On December 10th, 1993 the world of gaming was shaken to its core with the release of Doom. Two years and ten million souls claimed later, Doom had given birth to a new culture of gamers and solidified the shooters as a key genre in the gaming industry. Doom II: Hell on Earth followed shortly after and further cemented the IP’s legend status. The term “Doom clone” was coined in reference to games who sought to get a taste of that pie, and eventually evolved to “first person shooter”, a term we use widely today. Just over ten years later, in August of 2004, id Software gave us Doom 3. This re-imagining of the original Doom title was critically acclaimed for nearly every aspect of the final product. And now, as we approach the release of next generation consoles, we can expect to dive right back into Hell with Doom 4.
I believe the Doom franchise is something that every gamer must take part in. The role this series took in shaping the rest of the gaming timeline is too important to miss. I don’t care if you’re 65 and your kids bought you a Kinect just for the giggles or if you’re 8 and still fighting your folks for the permission to play Call of Duty. Get your hands on any one of these installments. I have a personal preference for the third, but any will suffice.
Without this experience, there just isn’t a way to properly convey to anyone who wasn’t apart of gaming subculture during the time that the first Doom was relevant, how huge it was. The engine alone, id Tech 1, was a massive leap in the field of gaming. Little things we take for granted because they’re expected for realism just didn’t exist because the technology didn’t allow it. Thanks to John Carmack’s engine, we were getting a vast improvement in full texture mapping and custom color palettes. These are the most basic things of what make an environment believable and Doom delivered it to us.
A little further down the timeline, id Software did it again with Doom 3 in 2004. Remember how big of a deal the first Crysis was? Small time computer retailers would spend ten thousand dollars building a PC far ahead of its time and put it center room in their stores and let Crysis run at max settings just so the store owner could attract customers. Doom 3 was pushing technological limits years prior. The id Tech 4 engine was so progressive that only top of the line rigs would see its full potential. When the game finally made it to Xbox some six months later, while no where as impressive as the PC counterpart, it still raised the bar.
The most important thing Doom 3 gave the world of gaming were indeed its graphics. Rather than saving lighting in map data and booting it up during map generation as per the usual routine, id Tech 4 used unified lighting and shadowing. This allowed every object, both static and dynamic, to be shadowed in real time per pixel, at the expense of global illumination. We were also given a new take on interacting with the environment. GUI Designer Patrick Duffy wrote half a million lines of code and produced over twenty thousand images for various computer screens and displays throughout the game. A lot of these interfaces were so dynamic that the player could use the crosshairs as a mouse cursor to operate the screens right there in real time.
You know what? I don’t need to go to the bathroom anymore.
The entire Doom franchise has kept a few things consistent over the years. No matter the location or story rewrite, we always see “Doomguy” joy-killing his way through hordes of demons from Hell in an attempt to save Earth. No matter where the carnage takes place, the one thing gamers know will always be there is the overuse of gore and satanic imagery. Despite heavy assault from various sources after several school shootings and being dubbed a “mass murder simulator”, the developers stayed true and continued delivering the excessive violence married with controversial content that we had come to expect.
The only contender at the time was Mortal Kombat 2, which featured 1/8th the murder.
There was certainly a shift in genre between the second and third Doom titles. The first pair played aggressively. Less emphasis was placed on caution and the player was often rewarded for exploring his environments and taking on as many demons as possible. Doom 3, while still favorably received amongst fans of the series, slowed down in opt of adding more horror elements to the mix. I personally preferred this. If I were really thrown into a scenario where I’m facing the hounds of Hell, I’m certainly not going to be strolling along like everything is fine.
For Doom 4, I’m hoping for a happy medium. The third title did suffer from the lack of frantic scenarios that really helped the original games shine, but the latter suffered from almost no psychological intimidation. A series of beta photos leaked this month that are being widely interpreted as early location and model design, despite id Software Design Director Matthew Hooper stating over Twitter that the photos “have nothing to do with what you’re going to see in Doom 4.”
Do I even need my flashlight?
These photos showcase the more familiar setting of Earth, rather than the expected Martian landscape. I certainly hope these are just concept images. They don’t look Doom-y at all. If you ditched what looks like the Zerg Mutalisks floating around in that second image and told me it was from Call of Duty I’d believe you. I support the apparent move from the red planet to Earth, as we haven’t seen our home planet represented in the Doom universe with new technology. And I absolutely salute the idea of opening up the level design. The early titles featured large levels as well, but they still maintained the dark atmosphere we’d expect to see with satanic tones. I’m just not getting that vibe from these images. Give me darker. Give me scarier.
