While I’m sure it pleased its specific demographic, I seriously hope Doom 3: BFG Edition wasn’t enough for you people. A better looking Doom 3 is good and all, but the fact it was the weakest of all the Doom games should leave you unsatisfied with your belly burning with the desire for a new opportunity to combat the forces of space hell with a diverse selection of gore shedding weaponry. Am I the only one having recurring dreams about the horrors of a constantly burning Earth and the lone space marine tasked with saving it? Why aren’t we talking more about Doom 4?
I realize that the information circling the interwebavision in reference to Doom 4 is light and most video game journalists don’t bother themselves with speculation birthed from untrustworthy insider information. However, I’m a gamer first and speculation about my favorite games is more or less what keeps my heart beating. I’m literally only alive because of the hypothetical video game scenarios that bounce around in my head and Doom 4 has kept me vertical for the past few years. So instead of speaking about what we know, let’s talk about what we want and what even makes sense for the game at this point in time.
Location, Location, Location
First off, Doom 4 HAS to be set on the Earth or a more hospitable looking Earth-like colony. Doom 3 did a really good job of creating that claustrophobic feeling, but a whole game filled with tight tunnels and cold, metallic living spaces was a bit much. I want to fight my way through an abandoned building and finally escape to the streets only to look up into the sky and see the orange hue cast from the fires that are engulfing the world. There’s a sense of urgency and desperation that comes from knowing that your only chance for survival is to go after the cause of all the destruction. This plays to the feeling we all had when we finally escaped the Mars facility in Doom and subsequently found the Earth in ruins.
I’m thinking a happy medium between a futuristic setting and some contemporary locales. This would give some character to the game and help people connect with the fact that they are helping to save Earth. While I respect Mars and all of its moons, I have a soft spot in my heart for our lovely blue planet and will do anything to keep it intact. With that in mind (and I’ll get into it a bit deeper within the following paragraphs) the Earth you’re tasked with saving doesn’t have to be a gigantic area. Like in Doom 2, it’d be best if there was a specific location (like that game’s space dock) that the scenario was set in. If we see Doom 3 as a revamp of the original Doom then I have no problems with the plot and locations of Doom 2 being revisited as well.
Rage as a Leaping Point
While it may have had a luke warm reception from critics and gamers alike (I loved it by the way), Rage is probably the best indicator of what we can hope to expect from Doom 4. I believe the biggest issue people had with Rage was its faux open world feeling, but a similar system would be a perfect fit for a game like Doom. While I don’t necessarily want a myriad of side quests and distractions cluttering my man vs Satan adventures, a linear experience wouldn’t feel quite right considering the direction games have gone and the scale of the Doom universe. Assuming that Doom 4 takes place on Earth or an Earth-like colony, a straight shot may make players resent having their hands held when there’s a large locale to be explored. Again, there’s no reason to aim for Skyrim or even Far Cry 3 levels of additional exploits, but the player should be able to dig in a bit deeper than a simple corridor shooter would allow. These can’t be fetch quests as the Hell vs Earth conflict is too intense for things like that to be believable nor can they revolve around factions and what not as there really are only two factions in the game. What I’d rather see is side quests with goals that would make sense during a large scale war.
All of these goals would have to revolve around factors like the number of human survivors, the access points for demon entry to the Earth, secured locations and weapon/equipment stocks. Accomplishing certain missions would improve certain conditions within the game as opposed to having generic rewards for the player. For instance, if you’re a completionist then accomplishing these missions might make the game’s conclusion easier for you based on the work you already put in. Maybe the number of monsters has been cut drastically due to your efforts or perhaps saving a certain number of people allows you to have a bit more backup at certain points in the game. If you’re the type that likes to get to the point quickly, your experience might be a bit different and as a result, more difficult because you’re going after the prize immediately.
In terms of opposition, I’m going to have to nod my head in the direction of Rage as well because the creatures/people you fight in that game can easily be transitioned into the Doom universe. The work is basically done outside of some design alterations (I say that in a very broad way as I realize it’s not that simple). Obviously the zombie soldiers need to move a bit slower and be a bit less agile than the gangs in Rage, but the same kind of movement style and AI would make sense if they were carried over. Without going in to too much details, I want the variety and aesthetics of the Doom 3 monsters with the smarts of Rage. I also want them built to be destroyed, so any sort of Dead Space-esque limb removal is a plus.
I understand that there might be people out there that cry foul at the mention of Doom 4 being anything more than a blood and bullet filled train from point A to point B, but keep in mind that the original Doom games did force a certain level of exploration and Doom 3 began to deepen the narrative. A game like Serious Sam 3 works by sticking close to its roots because Serious Sam was never anything more nor did it want to be more than a shooter. Stifling the growth of Doom wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense at this point.
Let’s Keep that Progression to a Minimum, People
You can’t dip your finger into a jar filled with open world without talking player progression. While I personally enjoy bettering my character skills and upgrades fueled through experience points, such things wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for Doom. One of the most important aspects of that game is being a badass yet not such a badass that the denizens of hell loose their fear inducing potential. I see progression being focused more towards a player increasing their skills, finding better equipment and learning how best to utilize the equipment for specific situations. I hate to sound like a broken record, but Rage did this perfectly. Throw us the iconic weapons from the Doom series (plus a few additions to spice things up), the ability to modify these weapons (like the ability stick a flashlight to a gun), a couple different sets of armor (light, medium and heavy is all you need) and some fun auxiliary tools (though maybe not to the level of Rage’s toolbox). This will help prevent Doom 4 from feeling to much like its predecessors while not jumping too deep into the open world waters.
I realize now why people aren’t spending their days fantasizing about Doom 4…I’m utterly exhausted by the anticipation. Regardless, I guarantee that the first bit of news, whether it’s a bit sized morsel or a mouth watering buffet of information, will be scarfed down in barbaric fashion by this bro. For right now, I’m going to continue writing my Doom 4 fan fic and dream peacefully about the day I stick it to Hell…once and for all.
Speculate Iterate – Speculation on rumors in the gaming industry is well and good when you call it what it is. Take our ideas for what they are and feel free to add your own.