Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal is a first-person shooter game developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. The sequel to Doom (2016), and the fifth main game in the Doom series, it was released on March 20, 2020, for Windows, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One, with a version for Nintendo Switch being released on December 8, 2020 and versions for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S being released on June 29, 2021. Set some time after the events of the 2016 game, the story follows the Doomguy once again, on a mission to end Hell's consumption of Earth and foil the alien Maykr's plans to exterminate humanity.

Doom Eternal
Packaging artwork depicting the Doom Slayer fighting the Marauder and a horde of demons
Developer(s)id Software
Publisher(s)Bethesda Softworks
Director(s)Hugo Martin
Producer(s)Timothy Bell
Programmer(s)
  • Evan Eubanks
  • Billy Ethan Khan
Artist(s)Tony Garza
Writer(s)
  • Hugo Martin
  • Adam Gascoine
  • Jon Lane
  • Chad Mossholder
Composer(s)
SeriesDoom
Engineid Tech 7
Platform(s)
Release
  • Windows, PS4, Stadia, Xbox One
  • March 20, 2020
  • Nintendo Switch
  • December 8, 2020
  • PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
  • June 29, 2021
Genre(s)First-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Along with the single-player campaign, a multiplayer mode titled "Battlemode" was introduced. In this mode, players can either play as the Doom Slayer or as a demon, and fight until either the Doom Slayer defeats the demons, or vice versa. Another mode, Horde mode, is currently in development.[1] Players will be able to join other player's single-player campaigns and fight each other. The Ancient Gods, a two-part standalone campaign DLC set after the events of the main game, was released between October 2020 and March 2021.

Upon release, Doom Eternal received critical acclaim, with praise for its campaign, graphics, level design, soundtrack and combat mechanics, though some disliked the increased focus on storytelling and its platforming sections. Doom Eternal received five nominations at The Game Awards for 2020, including Game of the Year and Best Action Game.

Gameplay

Players once again take on the role of the Doom Slayer who battles the demonic forces of Hell, from a first-person perspective. The game continues its predecessor's emphasis on "push-forward" combat, encouraging the player to aggressively engage enemies in order to acquire health, ammo, and armor. The player has access to various firearms, such as the Combat Shotgun, Super Shotgun, Heavy Cannon, Rocket Launcher, Plasma Rifle, Chaingun, BFG 9000, and Ballista. Melee weapons such as a chainsaw, the "Crucible Blade" energy sword, the Sentinel Argent Hammer, and a retractable arm-blade called the "Doomblade" can also be used. The arm-blade provides the opportunity for a larger variety of quick and violent "glory kill" executions, which drop extra health. The Super Shotgun is now equipped with the "Meat Hook", a ranged accessory which grabs on to enemies and slingshots the player towards them, functioning as a grappling hook, useful both in combat scenarios and environmental navigation. The Doom Slayer's armor now includes a shoulder-mounted Equipment Launcher with the ability to lob grenades and ice bombs. Additional to it is the Flame Belch, a flame thrower which sets enemies on fire with it to drop armor pickups. Finally, killing enemies with the chainsaw will drop ammunition.[2] New movement mechanics such as wall-climbing, dash moves, and horizontal bars to swing from have also been introduced.[3][4]

Like its predecessor, Doom Eternal invites the player to develop simple tactics. As the game gets harder, the player needs to use the advantages of fight arenas, and their bonuses, in more strategic ways. They also need to decide which enemy has to be killed first and how to move on the battlefield.[5][6][7]

Creative director Hugo Martin has stated there would be twice as many demon types as in the 2016 reboot. There are new types of enemies, such as the Marauder and Doom Hunter, while others, such as the Pain Elemental, Arachnotron, and Archvile, have been reintroduced from previous Doom entries. A new system called "Destructible Demons" is featured, in which enemies' bodies become progressively destroyed and deteriorated in combat as they suffer damage. Through this system, certain parts of a demon's anatomy can be destroyed to eliminate their ability to use their stronger attacks. There is also a new lives system. During gameplay, players can collect 1-up items (which look like green helmets) scattered around the environment. When the Doom Slayer perishes in combat, he will respawn where he died if he has spare lives, instead of restarting at the nearest checkpoint.

