Y’know how Deadwood characters holler modern rude words so their cussin’ has the same impact on modern audiences as authentic 1870s oaths like “golly gee whillikers!” and “goodness me!” would’ve had on decent folks back in the day? How can/do/will/coulda/woulda/shoulda old game series be updated while keeping that flavour? I have no answer (because there is no one answer) but ask because a new cinematic trailer for this year’s Doom [official site] feels quite wrong in its attempt to bridge past and present, and it’s clearly a problem id have spent years (and years!) trying to get their heads around.
Not quite right, yeah? That thrashin’ song is certainly not a modern big-budget trailer tune but far too new for classic Doom (it’s from 1998 but hell, that sound was big for years after), isn’t it? And the eyemusic flows like an old game cinematic – but also not old enough. It sits uneasily in a space between ye olde Doom and the present day, invoking neither. It’s simply… 2005? This is the same problem facing id Software.
I’m not particularly interested in this trailer, just in a flu-y haze wondering about the approaches and problems of resurrecting a series. You wouldn’t insist Ralph McTell sing Streets of London over and over for 40 years (not you, you’re one of the good ones) and I wouldn’t expect or want id Software to Just Do Another Doom 2. Beyond the demonic dressing, what even is Doom, maaan? What would you want or expect to be carried into a modern-day, big-budget Doom? How would you rework oldbits to have the same impact on modern audiences?
Maybe the demons could hiss “sssstudent debt” and “prrroperty ladderrrhaha” instead of growling and roaring, yeah? Jokes.
We can soon see what id settled on, as Doom is due on Friday the 13th of May. Or you can watch bits of singleplayer gameplay, and the multiplayer closed beta started yesterday so bits of that are all over the place too.
I guess what I’m saying is, if id want to follow the classic Doom soundtrack technique of riffing on contemporary metal hits (they borrowed licks from bands like Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, and Alice in Chains – yeah yeah, I get that one all the time, thanks), then the new Doom tunes should be inspired by Babymetal.