The Escalating Power Fantasy of Doom Eternal

Games Features Doom Eternal
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The Escalating Power Fantasy of <i>Doom Eternal</i>

Perhaps one of the most exciting moments at Quakecon 2018 was the reveal of the first gameplay footage from Doom Eternal, the sequel to the 2016 reboot that was first announced at E3 2018. Bethesda chose to release that at their annual fan event, and also gave me a chance to sit down with the game’s director Marty Stratton and Id Software Creative Director Hugo Martin. Here are a few questions about this next chapter in the Doom series reboot, with thoughts from two of the main forces behind it.

Paste: So, a point of clarification. Early reports coming out of Quakecon 2018 have quoted you as saying there will be “twice as many demons” as before. By that do you mean quantity, or do you mean demon types?

Marty Stratton: When we say that, we mean types. One of the criticisms of [Doom 2016] was our own criticism, that as you got to the latter half of the game, the second half, it really needed a kind of shot of demon variety. So that’s really what we’re trying to address.

Paste: Would you say that there are mostly fresh designs, or are they variations on the originals?

Stratton: Any of the originals that were in Doom 2016 that are returning are updated, there’s really nothing left untouched. We have some that were bringing classics back to the fold, like the Arachnotron and the Pain Elemental, and then we have totally new ones, in fact quite a few that we haven’t talked about or shown. We showed the Marauder and the Doom Hunter…but we have a whole bunch of other ones that are totally new and very exciting.

Paste: The pressure and expectation, with a sequel, is often for the developer to build on what they did before, to up the ante, if you will. Doom has already set the precedent for being one of the most intense shooter games ever made. How do you address the pressure to keep escalating with a game that is already very over the top?

Stratton: I think we are our first point of pressure, honestly, so we love to read all the comments online and we look at all that stuff, but we’re our first critics. And our first audience members. We want to play the next great slayer, we want to have that fun. We’ve been working on this for a year and a half, two years now, so, it’s gotta be fun because, we wanted to move forward on the gameplay.

Paste: So would you maybe say the setting of Earth, taken over by Hell, the improvements on the weapons and how they encourage verticality, is a part of that sort of escalation of intensity?

Stratton: Everything is about that escalation, the escalation of the power fantasy of, ‘how can we make him more powerful?’

Hugo Martin: It’s not just the movement speed, or the guns, it’s a little bit of everything. The setting, the set pieces. When you look at that Mars core scene when you’re going through on Phobos, and you’re fighting in search of the moon, yeah there’s a few more enemies, and dash and double jump certainly contribute to it, but then you’ve also got this giant cannon that’s firing every ten seconds and so it’s very chaotic and epic and that raises the intensity as well, the music, the cinematic quality to it all, which really just feels like this big bombastic action movie. So it’s a bunch of little things happening that raises the intensity, and that definitely is the goal.

Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.