Combat must remain untouched. I sincerely hope id Software does not fall to its knees before elitist crowds and younger audiences. There is nothing wrong with the way any Doom approached combat. You pull up your gun, pull the trigger, and something explodes in a horrific, mangled mess of gore. I don’t want to see upgradable weapons that “enhance a weapon’s performance” but in all actuality just changes the sights or increases magazine size. I’m confident that the developers will aim true, and instead focus on giving us a ramped up display of firepower over beauty mods for our guns. We are pretty much guaranteed Doom‘s signature BFG 9000, a weapon so powerful that it wipes the screen clear of foes with one trigger pull. Let’s see what else the year 2145 has to offer us. Perhaps even the option to dual-wield. Shotguns have always been the bread and butter of this series; I certainly would love to run rampant with twice the stopping power.
Big F*$&ing gun.
Doom 4 will run on the id Tech 5 engine, which is the same engine that Rage ran on. Don’t panic at the thought though. We’re being assured that the next generation of consoles will support the engine far better than the current systems, and the engine will be scaled appropriately. The only question is what game changers we can expect. So far, id Tech engines have raised the bar substantially for competitors with each release of Doom. I’m anticipating texture resolution no lower than four thousand on top of the already phenomenal lighting mechanics.
Maybe this time around we’re going to see a new AI system. Based on the leaked photos, it’s likely we’ll see less attacks of opportunity and more enemies en masse. I eagerly await how id Software plans to utilize the latest model of their engine. For years I’ve been begging AAA titles to start incorporating real time gore. I want my bullet wounds to be present on my enemies. If I get bloodthirsty and whip out the chainsaw, let me see rendered flesh and tissue rip from my foes. These sorts of injuries should remain on the corpses of the fallen so if can go back and revel in my damage. Track each swing. Track each cut. Track each bullet. I can’t think of another title that this would fit more perfectly than Doom 4.
So now that we have hundreds of first person shooters of all types of subgenres, what’s the biggest reason to keep the radar glued to Doom 4? Long time fans already know that id Software isn’t exactly copy and pasting their titles anymore. If you aren’t familiar with the series, these developers take their time. Doom 4 was announced as far back as May of 2008, and not much else has been revealed. So yes, you can expect to feel as if you’ve done it all before. But the next installment will sand, base, clear coat, paint, seal, and polish the first person experience as it has many times previous.
You can also expect the content and imagery to push the envelope. Modern Warfare 2 received some flak for the controversial airport massacre level, but what Doom delivers hits home on another level. We live in a religiously obsessed world, and the developers will capitalize on this by cramming as much pure evil, entrails, and limbs into your eye sockets as they can before you suffer from complete sensory overload.
“Thats an interesting way to play hopscotch…”
Doom 4 has a lot of the older generation of gamers hyped for good reason, and it’s unfortunate that the younger generation is not seeing the coming storm. I once again implore virgins of the series to pick up Doom 3 and play with an open heart. Check out the video closing this article to get you going.
These games set the stage for the clones you see today. Don’t expect to have your hand held in this one. Don’t expect any apologies. Expect a trip through Hell. Literally.
The History of E3: Looking Back on Gaming’s Biggest Event
Every year, developers from around the world gather in June to showcase their most secret and anticipated projects. In the months leading up to E3, gamers witness the spectacle of influencers and industry veterans discussing the rumors of what might be, further fueling their desired announcements come to life. In the spirit of fun and excitement, E3 allows for the passion of gaming to be broadcast on a world stage and recognized for its influence on the entertainment industry.
Now that the industry is approaching the eve of E3, OnlySP is counting down the days remaining in a segment we like to call ‘12 Days of E3’. Please join OnlySP in celebrating an event that can be described as Christmas for Gamers, as we come together in anticipation for E3 2019!
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has a relatively short history but has quickly become the gaming industry’s biggest event with inextricable ties to video game culture. The show has become the main stage for platformers and AAA developers to show off their newest projects causing mass hype across the gaming community.
E3 first debuted in 1995, and helped put the video game industry onto the world stage.
Through all of the hyper-charged excitement and cringe-inducing stumbles, the expo remains gaming’s most anticipated annual event. Over the past 24 years, E3 has evolved and adapted to fit the video game industry and culture surrounding it.
Video games have been around for decades, but even in 1991 many people still did not take the industry seriously. In fact, Tom Kalinske, CEO of Sega America from 1990 to 1996, details just how casual the attitude was towards gaming.
