want to pigeonhole the game and genre into. You can switch between several different weapons: shotguns, pistols, the BFG or whatever strikes your fancy -- there are plenty of tools available to mow down the unlucky demons who cross your path, It’s unabashed, high-octane fragging, but revamped in ways that make sense for a broader, older audience. An audience that’s ready to accept the delicious type of ultraviolence we’ve come to expect from games like Mortal Kombat and other titles of that ilk. And it feels just as good as it did then, if not better.

Doom may have been released nearly two decades ago, but the slick and polished shooter will live on in 2016's vision of the gorefest, going toe-to-toe with the twitchfests we’re enjoying now. If you haven’t been privy to this bloody good reboot or even the original Doom before now, you should plan on getting involved as soon as possible -- before a cacodemon sets its sights on you. And trust us. You wouldn't want that to happen.