The lights are on
In light of today's news that beta access to the new Doom game is accompanying pre-orders for Wolfenstein: The New Order, it got us thinking about what we'd want in a modern Doom. According to a Kotaku report last year, Doom has been in development hell for over five years. This beta announcement is the first sign that the project might finally be on track. We still have no information on what direction the game has taken, but this is what we'd like to see from id Software.
A Serious, Dark Story...The first two Doom games pioneered the first-person shooter genre, but they were cartoony. Doom 3, which released nearly 10 years ago, caught the series up with the times by creating a moody atmosphere with innovative lighting techniques. The much-maligned flashlight or gun feature was a weird choice that was finally addressed in 2012's BFG Edition of the game, but making that tough choice further sold the atmosphere. Impactful horror games today like Amnesia and Slender rely on creating scares through player powerlessness. That's not really an option with Doom's trademark shotgun-focused gameplay, but it could be a start for the tone.
...Or The Exact OppositeOne of the thing that made the early Doom games amazing was the ridiculous demons constantly coming after you. Like the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot before it, id could embrace its past and go absolutely nuts with over-the-top gore. Zombified troops, Barons of Hell, imps, and more could shower the environments with blood, entrails, and bones. Stages could start in a realistic world and eventually get more and more hellish and nasty. This nostalgic approach can be a gamble, as we've seen with the final release of Duke Nukem Forever (also in 2011), but gore-filled horror is generally more timeless than '90s era gags and chauvinism.
Deeper MultiplayerThe fact that the new Doom is having a beta is the only thing we know for sure about the game. This signals that id might be placing more of a focus on multiplayer than it has in the recent past. Doom 3 launched with a measly four-person player count, with all modes based on a straightforward deathmatches. Even id's most recent game, Rage, only had vehicular versus play. We're not expecting Battlefield's massive player counts or Call of Duty-caliber depth, but Doom has to do something to make its mutliplayer stand out in today's landscape. To keep players coming back you essentially have to include some kind of progression system. Classic deathmatches are a given, but it would be cool to see more unique gameplay types like creatures versus humans or even a mode where one player is a huge cyberdemon pitted against several space marines.
Bring Back Doomguy's FaceIt doesn't make sense to have a small realtime feed of the protagonist's face on the screen at all times in today's modern clean HUD world, but this approach is quintessential Doom. Watching him scope out the scene, scream, and smile with bloody teeth brings so much character to a guy that never speaks. You could justify it by having the faces of your squad or other allies show up on the HUD when they communicate with you and/or horribly die. Then you could have the option to have a live feed of your own face running at all times, or if you're not into it, shut it off.
Go Nuts With The WeaponsThis is Doom so you're going to have to include a shotgun, chainsaw, chain gun, plasma gun, and the grandaddy of them all, the BFG9000. Now it's time to add in some more creations. id could pull from sci-fi as it has in the past or maybe we'll see a weapon crafted in the bowels of hell. The BFG at this point has to maintain that slow, green plasma effect for legacy purposes, but we're hopeful that id can top it with something even more extreme and powerful.
Recruit Metal Bands For The MusicThe first two Doom games had the best MIDI metal jam soundtracks. What better way to honor that than to recruit classic bands like Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax to contribute shredding tracks. id already scored Nine Inch Nails for Quake, maybe Trent Reznor would be up for it again when he's not winning Oscars and getting cut off at the Grammys.
Shake Up The EnvironmentsWe're fine with including some metallic space base corridors in the game, but there needs to be more variety. Doom 3 was essentially halls and hell. How about a futuristic Earth taken over by the forces of evil like what was hinted at in id teases from years ago? Who knows if that's still the plan anymore, but it would open things up to cityscapes instead of just a bland outpost.