There is quite a bit riding on Doom for Bethesda and for developer id Software. The last game in the series, Doom 3, was met with a lukewarm reception due to an over-emphasis on story instead of mindless action, and while the developer’s new IP Rage was greeted with better reviews, it didn’t come close to the genre-defining impact of its older work. That older work, and specifically the old-school, fast-paced action of the earlier Doom games, is a huge marketing point for Doom, but Bethesda still believes it can resonate with newer players.
“We’ve taken the essence of Doom — the DNA of Doom — and said, ‘How does this translate for a modern shooter audience?'” says executive producer Marty Stratton in a new development video. “Doom is about guns, first and foremost, and fighting demons with guns.”
There certainly appear to be plenty of guns. Classics like the super shotgun make their return, but it’s here that we can more clearly see the influence of modern shooters: you can customize your weapons to fit your playing style. You won’t be aiming down the sights with your shotgun, but you can give it an alternate-fire mode that allows it to become a more effective long-range weapon; it could be the only gun you ever need.
“Runes,” which we’ve seen a glimpse of in the game’s multiplayer, allow for additional customization in the campaign. They allow for speed boosts, faster reloads, and a variety of other enhancements to make the game feel more “you,” and are acquired after completing a certain trial within a level. The “vacuum” rune, for instance, is available after using the shotgun to kill 15 Imps in a ten-second window.
And if you’re hoping for a return to the “you versus a million demons” combat of the original games, id thinks it has that covered, too.
“It’s not a casual game where you can be doing something else while you play,” says creative director Hugo Martin. “Especially in the arenas: They’re very challenging in the best possible way.”
Doom releases tomorrow on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. For a AAA game that’s this highly anticipated, one would expect to see reviews in the wild by this point. However, Bethesda has opted to not offer review copies until the game’s official launch, which the publisher says is due to the multiplayer servers not yet being live. Our suggestion? Wait a few days. The demons will still be there for you to kill after reviews are out.