DALLAS--At 12:01 on the morning of April 4, id Software held a not-so-small gathering to celebrate the release of the Xbox version of Doom 3. The location was the Game Rush game-store-within-a-video-store at a Blockbuster location in North Dallas.
About 200 people showed up to be among the first to receive a copy of Doom 3. Several id Software staffers were on hand to sign copies, give away T-shirts and posters (also signed), and hang out with their hardcore fan base. Todd Hollenshead, the CEO of Doom creator id Software, was on hand to answer questions, provide background, and offer a peek into id's future.
First, Hollenshead heaped praise on the Xbox, touting its superiority to other consoles. "In order to get the lighting and bump-mapping we needed for this game, the Xbox was the only viable choice. We could probably get the game to run on [other consoles], but the frame rate wouldn't be steady, and we'd have to make too many compromises," he said. That said, Hollenshead was also quick to dispel rumors about any Microsoft involvement in the decision to port the game. "Microsoft didn't pay us anything to choose the Xbox. It's simply the only console currently available that can handle our game with the intended results."
As for whether the recently released Resurrection of Evil expansion pack for the PC Doom 3 would wind up on the Xbox, Hollenshead said, "it's certainly something we're considering. The core engine is already running on the Xbox, but we are also working on a new IP [intellectual property] right now for the PC. I bring that up because, while other id games have appeared on various consoles over the year, the Xbox conversion we did of Doom 3 [with developer Vicarious Visions] was the most involved we've ever been in the conversion process. Also, since Nerve Software did the expansion pack, we would potentially be working with a different team."
Is that a yes? "I can't give a definite yes or no answer on that," Hollenshead said. Hollenshead also declined to elaborate on the all-new IP in development at id, which he revealed last May, other than to reconfirm that it would be a first-person shooter. "That's what we do best, so yes, I'll confirm that," he said.
Addressing whether future id games would be written for PCs or consoles, Hollenshead took a pragmatic approach: "Well, that's really more of a financial question than anything else," he said. "Over the past few years, PC game sales have either declined a little bit or stayed relatively flat, while console game sales have seen mostly double-digit growth. I don't know if we'll be releasing multiple SKUs at the same time, but as for PS3 and Xbox 2 and so on, yes, we will continue our development effort on the consoles."
"John [Carmack] has been playing with the tech on the new consoles for a bit now," he added. "I obviously can't talk about that as it's all under [wraps], but I think developing for multiple consoles will happen at id."
Hollenshead also teased the crowd with information about the upcoming QuakeCon, the annual id-sponsored frag-fest scheduled for this August 11 to 14 in Dallas. Namely, he revealed that the next installment in the conference's titular franchise will indeed be on hand, a fact omitted from last month's official lineup announcement. "We'll have Quake IV multiplayer to play," he said "And because it's also the 10-year anniversary of QuakeCon, we'll have a few other surprises as well."
Overall, the Xbox Doom 3 release event appeared to have been a win-win event for id staffers and fans. But the luckiest attendee was one jaded 12-year-old. Not only did he convince his father to buy him the ultraviolent M-rated game, but he also won a strategy guide for it by answering a Doom-based trivia question.