When Doom Eternal comes out on Friday, it won't include a deathmatch mode. The series that invented multiplayer deathmatch has done away with straight up murder competitions, because, according to Bethesda vice president Pete Hines, "that mode is eons old". "I don't know what that has to do with [Doom] other than that, well, a couple of decades ago we had that, so we should just have that again," he says.
Fair enough. Why pander to the past when you can rip and tear through player-controlled demons?
Hines explained his thinking in an interview with Shacknews, where he brought up the underwhelming multiplayer frag fests of Doom 2016. Id Software made the singleplayer, but multiplayer was handled by a separate studio called Certain Affinity. Alec (RPS in peace) described it as shifting the formula "from Schwarzenegger In Hell to Space Marines Chasing Each Other" in his Doom 2016 multiplayer review.
It's promising that Hines is on the same page:
"The biggest problem we thought we had with Doom 2016 - and folks can agree or disagree - was that [multiplayer] wasn't done at id, and felt really disconnected from the base game that everybody loved. That was a big thing that Marty and Hugo talked about: "Whether you're playing by yourself or with others, we want it to feel like you're all playing the same game." That's as opposed to, 'I'm a badass demon slayer in single-player, but when I go over to multiplayer, there are no demons, and it's just deathmatch.' I don't know what that has to do with [Doom] other than that, well, a couple of decades ago we had that, so we should just have that again."
The goal this time round is to carry over the same feeling from the singleplayer. Id themselves have developed Battle Mode, where two players control powerful demons while summoning lesser ones to harass a third player who controls the Slayer.
"For the Doom Slayer, it's the same experience you know [from the campaign] with the added complexity of playing against humans who are controlling the arena and adding to the challenges you have," Hines says. "There's still an AI element, obviously, but what a player can come up with and throw at you can be far more interesting."
Colour me intrigued. It's much better to attempt something new than rehash something antiquated, and the idea of spicing up regular slaughter by inserting human minds behind demon ones is alluring. Plenty of games let me shoot people who shoot back, and Doom isn't built around fighting enemies whose abilities mirror yours.
I haven't been able to try the multiplayer yet, but the campaign is fantastic, and you can read about why in my Doom Eternal Review. Here, have a quick peek:
"The highs in Doom Eternal come thick and fast and towering, in the midst of battles that demand total attention. New-new Doom nails that marriage of twitching and planning, the calculated deployment of rampant aggression. It makes you feel godly."
Doom Eternal comes out this Friday, on March 20th.