The Doom 4 release date is being teased in the form of a beta included with the newest Wolfenstein, giving rise to expectations that a Doom 4 2014 launch time frame is likely. Unfortunately, the FAQ on Bethseda’s website is kind of vague on when the beta will start, other than saying it’ll be announced later on. Let’s just hope it’s not another Duke Nukem (taking) Forever (to develop)…
In a related report by The Inquisitr, id software is hoping Wolfenstein: The New Order will stand out from the current crop of shooters like Call Of Duty and Titanfall. They even delayed the game in order to make sure it stands up to expectations of gamers.
Although the publisher has never confirmed any of this, the Doom 4 rumors claim the game was at one point almost cancelled. Following the poor reception to id Software’s Rage, the Rage 2 sequel was yanked from the game plan. Early versions of Doom 4 apparently weren’t up to snuff, with the story being lame and management wasn’t sure where to go with the project. Some even joked it could be called Call Of Doom due to the way it was overly scripted. So, similar to Duke Nukem, the project was reportedly restarted in order to ensure quality would live up to the Doom name. There’s also a new team so ideas are likely to be fresh and focused since Doom 4 is all id Software is working on at the moment.
Doom 4 Rumors
So what do we actually know about the game besides the title? At one point the lead environmental artist for Doom 4 posted screenshots of an unnamed project to his own website. While none of the screenshots showed demons or characters of any type, it seemed like the setting was a ruined Earth so the rumors claimed Doom 4 was a remake of Doom 2: Hell On Earth. Although id Software never commented on the release of these screenshots they were shortly removed from the artist’s website. Because the project was supposedly restarted these photos also are unlikely to resemble the final product.
A Doom 4 Open World?
So what about the gameplay of the Doom 4 beta? There’s two possibilities to my mind. Doom and Quake are well-known for their multiplayer so the beta might be only for testing and balancing out the Doom 4 MP mode. But some sources also say that Bethseda at one point demanded Doom 4 be as large as Skyrim. Considering that Skyrim is designed to be an open world, this comment might be a hint that the Doom 4 beta may be similar to Bungie’s Destiny, which is a multiplayer open world that’s not quite a MMO. Even if the setting and location is still hell on Earth, the possibility of an open world would still make sense if the game is designed to create a dynamic “single player” experience that also involves other players.
Doom 4 And ID Tech 6
We also know Doom 4 went a “tech reboot” which included new code and not just new art and game design. Since the game was delayed until after the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One it’s possible Doom 4 will use id Tech 6 and not id Tech 5, which was featured with Rage.
Unfortunately, we also don’t know much about ID Tech 6 other than some of John Carmack’s musings on the subject. We do know that he once said ID Tech 5 would not be appropriate for a game design similar to Skyrim:
“The megatexture direction [in id Tech 5] has some big wins, but it’s also fairly restrictive on certain types of games. [And] it would be a completely unacceptable engine to do [Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V:] Skyrim in, where you’ve got the whole world, walking across these huge areas.”
Considering these comments, and the rumors surrounding Bethseda’s desire for Doom 4 to rival Skyrim in scope, it seems likely that we’ll see new tech. The question is what form this will take since the relatively limited capabilities of the PS4 and Xbone will determine any plans, not high end PC gaming rigs.
Way back in 2008, Carmack gave a long interview on the subject, but the short of it is that he seemed certain rasterization and polygons were here to stay for the time being. At the same time he was also looking into the possibility of using raytracing via sparse voxel octrees (if you want the technical details click here and here).
Here is a video of one implementation:
Carmack also seemed fairly certain we may need new hardware to flesh out his plans for ID Tech 6. Unfortunately, tech demos on modern GPUs have proven this prediction to be true. Even using a Nvidia Geforce 660 Ti, which achieves 2.35 TeraFLOPS versus the PS4 GPU’s 1.84 TeraFLOPS, the framerate was in the teens at low resolutions, never mind 1080p. To put the hardware requirements in perspective, we’ll probably need a new GPU optimized for this graphics effect or the processing power will need to be over ten times the performance of the Radeon R9 290X, which is capable of 5.0 TeraFLOPS. So, no, don’t expect to ever see this type of tech ever running on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 even if the algorithms are optimized extensively.
Regardless, if the Doom 4 beta does feature an open there will either need to be significant changes made to ID Tech 5 or ID Tech 6 will not have anything too exotic when it comes to graphics rendering methods. What do you think about the 2014 Doom 4 rumors?