Today is Doom’s 20th anniversary and Wired has a long interview with John Carmack about this legendary FPS title. At the end of the interview, Wired asked John what was going on with Doom 4 and as most would expect, John did not reveal much. John claimed that this subject is something he can’t really go into much in detail, though he did reveal some tiny bit information about its development.
It appears that id Software had a lot of difficulty figuring out the essence of Doom and what would be the best way to move forward:
“It’s been hard—one of the things that was a little bit surprising that you might not think so from the outside, but deciding exactly what the essence of Doom is, with this 20-year history, is a heck of a lot harder than you might think. You get multiple Doom fans that have different views of what the core essence of it is, and there’s been a design challenge through all of it.”
Sounds logical but what about the development hell that has occurred? id Software claimed that Doom 4 would be done when it’s done, however John now believes that this stance was completely wrong:
“The worst aspect of the continuing pace of game development that we fell into was the longer and longer times between releases. If I could go back in time and change one thing along the trajectory of id Software, it would be, do more things more often. And that was id’s mantra for so long: “It’ll be done when it’s done.” And I recant from that. I no longer think that is the appropriate way to build games. I mean, time matters, and as years go by—if it’s done when it’s done and you’re talking a month or two, fine. But if it’s a year or two, you need to be making a different game.”
Reading behind words, it’s pretty obvious that id Software had issues with Doom 4 in multiple levels. The company could not determine what to do next with the franchise and how to approach a new Doom chapter. Not only that, but in doing so the company was unable to offer to its fans something to ease the wait.
Ironically, it seems that Doom 4 and Duke Nukem Forever share the same “WID” fate. Similarly to 3D Realms who did not release its Unreal Engine version of DNF (as it was not THE best Duke Nukem game they could create), id Software is trying hard to create something that will be worth the wait.
Problem is that Doom 4 may be the next Duke Nukem Forever joke, especially if the end product does not live up to its name or hype.