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Tim Willits leaving Id Software after 24 years

One of the last of the Id Software old guard is parting company with the studio soon. Tim Willits wasn’t part of the original team of founders, but was there early enough to be credited as level designer on 1995’s Ultimate Doom and have a credit in almost everything since. After working as a designer and creative director on the likes of Quake, Doom 3 and Rage, and acting as studio director through the release of Rage 2, he’s left a mark on the FPS genre as we know it. After QuakeCon next week he’ll say his goodbyes and announce his plans for the future.

With Willits leaving, there’s little of the original Doom and Quake design team left at the studio. Kevin Cloud is the last of the core team. He did graphics and art on Doom and Quake, and most recently was lead producer for the SnapMap editor in Doom 2016 – a feature sadly absent from the upcoming Doom Eternal. Of the support crew, only Donna Jackson – office manager, business assistant and “Id Mom” – still stands. She’s been there wrangling generations of surly coders and level designers into behaving themselves. That probably deserves an award of some sort.

With this near-complete changing of the guards, we end up with a bit of a Ship Of Theseus situation. Id may still have the name, and may still be working on Quake and Doom and hosting QuakeCon, but is it still the same? The upcoming Doom Eternal simultaneously looks a little closer to the original DOS-era classics than its predecessor, but also a bit more daring. What’s next for Quake and Doom, now that their original creators are (nearly) all scattered to the winds? Only time can tell where the gibs will flow. Still, I’m curious what Willits has in mind next.

QuakeCon 2019 runs from July 25th to 28th at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. Doom Eternal is due out on November 22nd.

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Dominic Tarason

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