The game features several asymmetric multiplayer modes, including "Battlemode". This game type is a 2v1 PvP multi-round match where two player-controlled demons take on one fully loaded Slayer. There are five playable demons at launch, with more to be included in free updates post-launch. The five initially available demons are the Marauder, Mancubus, Pain Elemental, Revenant, and Arch Vile. In addition to regular attacks, each demon has a "summoning wheel", which contains a selection of four additional abilities. An additional mode, Horde mode, is also in the works, and is expected to be released as a free post-launch update.[8]

Also new to the game is the hub area, called "Fortress of Doom", which players can visit between missions, containing a number of rooms with upgrades and gear locked behind doors. Players can also unlock a bonus weapon, the Unmaykr, after clearing six challenging Slayer Gates.[9]

Plot

Main campaign

Some time after the events on Mars, Earth has been overrun by demonic forces, wiping out 60% of the planet's population, under the now-corrupted Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC). What remains of humanity has either fled Earth or have joined the Armored Response Coalition, a resistance movement formed to stop the invasion, which has gone into hiding after suffering heavy losses. The Doom Slayer, having previously been betrayed and teleported away by Dr. Samuel Hayden, returns with a satellite fortress controlled by the AI VEGA to quell the demonic invasion by killing the Hell Priests: Deags Nilox, Ranak, and Grav. The priests serve an angelic being known as the Khan Maykr who seeks to sacrifice mankind for her own race's survival. The Slayer teleports to a destroyed city and kills Deag Nilox, but the Khan Maykr transports the two remaining priests to unknown locations, forcing the Slayer to continue searching.

After retrieving a celestial locator from the Sentinel world of Exultia, the Slayer travels to Hell to retrieve a power source from an exiled Sentinel known as the Betrayer, who gives him the power source and a dagger that he asks Slayer to use to kill the heart of his son, whose body was turned to that of an apocalyptic demon, the Icon of Sin. VEGA directs the Slayer to Deag Ranak's citadel in the Arctic, where the Slayer kills him after taking out his cybernetic Doom Hunters. In response, the Khan Maykr moves Deag Grav to a hidden location and accelerates the invasion of Earth. With no leads on finding the last Hell Priest, VEGA suggests finding Dr. Hayden, who knows his location. The Slayer goes to an ARC compound where he retrieves Hayden's damaged robot chassis and the demonic Crucible.

Upon uploading Hayden's mind into the fortress, he reveals Deag Grav is hiding on Sentinel Prime, the only way to get there being a portal located in the lost city of Hebeth in Mars' core. The Slayer travels to a facility on Phobos where he uses the BFG 10000 to shoot a hole in the surface of Mars, then reach Hebeth. After reaching Sentinel Prime, flashbacks reveal the Slayer to be Doomguy. Found badly wounded by Sentinels sometime after Doom 64, Doomguy was brought before the Deags and was forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena. Impressed by Doomguy's ruthlessness in battle, the Deags inducted him into the Sentinels, while the Khan Maykr inquired into Doomguy's knowledge of the demons. In the present, the Slayer finds Deag Grav in the arena, defeats his guardian, the Gladiator, and kills him, but is excommunicated from the Sentinels for murdering Deag Grav on sacred ground and returns to the fortress.

Upon the Slayer's return, the fortress is shut down remotely by the Khan Maykr to prevent any further interference in her plans. She reveals her intentions to resurrect the world-eating super-demon, the Icon of Sin, to consume mankind. Instructed by Samuel Hayden, the Slayer uses the demonic Crucible's latent Argent energy to reactivate the fortress and travels to the Sentinel homeworld of Argent D'Nur to retrieve his own Crucible from his time in the Sentinels. Further flashbacks reveal that during the ill-fated battle of Argent D'Nur, a rogue Maykr known as the Seraphim imbued Doomguy with superhuman abilities by putting him in the Divinity Machine, transforming him into the Doom Slayer. After retrieving the hilt of the Slayer's Crucible, it is revealed that the Khan Maykr had made a pact with Hell to produce Argent energy, which is created through the mass sacrifice of human souls. In return for providing worlds for Hell to invade, the Maykrs receive a share of the Argent energy produced by Hell which allows their own dimension, Urdak, to survive.[10]

Hayden directs the Slayer through Hell's massive citadel, Nekravol, until he finds a portal leading to Urdak. He finds the Khan Maykr and halts the awakening ceremony by using the Betrayer's dagger to destroy the Icon's heart. Free from Maykr control, the Icon of Sin awakens and teleports to Earth. With the dimensional barrier destroyed, the demons break their alliance with the Maykrs and proceed to invade Urdak. The Slayer kills the Khan Maykr before returning to Earth to confront the Icon of Sin, although VEGA is left behind to ensure the portal stays open. After an intense battle across the cityscape, the Slayer kills the Icon of Sin by stabbing the Icon's exposed brain with the Crucible, putting an end to Hell's invasion of Earth. As the Slayer walks away, King Novik, ruler of the Sentinels, states how his fight is "eternal."

