Doom 3 was a controversial game. It wasn’t the blood, guts, or gore that made it stick out like the Doom franchise’s store thumb–it was the change in overall theme. Doom 3 pivoted hard into a psychological horror genre that was appropriate given the plot and content, but also inappropriate given how Doom basically created the fast run-and-gun shooter genre.
When 2016’s Doom reboot arrived and brought the series back its roots better than ever, everyone was ecstatic. But we came very close to Doom 4, and it looks like it would have been more of the psychological horror stuff that made Doom 3 so blah.
YouTuber Colonel Melnyk scraped together several animation tests, screenshots, and pre-alpha gameplay footage to give us an impression of what Doom 4 might have been. There’s a lot of zombie animations, weird biological alterations of familiar environments, and some pretty cool demons spitting skulls and fireballs, but it largely seems to be a game without a soul.
You can tell that Doom 4 would have followed the overall Doom plot arc of Earth getting invaded after a portal to Hell opens up on Mars. You can see crumbled cities and recently zombified people in the Doom 4 footage, although there’s a lot more body horror with buildings and statues suddenly sprouting ribs and tendons.
The last few moments of the video show a very generic multiplayer shooter with several players firing at a giant squid demon. There’s a bar on the left-hand side of the screen that’s labeled “souls,” so maybe this is a king of the hill-style map or some sort of boss fight mechanic. Either way, it looks nothing like Doom Eternal, which was so well-loved it was nominated in 5 categories at this year’s Game Awards.
It’s interesting to see what might have been, but we’re glad for what actually happened.
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