Why Doom 4 Was Canceled

"A lot more cinematic; a lot more story to it. A lot more characters around you that you."


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Developers from id Software have spoken again about why the studio moved on from its concept for Doom 4. In a new episode of former GameSpot video producer Danny O'Dwyer's Noclip series, id Software designer Kevin Cloud, who made many of the high-level creative decisions for the game, said Doom 4 did not feel like a Doom game should in part because of its story and scope.

"We explored a direction and got to a certain point and felt like this really wasn't capturing what we felt like was going to be a strong Doom and what the fans would want from it," he said.

2016's Doom
2016's Doom

One of the game's pillars was providing the player with a greater sense of connection to the game world and its inhabitants.

Producer Marty Stratton acknowledged that Doom 4 had a "Call of Doom" feel to it, he said, referencing Activision's blockbuster Call of Duty series.

"It was much closer to something like that type of game," he said. "A lot more cinematic; a lot more story to it. A lot more characters around you that you were with throughout the course of the game. Definitely a different setting--it took place on Earth."

Doom 4 was going to have "unbelievable" production values, Stratton teased. But the game did not "feel" like a Doom game, Stratton said; it involved taking cover and fighting zombies in early sections.

"It was definitely a twist on Doom that took it into a much more cinematic, much more scripted type of experience," he said. "It was a reimagining of Doom in a way that was new. It didn't feel as much like Doom as I think a lot of us expected it would feel or hoped it would feel."

Creative director Hugo Martin is also quoted in the interview feature. He said Doom 4 had a "Robert Zemeckis-y Contact" feel to it, referencing the 1997 movie based on the Carl Sagan book.

"It was awesome, but it was more realistic," Martin said. "It was more about the global impact of a hellish invasion. As a concept I could see why they went there because I would probably want to explore that, too--if it wasn't a Doom game. To tell a bigger story, it scarified the doom slayer. Doom is about one guy involved in big things. Doom 4 was about the big things."

This isn't the first time people from id Software have talked about why Doom 4 was canceled. In 2014, studio director Tim Willits said Doom 4 "didn't have...passion and soul."

"It wasn't one thing," he said. "It wasn't like the art was bad, or the programming was bad. Every game has a soul. Every game has a spirit. When you played Rage, you got the spirit. And [Doom 4] did not have the spirit, it did not have the soul, it didn't have a personality. It had a bit of schizophrenia, a little bit of an identity crisis. It didn't have the passion and soul of what an id game is."

Bethesda confirmed in April 2013 that development on the game had been rebooted. The new version, simply titled Doom, would go on to launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in May 2015 behind rave reviews. The game's newest free update lets you play against bots.

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Avatar image for Geogyf

Ultimately the made the right choice, since new Doom was a big success.

Avatar image for deviltaz35

@Geogyf: True and Rage was rather ordinary surprised that was released.

Avatar image for Orontes13

"Doom 4 had a "Call of Doom" feel to it"

And the new Doom does not? Stop being pretentious. The new Doom is even more primitive than Call of Duty. A mindless shooter if there ever was one.

Avatar image for JustinGoSka

I'm glad they didn't make a Doom game out of that plot. What makes Doom great is how ridiculously awesome it is. If it becomes too realistic and narrative heavy, it loses its over the top awesomeness.

The kind of plot they're talking about might make for a good Doom tie-in novel though.

Avatar image for fanboyman

Sounds like they made the right move, Call of Doomy isn't something I'd want to play. The concept sounds cool though maybe a RageXDoom crossover with that concept could work?

Avatar image for soul_starter

Doom was a lot of fun but I feel Titanfall 2 just takes all the shooters this year because it had the best mechanics of the lot.

Avatar image for yukushi

I hate the annoying jumping and searching to find where I am suppose to go but I love the shooting in doom.

Avatar image for c0mmanderKeen

Definitely go and check out NoClip - it's awesome, back it if you want to help people make proper vg journalism!

Avatar image for deactivated-5a3920d6b9003

The DOOM reboot has many flaws, like the bad sound design and of course the pointless multiplayer, but its definitely much better than having yet another cinematic cover shooter full of gameplay boredom, The campaign of this "DOOM 4" has been quite good.

Avatar image for ricky9999

Ah ha because of that thought, I couldnt enjoy the Doom game I have waited for. I would prefer a game that has more cinematic more story to it than just running around with guns...

Avatar image for Rushaoz

@ricky9999: Then Doom wasn't a game you were never meant to like. Doom 1 and 2 was just running around with guns and killing demons and some cool level design. Doom 2016 nailed that perfectly which is why so many people love it.

Avatar image for ricky9999

@Rushaoz: I know that man, but at least Doom 3 was amazing to me even though it was totally different from original. But gaming nowaday changed a lot. Run n gun isnt bad but we call it "gameplay". It means that based on what dev team wants, they could add more things to that. Of course, time of developing can cause a big change in the end. Maybe they were afraid of failure, they sticked to original style. Safe n sound for gaming industry.