The Ancient Gods - Part One

Despite having defeated the Icon of Sin and halting Hell's invasion of Earth, the Doom Slayer's victory did not come without cost. The death of the Khan Makyr and Hell's conquest of Urdak have given the demons a chance to dominate all dimensions and reinitiate their invasion of Earth. To prevent this, the Slayer, along with Samuel Hayden and ARC scientists, embark on a mission to find and liberate the Seraphim. The Slayer travels to the UAC Atlantica Facility, where the Seraphim's containment pod resides. He uploads Hayden's consciousness into the pod, and it is revealed that he and the Seraphim are one and the same.

The Seraphim turns out to be suffering from a terminal illness called transfiguration and tasks the Slayer with retrieving the Father's Life Sphere from the Blood Swamps of Hell, located within the Ingmore's Sanctum, in order to return him to physical form. After fighting his way through the Blood Swamps and passing the Trial of Maligog, the Slayer finds the sphere. However, he chooses to destroy it rather than hand it to the Seraphim and instead retrieves the Dark Lord's Life Sphere with the intent of resurrecting and then destroying him, which in turn will destroy all demons outside of Hell by extension.

The Slayer returns to Urdak, which has been corrupted by the demons' occupation, and reaches the Luminarium where anyone who has a Life Sphere may activate it. However, the Slayer is confronted by the Seraphim, consumed by degenerative transfiguration, and defeats him before he is teleported away by the Father. Despite being warned that bringing the Dark Lord into physical form is irreversible, the Slayer proceeds to summon him and discovers that the Dark Lord looks almost identical to him.

The Ancient Gods - Part Two

Having summoned the Dark Lord into existence, the Doom Slayer attempts to kill him but fails as blood cannot be shed in the Luminarium. The Dark Lord tells the Slayer he will be waiting in Hell's capital city of Immora for their final confrontation.

In order to reach Immora, the Father informs the Slayer that he must activate the Gate of Divum, the only portal capable of reaching the city. The Father sends the Slayer to Argent D'nur to recover a Wraith Crystal, which is needed to power the portal. The Slayer heads for the crystal's location inside the World Spear, a massive crystalline alien ship that had landed on the planet long ago. On the way, the Slayer encounters the Betrayer, who has reassumed his original name, Valen, after the defeat of the Icon of Sin. Valen gifts the Slayer with a Sentinel Hammer energy weapon to replace his lost Crucible. The Slayer lights the Torch of Kings to rally the remaining uncorrupted Sentinel forces, then enters the World Spear and recovers the Wraith Crystal.

Returning to Earth with the Crystal, the Slayer activates the Gate of Divum. Traveling to Immora, the Slayer is greeted by the city's formidable defenses consisting of a massive wall and an army of demons. He is assisted by an army of Sentinels led by Valen who also teleport in and assault the city. While Hell's main forces are occupied with them, the Slayer breaches Immora and follows the Dark Lord's trail to another portal.

Teleported to an arena, the Dark Lord and the Slayer fight. The Dark Lord reveals that he was the true creator of the multiverse and that Jekkad (later known as Hell) was the first dimension. The Maykrs, including the Father, betrayed him and rewrote history to show the Father as the first being, which, in turn, led to the enraged Dark Lord influencing Samur Maykr to turn Doomguy into the Doom Slayer, whose original purpose was to (unintentionally) contribute to the destruction of the Maykrs and the Father, fulfilling the Dark Lord's revenge. The Slayer stabs the Dark Lord in the chest, killing him. With the Dark Lord's death, all demons outside of Hell are instantly destroyed, finally saving Earth, Urdak, and the Argenta from the demonic invasion. Being also one of the Dark Lord's creations, the Slayer falls unconscious before being sealed inside a stone sarcophagus at the Ingmore Sanctum by the Seraphs.

