Id Software's Doom reboot had a long and troubled development. Since the studio first began working on it in 2007, alongside Rage, it saw a major overhaul over several years as it transformed from a Call of Duty-inspired linear adventure set on earth to a self-aware retro throwback. Now, for the first time, early footage of Doom's gameplay has been unearthed showing us what codename Doom 4 1.0 looked like in action.
As revealed in the Noclip documentary To Hell and Back, this earlier version of Doom (4) looked very, very different. It was set on earth, for one, and had a story-heavy military vibe as modern society grappled with a demonic invasion.
"We had explored a direction and got to a certain point and felt like that this wasn't really capturing what we felt like was Doom" then director Kevin Cloud said of the original project.
"[It had] unbelievable production values," added reboot game director Marty Stratton. "It was really good from that perspective. But it was definitely a twist on Doom that took it into a much more cinematic, much more scripted type of experience. It was a reimagining of Doom in a way that was new. It was totally new! You were taking cover and popping up and shooting enemies. The demons looked a lot different. It took awhile to actually get into fighting demons. You were fighting a lot more zombie-type creatures early in the game."
Creative director Hugo Martin said "It was awesome. It was more realistic. It was more about the global impact of a hellish invasion."
Unfortunately, it just didn't seem to fit with what id thought a Doom game should be.
"It didn't feel as much like Doom as I think a lot of us expected," Stratton added. "It all boils down to just kind of feel."
While this rendition of Doom was completely rehauled, it wasn't exactly scrapped per se as id salvaged a lot of its work for the cheekier modern version. For example, the Glory Kill system in the new game, in which you melee execute dazed enemies in a gruesome fashion, had its origins in Doom 4 1.0. That game was going to feature a brawling system where you could get into fisticuffs with at least its humanoid enemies and a successful duel would end with a gory finisher. But it was too slow, the team decided, so it rejigged it into the snappy Glory Kill system we see today.
It all worked out in the end, though. After lots of blood, sweat and tears, Doom resulted in a shooter we highly recommended. "Capacious, beautiful, brainy and barbaric, Doom's return could be this year's most unexpected triumph," wrote Eurogamer contributor Edwin Evans-Thirlwell in his Doom review.