DOOM Eternal – Reaction From QuakeCon

QuakeCon 2018’s main stage is the site of a number of momentous events this year, starting this past Friday. In a hall packed with expectant and excited fans, the on-stage gameplay reveal of DOOM Eternal gave the crowd a lot to chew on. Aside from graphics and basic tweaks to gameplay mechanics, id Software gave fans a gratuitous amount of gameplay footage, images, and hints to pick apart. Here’s a quick summary of some of the highlights.

Photo taken by Erica “d3dscr33n” Hernandez

New Gun Mechanics

Several of the original guns have gotten updates in exciting ways. The plasma rifle projectiles have been tweaked to have a more electric theme, and a new gun, called the Ballista andsimilar to the gauss cannon from Doom 2016, has been added. The biggest crowd pleaser, however, was the tweaks the Super Shotgun has undergone. A long-time fan favorite and iconic Doomguy tool, the Super Shotgun now does more than just blowing enemies away. An attachment they dubbed the “meat hook” has been added to the front of the gun that acts like a grappling hook, latching onto enemies and drawing Doomguy in from a distance. Doomguy can now zoom in and obliterate previously far-off enemies in under a second. Doomguy himself even has a new melee attachment, which wowed the crowd immediately. In addition, a new melee weapon (the sword from the end of DOOM 2016) was strongly hinted to be usable. Outside of these three, most guns have gotten an updated look, and more will be revealed in detail as we see more footage coming from the development team.

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Movement Mechanics

While Doomguy isn’t exactly a clumsy, lumbering hulk, his movements in the past have been limited to running and eventually jumping. Original DOOM did not even include a jumping or mouse-look mechanic. Doomguy in DOOM Eternal pushes the limits of mobility in new directions for players. The SSG introduced a new movement mechanic that Doomguy hadn’t previously had access to, a long-distance “dash”. Doomguy also demonstrated a short distance multidirectional double dash while running, and of course the double jump made an unsurprising but welcome return. In one dramatic sequence, Doomguy battles a horde of demons across a lava filled chasm, using a combination of airlifts, double dashes, double jumps, and grappling hook pulls to avoid ever touching the ground and raining dead demon on the Earth below. The possibilities for players with showy playstyles have definitely increased.

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New Demons

Old friends and new return to face off against players in this next DOOM installment. Three oldies but goodies, the Archvile, Pain Elemental and Arachnotron, showed up to battle today, to the great excitement of the crowd. The Archvile definitely setitself up as a boss, with an exciting cinematic to accompany its introduction. Aside from old faces, some new were introduced as well. No names were given yet for these new demons, but one in particular hinted at a potentially important plot point. Wearing what looked like a corrupted and destroyed version of Doomguy’s armor and wielding an ax, this knight-like demon promises exciting revelations in both story and combat mechanics.

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Game Modes

At the very end of the reveal, id told the audience they had developed a game mode called “Invasion”. This game mode allows players to possess a demon and invade another players campaign, alone or with other demon friends. Players can choose to allow invasions, be invaders, or play through the campaign without being bothered. No word was given on true coop mode, but there can really only be one Doom Slayer, so I’m not sure how they would frame two players in the campaign. Invasion was the only new game mode shown, and no info was given on multiplayer modes from previous games, such as deathmatch.

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Fan Reactions

Fan reaction, so far, is overwhelmingly positive. Over and over, fans discussed possibilities offered by the Invasion game type and the different types of demons shown. Some fans noticed a difference in the maps used between the teaser trailer and the gameplay reveal. The teaser showed an open and broken landscape dotted by demons, while the gameplay trailer map contained a much more claustrophobic urban landscape of hallways and semi open buildings with much more verticality. Hopefully this hints at a wide variety of environments for players to explore now that Doomguy has returned to Earth.

Fans have also noticed that this new DOOM reboot has definitely emphasized its focus on action and push forward combat by throwing more demons at the player, but also providing more abilities for Doomguy to utilize. Fans are excited to push Doomguy to his limits (although Doomguy has none). id teased a more human presence as well by dotting more non-demon NPCs within the gameplay, which has some fans nervous. Doomguy has never had to interact with living NPCs before, so hopefully this aspect will not take up too much player attention.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the Invasion game mode the most and seeing how the story progresses now that Hell has come to Earth. id promises to build not just a new DOOM game, but a whole DOOMiverse, which I think could be the beginning of a really rich world of lore. Original DOOM lore presentation confined itself to limited text intermissions, and DOOM 2 followed in these footsteps with small additions of objective information. The possibility of greater dept of lore is intriguing to many fans. Hopefully id won’t make us wait too long to find out more.

– Erica “d3dscr33n” Hernandez