Development

Publisher Bethesda Softworks announced the game at E3 2018, with the first gameplay footage being unveiled at QuakeCon 2018. The game was set to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.[11] In 2019, it was announced that Doom Eternal would come to Google's Stadia streaming platform.[12] The game was developed by id Software with the Nintendo Switch version being developed by Panic Button.[13] Doom directors Hugo Martin and Marty Stratton both returned, with Martin as game director and Stratton as executive producer.

The game is the first to be developed with the id Tech 7 engine. According to Stratton, the team aimed at making a "Doom universe", featuring larger and more varied locales, including "Hell on Earth", for players to explore.[14] Unlike its predecessor, id Software developed the game's multiplayer component in-house, as opposed to being outsourced to the previous game's multiplayer developer Certain Affinity,[15][16] with the goal of making the experience more "social" and "connected" with the single-player campaign. The team decided to remove the SnapMap mode and reassign its resource to develop post-launch campaign downloadable content.[17] While originally scheduled for a release on November 22, 2019, Doom Eternal's release was later pushed back to March 20, 2020 with a Nintendo Switch port coming at a later date, which on November 30 was revealed to be December 8, 2020.[18][19][20][21]

Aesthetically, the game aims at having a closer resemblance to the original Doom games, with the enemies' designs having been modified from those in the 2016 game to match the designs of the original games.[22] Additionally, the developers included the option to have a centered weapon view, which was traditional in the first two Doom games and was added as a post-release update to Doom 2016.[23] Games cited as influences on the gameplay include arcade-style action games such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta as well as chess.[24] According to Martin, one facet they improved on was based on the controversy that arose from a video posted by Polygon of gameplay from the 2016 game. In that video, the person behind the gameplay did not appear to grasp some of the basic mechanics of Doom or even FPS gameplay, which led to some in the player community ridiculing the site.[25] Martin said their team studied that video and believed that the person controlling the game was struggling against the design of the game, and for Doom Eternal wanted to make sure it was playable by everyone and not just skilled players and took some of those design factors into account.[26] On August 6, 2020, Bethesda Softworks announced that next-gen versions for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X were also in development, with owners of the existing PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game being able to upgrade to the next-gen versions of the game at no additional cost.[27]

The game is dedicated to id programmer Stephen Ash, who died during development in 2019.[28]

Music

Mick Gordon returned as the composer. In January 2019, he put out a call for "metal screamers" to participate in a recording session to contribute to the soundtrack.[29] The "heavy metal choir" included James Rivera of Helstar, Tony Campos of Static-X, Sven de Caluwé of Aborted, James Dorton of Black Crown Initiate, and Nature Ganganbaigal of Tengger Cavalry.[30] Ganganbaigal died between the recording and the game's release.[31] Oktavist Eric Hollaway also added vocals.[32][33]

Soundtrack dispute

The soundtrack was released for digital download on April 19 for buyers of the collector's edition.[citation needed] In the hours following the soundtrack's release, fans noticed differences between the soundtrack album and the music in the game, such as the large amount of compression on the track "BFG Division 2020" compared to the 2016 version.[34] Gordon confirmed on Twitter that he only mixed a small number of the tracks, such as "Meathook" and "Command and Control". Metadata seems to suggest that most of the soundtrack was mixed by Chad Mossholder, id's audio director.[34][35] For this reason, Gordon stated that he doubted he would work with id again.[36]

In May 2020, Marty Stratton released a statement on Reddit, saying that Gordon was given extensive time to mix the tracks. When Gordon did not complete the mixing before the soundtrack release deadline, Stratton suggested collaborating with Mossholder, which Gordon agreed to. Gordon sent Mossholder about 12 finished tracks. Mossholder mixed and edited the remaining songs together from in-game assets, which were more heavily compressed to compensate for the other in-game audio. Stratton later wrote that id would use a different composer in future.[37]

The Ancient Gods

In September 2020, composer Andrew Hulshult announced he would compose music for The Ancient Gods campaign expansion along with David Levy.[38][39]

Hulshult had previously composed music for Quake Champions, another id game.[40]

Release

The March 20, 2020 release date for Doom Eternal came to coincide with that of Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Due to the demand expected for both games, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, GameStop decided to begin selling Doom Eternal one day earlier, on the 19th, to minimize crowding.[41][42] The stark contrast in tone between both games combined with them being released on the same day, prompted fans of both series to celebrate the coincidence by creating light-hearted crossover art featuring the Doomguy and Animal Crossing's Isabelle as "best friends".[43][44]

