Oh my. This can't be good.
Id Software co-founder John Carmack announced that Doom 4 was on the way during QuakeCon 2007, and then made an official announcement a year later. So far there's no indication of when gamers will actually see the fourth installment on store shelves, and id Software is taking its usual "it's done when it's done" stance" as it has done throughout its career, backed by Bethesda's instance on keeping things quiet.
Development has gone into "Bethesda mode" according to a recent comment by Carmack, meaning nobody at Bethesda and id Software are saying a word about the game's progression. But Bethesda VP of Marketing and PR Pete Hines has finally broken the silence, admitting that there's more to the situation than just keeping the details under wraps.
Kotaku reports that the project has been plagued with mismanagement and a lack of communication for years, enough so that it has frustrated the staff at both id Software and parent company ZeniMax. The game also generated negative feedback, with some people referring to the shooter as "Call of Doom" because of the amount of scripted material. Many also thought it was mediocre due to the "shooting galleries of hordes of uninteresting enemies" peppered by interesting elements of horror and shock.
"The big thing [Id] tried to do was not seem like, 'Here’s a bunch of demons,'" one source said. "There was lots of concept art and prototype missions set up showing different parts of the earth being taken over, being warped and twisted into a hellish reimagining... It’s not just the demons: everything around you is changing. Humans are starting to struggle to go through an environment that is partially familiar, partially unknown now."
Sound familiar? The Doom 4 team supposedly wanted to follow the same paved road id Software took with Doom 3 in creating a reimagining of the original, classic shooter (Doom). This time the team was overhauling Doom 2's storyline, hence the "Hell on Earth" scenarios we previously saw in leaked screenshots.
But the Doom studio and Bethesda reportedly agreed to abandon this early version of the game the team had developed for three years, and re-double their efforts on a new "rebooted" version, beginning in 2011. The screenshots leaked in late February 2012 were long out of date before they even hit the internet, sources said. Bummer.
"An earlier version of Doom 4 did not exhibit the quality and excitement that id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect," Hines admitted. "As a result, id refocused its efforts on a new version of Doom 4 that promises to meet the very high expectations everyone has for this game and this franchise. When we’re ready to talk about the Doom 4 id is making, we will let folks know."
The story continues from here, a very long one which Kotaku unfolds in a rather lengthy, revealing read. Essentially the project was ignored while Bethesda and id Software pushed Rage out the door. Once that was done, id's management took a look at what the Doom 4 team had done over the last three years and saw a ton of things that needed to change. The answer? Start over from scratch.
"It was a very long overdue reboot that was accompanied by internal team management changes," one source said. "Morale got a lot better during this short time as people were encouraged to participate and there were cool ideas floating around."
The Doom 4 team was asked what Doom meant for them. Carmack said two things: demons and guns. Still, can you smell that? It smells like Duke Nukem Forever in the air all over again. But let's hope for better results.