At E3 2018, id Software announced a new entry in the DOOM franchise. Dubbed DOOM Eternal, it's a continuation of the 2016 reboot that set the franchise on a new path. Here's everything you need to know about it ahead of its launch later this month.
What is DOOM Eternal?
For quite some time, DOOM was an IP that existed in a state closely resembling limbo. What was known as an iconic game series had quickly been remade and rehashed to obscurity. That changed with the reboot of the franchise in 2016.
Aptly and succinctly titled DOOM, it was a huge success. Not only was one of the best feeling shooters to launch on contemporary consoles, but the game didn't shy away from the blood and gore that made the series what it is. The folks at id Software clearly had a love for the series, and it showed as the game was praised by nearly everyone who played.
DOOM was a huge success, so it's no surprise the developers want to take that formula and keep it going, and that's where DOOM Eternal comes in. It'll be the first game developed with id Tech 7, which features 10 times the graphical fidelity that the previous engine was capable of.
What's going on in DOOM Eternal?
The story picks up where DOOM (2016) left off, with you — playing as the menacing DOOM Slayer — trying to stop a demonic uprising. You find yourself on Mars, and your goal is to stop the man responsible for all of the chaos. His name is Samuel Hayden, a scientist who somehow bridged the gates of hell to Earth.
Scrambling to come up with a solution, he released the DOOM Slayer to end the invasion, but he knew it was a dangerous creature that threatened all in the universe, and that he had to dispatch it once the deed was done. His failsafe was to banish the DOOM Slayer instead of killing it, but that plan doesn't seem like it'll end up working out in the long run.
One of the things id Software wanted to do with the series is take it back even further. While DOOM was a nice ode to the classic no-frills shooting gallery, it didn't water itself down by referring to the original one too much. It was a nice balance of a classic concept with modern gameplay, graphics, weapons, and devastating finishing moves.
This time around, there will be references to many of the classic elements of the original DOOM games, including throwback weapons and newer takes on veteran enemies such as the Zombieman, Arachnotron, Archville, and Pain Elemental. Those guys will be joined by newcomers known as the Marauder and Doom Hunter, among others.
What will gameplay be like in DOOM Eternal?
The gameplay of the DOOM series is pretty straight forward: Take any weapon you can find, and go absolutely nuts on a horde of demons.
Seriously, DOOM Eternal is all about killing. Kill as much as you can, as often as you can. There will be no shortage of ways to go about doing that. Some of the weapons you can wield include a combat shotgun, a rocket launcher, a plasma rifle, a super shotgun, a heavy cannon, and even a whole ballista. Melee weapons will probably be the most fun, though.
The Crucible Blade is an energy sword imbued with demonic power. Or you could just wield the trusty old chainsaw. Your choice. Once your foes are weakened enough, you can finish them off with insanely cool Glory Kill executions, which lets you get your hands dirty and kill the things without the use of a weapon.
OK, so killing isn't all you do. There's still the matter of story objectives to tend to. While the story aspects of any DOOM game often leave a lot to be desired, there's still a narrative to be had in the games, so you'll be heading across plenty of hellish landscapes as you look to complete objectives. You can run up walls, zip around with a grappling hook, and dash around to get where you need to go, which means the level design should be even more interesting than it was in DOOM.
New to DOOM Eternal is "extra lives," which will grant you a brief period of invincibility in moments where you'd otherwise lose your life. These can be found at random and picked up by the player, and aim to eliminate a pain point from the original game where dying meant you had to be whisked back to the beginning of a level to do it all over again.
Some hardcore DOOM players may not accept that help with open arms, though it does sound like you can refuse to pick these extra lives up if you're more of a purist. Really, it sounds like they were meant more for DOOM Eternal's Invasion mode, which we'll touch on right now.
Does DOOM Eternal have multiplayer?
When DOOM launched in 2016, one of the main things that players and critics alike didn't love was the games multiplayer mode. id Software aims to change that this time around, as they've completely overhauled how the multiplayer of DOOM Eternal will work.
Unlike 2016's more Quake-like take on multiplayer, DOOM Eternal will feature a 2-on-1 match for each of its multiplayer moments, known as Invasion mode. One player will be taking on the role of the Slayer, aka Doom Guy, the person who has spent his whole life slaying demons. The other two players will have the option to select between a set of demons, which will all have various abilities. So, they won't be helping you stop the demon army — they are the demon army.
Demons can set traps, summon AI enemies, and otherwise attack the Slayer, while the Slayer simply has to kill both demons to win. It's a unique take on multiplayer that fits much more in the world of DOOM than anything prior.
You don't have to play with this mode turned on if you just want to chill out and enjoy the campaign, but it should offer a nice change of pace for players who tire of dealing with the AI. And, of course, all the other usual multiplayer modes return, including Team Deathmatch, Warpath (King of the Hill), Domination, and Clan Arena.
Invasion Mode is set to release as a free update shortly after launch.
Is SnapMap coming back?
DOOM featured an interesting level creation tool that allowed players to create custom hellacious funhouses to share with folks all around the globe. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like SnapMap will be making its return, as id Software's Marty Stratton has said that the company has no plans to bring the creation tool into DOOM Eternal. Of course, that's subject to change, and the tool could always make a return in future DLC, but for now, don't expect to see it back.
Will DOOM Eternal have DLC?
Speaking to Polygon during QuakeCon 2018, id Software's Marty Stratton confirmed that single-player DLC will be making its way to DOOM Eternal.
"We love that people are still playing the game," said Stratton, "and on their 20th time through the campaign or doing a speedrun or, you know, maxing out all of their guns or whatever. And we want to give people more reasons to come back, whether it's Invasion, or DLC, it's really important to us."
Stratton didn't go into detail on what exactly players could expect when it comes to DLC, but with more of a single-player focus being made on DOOM Eternal, it should result in a ton of extra content for players to experience.
When can you play it?
DOOM Eternal will launch on March 20, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. A Nintendo Switch version is currently being developed by Panic Button, but no release date for that version has been given yet. It's likely to be some time before Switch players will be able to jump back into hell.
Updated March 2020: Updated with all new information.
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