Id's legendary founder John Carmack has delivered the first tantalising details of its next project at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, having assured the audience "we ship Doom (III) really soon now".
Having bemoaned a potential generational cycle for its technology that could take as long as ten years to complete, he told a packed Civic Auditorium audience: "We're hoping that our next title will be able to reuse at least some of Doom's assets," as he mused how to slash development time.
In a moment of unexpected candour, he let it slip that "It's going to be some near-future [game]. A present day or near-future thing where we can reuse the fire extinguishers, the waste baskets and some of those things like that [from Doom III] in the game." Frustratingly he gave nothing more away on the game, but it would appear that the game will be an all-new franchise and a marked departure from the hellish worlds of Quake and Doom, and possibly the closest thing the enigmatic company has come up with to real life since it burst onto the scene back in the early '90s.
He sounded resentful of the increasingly lengthy game development cycles that have made Id "The victim of our own success", and pondered out loud on ways the company could get back to producing games on a more regular basis, including a shelved plan to re-release Quake 2 remixed with the Doom III engine.
"One idea that I floated in during Doom's development that I'd wished we'd followed up on was to go ahead and do a product that is specifically a rendering showcase - and a lot of people accuse Id products of doing that anyway. We do look at all the aspects of a game that we want to improve of doing that anyway, so I have some hope for certain little speciality products like a Quake 2 remix.
"Taking a game and not changing the game to get some value out of the new gen technology and get some value out of the new cards," Carmack added, admitting that three generations of graphics cards have come out since the Doom III tech has been available, and that games could have been showing off the card's capabilities in all that time.
Check back for more Id coverage in the coming days as we bring you the best bits of Carmack's fascinating insight into the challenges facing a cutting edge games developer.