Avatar image for Utnayan

@Rushaoz: Oh give me a break. It was a low effort recoup of costs after it was in development hell and some of you people actually bought right into that nonsense. Doom 1 and 2 were made in the 90's for God's sake - when shooter mechanics were plainly for just that without any game play variance. Which was fine 20 years ago. Why? IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO. It was also a game which was shareware and you would register it for 15 bucks and get a full game as a result. 20 years later this thing was pissing away development money and marketing came up with an idea to just ship something. Anything. It is shallow design in 2015-2016, and should/could have been a hell of a lot more than what was shit out. I do not blame them for it because they are a for profit company after all, but sweet God are some of you gullible when it comes to the end result and thinking this was all by design just for you. Laughable.

Avatar image for Rushaoz

@Utnayan: Your bias is showing. People loved it. Doom fans loved it. It was rated well. Get over it.

Avatar image for gameroutlawzz

@Rushaoz: This. DOOM 2016 was amazing. PERFECT gameplay, PERFECT singleplayer experience.

Avatar image for Utnayan

@Rushaoz: What bias? A bias that a developer shit the bed on this development cycle and this is all they came out with as you defend the game and actually believe the non sense that this game design was planned from the get go? If so, it would have been launched 8 years ago due to the simplicity of the systems. They recouped costs with a horrible marketing angle and you fell into the trap. (They still lost money on the game). This was due to too many cooks in the kitchen all with egos the size of Jay Leno's chin and nothing could get accomplished. It will go down as a mockery of internal game design decisions and what NOT to do. Bias. Wait, you're an Eagles fan. You are excused - as you are used to disappointment and have probably just gotten used to it. Like with this title.

Avatar image for Rushaoz

@Utnayan: I only read like half of that reply but you seem to be angry. They make pills for that ya know. Seriously, If you're this upset over a video game I think it's time you give up gaming and go outside for a change. There's more to life than bitching on the internet about something you have no control over. I'm gonna go play some Doom now. :)

Avatar image for nachtdertoten204

@Rushaoz: He hasn't responded so i think you've beaten the troll

Avatar image for Utnayan

@Rushaoz: Oh ok you go do that :) Maybe you should get a job instead :)

Avatar image for Rushaoz

@Utnayan: I am at work. I'm an IT admin and my workstation doubles as a gaming PC. It's not against the law to do a little gaming on my break now, is it? ;-)

Avatar image for Utnayan

@Rushaoz: Depends on your organization since none of that would be state law. Although it should be against the law to play this crappy game on any company's time!

Avatar image for Rushaoz

@Utnayan: lol.. I also play Unreal Gold and the UT Alpha if that's any consolation.

Avatar image for Utnayan

@Rushaoz: That's more like it.

Avatar image for Adenosine

I would have probably enjoyed their cancelled version of Doom 4 more than what was released. A long time ago during the Wolfenstein/Doom days, it's understandable that there wouldn't be multiple computer players helping you or cutscenes and other events that would help tell a story. The machines just weren't capable of handling that much situations going on at once back then. Now, we have the technology to do so, so why not? Doom doesn't need to be a 99% shooter, 1% story. It can still retain the "1 Man Demon Slaying Machine" aspect while still having a bunch of other "good guys" around being massacred by monsters. Sure, that's the trademark of Wolfenstein and Doom, a super Rambo type of character, but it would also be nice to have a more cinematic story and interactivity to the experience aside from splattering monsters every second.

Avatar image for asifah30

I didn't play any Doom game before but DOOM 2016 was the great experience, I am not a repeat type gamer but I instantly played DOOM twice. I'd rate it 9/10 and my personal GoTY.

Avatar image for bravenz

For me, Doom was a disappointment because it felt too much like a coridor arcade shooter. I wish it felt like Doom 3, more horifying and exilirating.

Avatar image for xXxKTTxXx

@bravenz: a "Corridor" arcade shooter????? Doom 3 was literally corridors with monster closets!!!!

I actually like Doom 3 a lot, but it's nowhere near the awesomeness of the old ones & 2016 Doom.
Doom 3 felt like a slow horror experience, which is great, but not actually "Doom".

On the contrary, Doom 2016 is waaaay more open and exciting.

Avatar image for bravenz

@xXxKTTxXx: That is your oppinion. I'm sticking to mine.

Avatar image for xXxKTTxXx

@bravenz: No problems there I'm not trying to oppose your opinion :)

I just found it a bit weird when you called Doom 2016 a corridor shooter when Doom 3 is the definition of the word xD

Avatar image for bravenz

@xXxKTTxXx: Yea you are right there but for a 2016 game it does feel like one.

Avatar image for louixiii

Well I'm glad they changed it because DOOM was freaking awesome. That's my shooter of 2016

Avatar image for jimmkd84

Doom 2016 was a disappointment. It's just the same thing over and over again run into room kill everything proceed. It's just boring, I don't think it pays homage to the old shooters I just think it too the easy way out in terms of its design

Avatar image for batts86

@jimmkd84: you're obviously a kid and never played the classic shooters. Because that is EXACTLY what they were.....

