Doom: Reimagining a Classic Dallas-Made Game in 2016



In the early 1990s, Dallas-based game studio id Software helped define the first-person shooter genre with Doom and its sequel Doom II.

This year, the studio returned to its roots with a new Doom game that somehow managed to recapture the fast-paced action and incredible level design of the original games while also modernizing the series for a 2016 audience.

During the recent Let’s Play Gaming Expo in Plano, id Software held a panel where it talked about how it was able to recreate the feel of Doom more than 20 years after the release of the original. The panel included Chad Eanes, a producer who worked on the level design of the new Doom, and Roberto Garcia-Lago, an associate producer who worked on core gameplay elements.

Eanes started off the panel by asking the audience what they think of when they remember the original Doom games. The answers included the games’ aggressive action, expansive levels, and incredible variety of demons to kill. According to Eanes, these three elements make up the core pillars of the Doom experience that id set out to recapture in its newest game.


Eanes and Garcia-Lago explained that id chose game design elements that are meant to emphasize the type of gameplay that fans remember from the classic games in the series. For example, none of the weapons in Doom need to be reloaded. That means that there is never a pause in the shooting, and players can keep firing until either they run out of bullets entirely or everything else in the room is dead.

“Doom is supposed to be about killing demons, not hiding behind cover while you manage your weapons,” Garcia-Lago joked.

Garcia-Lago also noted that there is no regenerating health in the new Doom, which means that players are forced to explore the level and find health pickups if they want to recover from damage. This encourages players to charge ahead in the game rather and hiding behind a corner as they wait to recover.


When it came to level design, Eanes said the team at id once again looked to the original games for inspiration. Classic Doom included levels that were not only massive and maze-like, but they were also crammed full with secret rooms to explore.

The new Doom is no different, with dozens of secret areas scattered throughout the game. Each level even includes a hidden callback to the original games, with secret rooms taken straight from classic Doom levels.

While many fans, including those who attended the Let’s Play Gaming Expo panel, praise classic Doom’s non-linear level design, Eanes explained that many of the levels were actually more linear than people seem to remember, particularly the early levels in the games. This allowed players to learn how to play the games before they were thrown into the deep end with massive, non-linear levels with no clear objectives.


The last pillar of Doom, according to Eanes and Garcia-Lago, is the wide variety of enemies encountered throughout the game. This experience was directly translated into the new Doom, which includes more than 20 different demons, all with different attack styles.

There are fast demons, slow demons, demons that leap from the walls, demons that charge like a rhino, demons that shoot lasers, demons that shoot rockets, and more.

By mixing and matching all of the different enemy types, id was able to create a wide variety of encounters that force players to constantly adapt their tactics to fit the situation. The only thing that remains consistent through each fight is the fact that if you stop moving, you’re dead.

There is good news for gamers who are not entirely sold on the new Doom yet. id has made the first level of the game available for free as a demo on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam. If you are a fan of the originals, then you should definitely give the new demo a shot.


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