At one point, id Software's latest DOOM instalment was described as being firmly in development hell. Bethesda has since rebooted the project, and thanks to E3 2015 we got our first glimpse at DOOM's impressive gameplay.
The latest DOOM drops the methodical survival horror of DOOM 3, bringing the series back to its violently frenetic roots. DOOM appears to sport the maze-like level structures of the original, adding verticality with the ability to double jump and vault across platforms. Rapid weapon switching, violent and varied melee finishers and utterly insane gore typified the DOOM demos shown at Bethesda's conference.
id Software Executive Producer Marty Stratton described DOOM thusly:
...We've been inspired by the way those original DOOM games made us feel when we played them. Although their premise was simple, they made us feel smart, and smart, and powerful - and at times like we were part of something much larger than just that lone marine beating back the forces of hell with a shotgun...
After showing off DOOM's campaign mode, Marty proceeded to discuss DOOM's multiplayer mode, which he described as being fast-paced arena style combat across various locations. Domination, Clan Arena and Freeze Tag have all made the cut as game modes. The most surprising aspect of the brief multiplayer demo was the power-up to morph into one of DOOM's iconic Revenants, allowing you to leap around the map spraying rockets at will. Marty said they would be discussing DOOM multiplayer in more detail in the future, and I expect that those of us who hold beta access via the Wolfenstein pre-order deal will get an early hands-on.
DOOM will also pick up level creation tools with "uncompromising depth" called DOOM SnapMap. These tools will allow players to create detailed maps, and even new game modes across Xbox One, PS4 and PC without a shred of prior programming knowledge. The demo showed off the ability to create location-based triggers for creating custom events, custom enemy AI and whole new game modes using these tools on console. Content created via DOOM SnapMap can be shared instantly online, and activated for play with a single button press.
DOOM certainly appears to have emerged from development hell kicking and screaming.
DOOM launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC in Spring 2016.