Avatar image for Utnayan

@batts86: 20 years ago. Yes. I also used to drink Milwaukee's Best beer when I was in college and couldn't afford more than a 12 pack of swine water. Beer evolved and low and behold, I now also have a well paying job and Microbrews destroy anything made in bulk. You want to play game design from 1996 no one is stopping you. You want a new generation game with limited play systems and shit multiplayer from 1996 reskinned? Charge appropriately for it. $29.

Avatar image for gameroutlawzz

@Utnayan: Dude. Stop trying to convince yourself. We got it, youre a pretentious casual loser who sucks at games in general. DOOM was amazing. Ive been gaming for 30 years, played THOUSANDS of games of each fucking types on both PC and consoles. DOOM nailed everything right. If youre a GAMER, yo uwant GAMEPLAY for your GAMES. If youre a GAMER, you can ADAPT to different GAMEPLAY and ownt want all of your GAMES to PLAY the same. You got it ? GAME = GAMEPLAY. Now go drink your hipster microbrew garbage. Beers all taste like piss anyway. Weed is the way to go.

Avatar image for Utnayan

@gameroutlawzz: You would have to be a druggie to think this game was anything but mediocre garbage with good shooting mechanics. Human's evolve. Also, sorry Hilary lost. Did you get your comfort dogs sent to you yet?

Avatar image for c0mmanderKeen


run into room kill everything proceed.

I don't think it pays homage to the old shooters

Wut? :D That is exactly what those were. Did you crank up the difficulty so you had to constantly fight for your life? Did you hunt the secrets, all the challenges & weapon addons? Strongly disagree with "the easy way out" as well, this was the risky route for sure - the easy way out was to stick with call of doom. I got Quake 2 vibes from this game the first half, Quake vibes from the second half.

Avatar image for Utnayan

@c0mmanderKeen: Lol risky my ass. You do realize this was in development hell for over 8 years and to cash in on the work already done and ship a "Lost cause", marketing came up with this "Old style shooter back to the glory days" crap and you bought into it. You actually think the game design was based on this? It was the simplest way to release something to get back some of the money thrown in in the most simplistic way possible. Bethesda is LAUGHING right now that this actually worked out where they didn't take such a huge loss.

Avatar image for c0mmanderKeen

@Utnayan: I didn't buy into it, I played the game two times over right after the first time through. I loved the crap out of it, it works so well. It channels Quake like no other game has, ever. I suppose Doom as well but the gameplay on a single plane is kinda hard to carry over, Serious Sam did that a lot though.

Not really sure what you are arguing, however. They ditched the most of the work already done. You can see an excellent docu about this on Noclip, but I guess you won't anyway. I could not care less about what Bethesda is happy about or not, I certainly am though!

Avatar image for cornbredx

It still kinda does, but it's mostly better than that too.

Now it's more of a Unreal Doom, which is kind of cool (when the game gets good which takes a little while) but it's still not Doom.

The multiplayer on the other hand is just Halo trash.

Avatar image for emperorpepe

Doom 4 had a "Call of Doom" feel to it

So it was going to be exactly like one Bethesda made.

Avatar image for c0mmanderKeen

@emperorpepe: Actually, no.

Avatar image for poe13

@emperorpepe: did you play the same game? New DOOM is nothing like Call of Duty. It has the arena shooter vibe with the fast movement speed and no reloading. It definitely pays homage to the shooters of old than modern shooters that repeatedly put out the whack-a-mole approach.

Avatar image for darthrevenx

@emperorpepe: game was originally developed from Doom 3, more story, deeper story, a big Doom 2 hell on earth vibe but it was all gonna be a living world.....basically same thing they did with Quake 4 but bigger scale.....

the glory kills came out of Doom 4's development.....watch Danny's vid......it's awesome....


people put the Call of Doom tag on there cus it's the easy way to describe it but it's more Quake 4 with hell and demons.....

actually though I think Q4 was more raven than it was id Software.....even that game didn't fit with what Id was about, Rage did though.....but that's another issues entirely....

Avatar image for metallinatus

"Doom 4 had a "Call of Doom" feel to it, producer says."

THANK LORD it was canceled.

I don't need to read anything else, just came here to say that....

Avatar image for Barighm

These guys should have a talk with Squeenix. They avoided the urge to mainstream their games, went back to the old school approach, and were rewarded for it. They produced a very good game and won back a lot of respect.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c2415ad0d4d0

@Barighm: Which one???

FF15? Is the most mainstream of the mainstream, a pinnacle of dumbification of games.

A game with 2 buttons is no game, hold button to auto attack and do cool tricks, press another on time to block/jump away.

They reduced magic and spells and amount of summons.

FF x (and all others before it) had full party control, tons of summons, items to wear and gazilion of spells!!!