“Back in the early 1990s we always used to show at [Consumer Electronics Show] in Las Vegas. We were there alongside the guys that were showing their new automotive speakers, or their new computing systems, or TVs, or telephones… In 1991 they put us in a tent, and you had to walk past all the […] vendors to find us, to find Nintendo and ourselves and the third party licensees.
“I was just furious with the way that CES treated the video games industry, and I felt we were a more important industry than they were giving us credit for. So I started planning to get the hell out of CES.”
In the 1990s, video games were largely considered to be just toys, mainly in part to Nintendo’s marketing strategy at the time. Nintendo targeted the younger demographic which forced competitors to seek out alternative audiences.
Games such as Myst and Mortal Kombat appealed to an older audience, with the latter also benefiting from a movie of the same name in 1995. These titles were perhaps too successful in capturing the attention of adults because many people expressed issues with the blood and violence.
Therefore, fearing government oversight, game publishers created the Interactive Digital Software Association (ISDA). The ISDA then became the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a united bloc representing the games industry. The ISDA proposed the ESRB, which standardised age ratings for games based on the existing ratings for movies. The United States Congress approved the ESRB and allowed the gaming industry to continue.
New advances in technology helped the home-PC market to grow as well as widespread use of 3D graphics which in-turn provided gaming new opportunities to branch out. In 1993, Sony began developing the PlayStation: a giant leap forward for gaming, as Sony was highly regarded as a reliable electronics company.
The first E3 in 1995 was an immense success registering over 40,000 attendees (see video below of E3’s first expo). At this time, the console wars were in full swing and everyone was scrambling for a piece of the pie.
Games from 1995 onwards drove the industry to focus on game presentation. Titles like Tomb Raider and Resident Evil pushed technology to new boundaries, exploring new genres, cinematic storytelling and visual masterpieces.
The industry had moved into the beginning of modern gaming.
By the time the sixth generation of consoles had rolled out, gaming was huge, but the platformers had narrowed to the big three—Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. By 2002, these three companies dominated at E3 for the next eight years.
2005 marked the first time E3 gained media coverage by G4 television networks, and E3’s attendance also soared reaching 70,000. The hype surrounding the expo would only grow, as 2005 saw the announcement of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
However, the E3 expo quickly became a victim of its own success. The ESA scaled down the conference because exhibitors felt it had become too difficult to reach their target audience due to the overwhelming growth of gaming media.
As a result, from 2007 to 2008, E3 was rebranded to ‘E3 Media & Business Summit’. Attendance was limited to 10,000 people. In a bit of irony, this move damaged E3 as media coverage became severely limited.
E3 had become a largely corporate event and whilst the Media & Business Summit was far more manageable, it nearly became the engine of its own downfall. The ESA realised that bloggers, journalists, and personalities drove the expo’s momentum and hype.
In 2009, ESA rebranded again, but back to the more familiar and catchy E3 and opened its doors once again to a wider audience, drawing 41,000 attendees. The following year saw big game developers presenting alongside the big three platformers for the first time. Ubisoft, Konami, and EA contributed their gaming products helping to further expand E3’s reach.
In 2017, E3 opened up its doors to the public for the first time allowing fans to attend talks, meet representatives of companies, and play samples of upcoming new games. Furthermore, with streaming services and online platforms growing in popularity, E3’s popularity continued to grow. E3 was also able to stream live content out to millions of people around the globe who could not attend.
Once again, E3’s success also meant that some companies struggled to reach desired audiences, especially with so much competition. Nintendo was the first big name to depart from E3 to begin showcasing its games through Nintendo Direct. Electronic Arts (EA) then followed by launching their own presentations with EA Play.
To 2019 and Beyond:
E3 has firmly forged its position as gaming’s most prestigious event and this year’s event will start on 11 June. The show is sure to bring in huge crowds once again with exciting AAA and indie games announced for 2019–2020 releases, with fans and media desperate for more information on these anticipated new titles.
However, E3 can sometimes have an unfortunate effect on game developers by ramping-up hype about the games it showcases. At E3 2018, Anthem was one of the most highly anticipated games, but ultimately failed to follow through on the high expectations when it was released in February this year.
Perhaps games such as Anthem would have gone down like a lead balloon anyway, but maybe E3 raised expectations far beyond what Anthem was capable of.
These recent moves ultimately beg the question: is E3 even necessary anymore?
In its current form, E3 seems to be paying homage to the past—a time before self-made developers and 24/7 gaming coverage on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Whether E3 will adapt to the ever-changing gaming landscape, however, remains to be seen.
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