Doom Eternal is included in Xbox Game Pass as of October 1, 2020.[45]

Downloadable content

Before the game's release, it was announced that two campaign add-ons were planned to be released during the first year after launch. Access to these expansions is included with the purchase of the game's Deluxe Edition.[46]

On May 8, 2020, two screenshots were published in the game's official Twitter account, teasing scenes from the upcoming first story DLC.[47] On August 7, 2020, a teaser trailer for the first part of the campaign DLC was released.[48] In the teaser, the name of the DLC, to be released in two parts, was revealed to be The Ancient Gods and a date was set for a full trailer for Part One to be released on August 27, 2020 during the first night of Gamescom. In said trailer, the release date for the first expansion was revealed as October 20, 2020.[49]

The Ancient Gods: Part One continues the story shortly after the events of the main campaign. Although the Doom Slayer was able to save Earth from the demonic invasion, his victory did not come without cost. Hell's invasion of Urdak has caused an imbalance of power that requires the true ruler of the universe to set things right. The Doom Slayer is recruited to help retake Urdak from demon control. The Ancient Gods is a standalone expansion, not requiring the base game to play.[50]

On March 7, 2021, it was announced that a teaser trailer for the Ancient Gods: Part Two DLC would be released on March 15.[51] The teaser in turn announced a full trailer for release two days later on the 17th, which announced the expansion's release on the 18th.

Reception

Doom Eternal received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[52][53][54] Critics praised the campaign, graphics, level design, combat, soundtrack, and improvements over its predecessor, while some disliked the game's increased focus on storytelling and lore, with some criticism for the game's platforming sections.[67]

Phil Hornshaw of GameSpot gave the game an 8 out of 10, praising the game's combat and platforming, but criticizing the game's story, calling it "overly serious and confusing".[59] Andrew Reiner of Game Informer criticized the game's multiplayer, calling it "a huge step back for the entire series." He also criticized the puzzles, saying he felt they were out of place. He did, however, praise the game's combat, particularly the game's expanded arsenal, as well as the soundtrack, calling it "catchy". He gave the game a score of 9.25 out of 10.[58]

On its initial release, the version of the game offered via the Bethesda Launcher appeared to have been intended to ship with the Denuvo digital rights management (DRM) protection software, but it was not set up properly, leaving the game DRM-free.[20] However, this was patched soon afterwards. Also, on May 14, 2020, the game was patched on Windows to include Denuvo anti-cheat technology, which operates by installing a kernel-mode driver.[68] Some were concerned this would open up their computers to security vulnerabilities, while others claimed performance losses caused by the patch. This led to users to review bomb the game on Steam over the decision.[69] On May 20, id went on record stating that they would remove Denuvo anti-cheat upon the game's next patch due the following week, and would re-evaluate how they would implement anti-cheating measures in the game.[70] The following week, the anti-cheat software was confirmed to be removed from the game.[71]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Result Ref.
2018 Golden Joystick Awards November 16, 2018 Most Wanted Game Nominated [citation needed]
Game Critics Awards 2019 June 28, 2019 Best PC Game Won [citation needed]
Best Action Game Won
The Game Awards 2020 December 10, 2020 Game of the Year Nominated [72]
Best Score and Music Nominated
Best Audio Design Nominated
Best Action Game Nominated
Player's Voice Nominated

Doom Eternal was nominated for "Most Wanted Game" at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards.[73] At Game Critics Awards 2019, the game won the awards for Best PC Game and Best Action Game.[74] It was also nominated for Game of the Year along with four other awards at the 2020 Game Awards, including Best Action Game, Best Score and Music, and Best Audio Design.[75]

Sales

The game had 100,000 concurrent users on Steam on launch day, more than double that of 2016's Doom.[76] The game doubled the launch weekend revenue of 2016's Doom.[77] In Europe, the game debuted at number 2 in the UK charts, number 2 in the Switzerland charts behind Animal Crossing: New Horizons, although Doom Eternal's physical sales were 33% less than its predecessor, a likely side-effect of the social distancing procedures implemented in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.[78][79]

In North America, the game was the sixth-best-selling game of March 2020, though this does not include digital sales.[80] SuperData estimated that, as of March 2020, the game had sold 3 million digital copies worldwide, beating Doom 2016's 957,000 units of launch month sales. This made Eternal the fourth-highest-grossing console game of March 2020.[81]

In Germany, the game sold 100,000 units as of May 2020.[82]

References

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