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id Software's first attempt at Doom 4 "didn't have a personality"

"All hands on deck" for new incarnation.

Doom, Quake and Rage developer id Software has spoken for the first time on why it scrapped an earlier version of the still-in-development Doom 4.

The Doom 4 initially in production at id was simply "not Doom 4", publisher Bethesda's marketing exec Pete Hines told IGN.

"It wasn't one thing," added id Software studio director Tim Willits. "It wasn't like the art was bad, or the programming was bad. Every game has a soul. Every game has a spirit. When you played Rage, you got the spirit. And [Doom] did not have the spirit, it did not have the soul, it didn't have a personality. It had a bit of schizophrenia, a little bit of an identity crisis. It didn't have the passion and soul of what an id game is. Everyone knows the feeling of Doom, but it's very hard to articulate."

id Software previously confirmed that it had begun work on a "new version" of Doom 4 in late 2011 after previous release Rage didn't meet sales expectations. Production on a Rage sequel was rumoured to have been canned and DLC plans scaled back.

"If it was like the quintessential, 'yup, that's Doom 4,' then we wouldn't be having this conversation," Hines said. "But, it was something that we looked at and the id guys looked at and said, look, it's not even that something is necessarily bad. But is it good enough?

"You can make a game and say, 'that's not a bad game, but it's not as good as an Elder Scrolls game should be,' and there's a difference... it's not great. It's not amazing. It's not what people have waited all this time for. It needs to be like 'this was totally worth the wait.'

"And I think what the guys at id are working on is... they're pushing the boundaries and challenging themselves. I don't want anybody to look at id's next project and have this reaction that it's still stuck in the 90s."

Doom 4 was first announced over five years ago. The project was rumoured to have been suspended in 2011 (a report that Bethesda itself rubbished as "complete bo****ks"), but it later became apparent that the project had instead been restarted.

Several sets of artwork from the project have leaked, although these are thought to be from its earlier, scrapped incarnation.

"Those images have nothing to do with what you're gonna see in Doom 4," design director Matthew Hooper wrote in response to the leaks. "When we officially show things, fans will be happy."