The original Doom helped establish first-person shooters as a lone marine faced a horde of satanic demons on Mars and in Hell itself. Bethesda Softworks unveiled the reboot of the game during its E3 Showcase on Sunday evening and showed that it is truly the original’s spiritual successor, with some new tricks up its sleeve, for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. However, the gibs and violent gameplay already has some activists and outlets up in arms.
The brief three-second teaser of Doom released earlier did not even begin to provide the full impact of the onslaught of charging and shooting demons. Id Software Executive Producer Marty Stratton summed it up best when he said the game is centered around “badass demons, big effing guns, and moving really, really fast.”
— Bethesda Softworks (@Bethblog) June 15, 2015
The fast part was the most noticeable. Shooters on consoles have slowly sped up over the last few years, but the high base movement speed in Doom is uncannily similar to the original. The entire video demonstration also had the same callbacks, with even the opening of doors sounding the same. The super shotgun, plasma rifle, chainsaw, heavy assault rifle, and rocket launcher were all on display, but accessed via a weapon wheel that pauses gameplay when accessed. You’ll need them, too, as the enemies, from Imps to Revenants to Cyberdemons and more, all return.
The clip ended with the player pulling out the BFG-900. More importantly, health and armor can only be recovered by killing demons. There is no hiding in cover and waiting for health to recover automatically. There were some notable differences between this Doom and the original, and confirm what many reported from its first reveal during last year’s Quakecon. The ability to double jump and clamber up ledges have been added for even more freedom of movement. The violence was also ramped up a notch with brutal Mortal Kombat-like finishing moves.
The arena style multiplayer that Doom helped kick off also returns. Players can expect domination, freeze tag, and clan arena as base modes available in the shooter, but the game is embracing the modding community with Doom Snapmap. Essentially, this is a modding tool built into the game that allows players to quickly and easily build their own maps. It also provides the ability to create all new gameplay modes by going in and creating or edit game logic. Additionally, the new content created can be shared across the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
The content created is not limited to just versus multiplayer either. The reel of multiplayer modes included co-op encounters, too.
The violent imagery depicted in the Doom reveal did not go without some controversy, however, as the usual cast of characters voiced their outrage. “Culture critics” Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh of Feminist Frequency both voiced their disgust as they have seemingly moved their “critiques” from feminist issues to violence in games, as well.
This helped spark headlines such as “Doom 4: Outrage as ‘grotesquely’ violent blockbuster is unveiled in front of a baying crowd” from U.K. tabloid Mirror Online, while the Independent also noted the criticism. Meanwhile, Time noted that the game was “incredibly violent,” but admitted that this is “quintessential Doom.” Gamers who have played Doom before were taken aback by the criticism though because the level of violence shown has been part of the appeal from the beginning.
@femfreq They said in the beginning that the game was going to be violent. LOL what did you expect??
— VS | ChemX (@ImChemX) June 15, 2015
The Doom series has always been one steeped in controversy, however. It was infamously tied to the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and was a regular target of disbarred Florida lawyer and anti-violent game activist, Jack Thompson.
Still, the general reaction from the games community familiar with the Doom franchise to the backlash is a cross between “it’s Doom, what did you expect” and the StripesSergeant Hulka quote, “Lighten up, Francis.”
What did you think of the Doom reveal? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Bethesda]