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Prerelease:Doom (2016)/Doom 4

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Doom 4, stylized as DOOM 4 and known as Doom 4 1.0 by id Software staff, was intended to be the fourth game in the Doom series. However, this version was ultimately cancelled by Bethesda and id Software for having gameplay resemblance to popular modern shooters of the early 2010s decade like Call of Duty rather than focusing exclusively on getting the classic Doom gameplay essence. In fact, Doom 4 simply became DOOM and was released in May 13, 2016.

The earliest known incarnation of the Doom 4 logo, initially seen on id Software's job opportunities web page in early 2010.

Premise

The premise of Doom 4 can be interpreted as a realistic reimagining of Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994), like how Doom 3 was essentially a re-imagining of the original Doom released in 1993. Where Doom 3 focused on the UAC facility opening a portal to Hell on Mars and prevent it, Doom 4 was to focus on the aftermath if hell wasn't stopped, with the demons reaching Earth. It is claimed that Doom 4 was intended to be more action-focused with a serious tone, since Doom 3 was supposed to be horror. As commented by id's former CEO, Doom 4 is not a sequel to Doom 3, but it's not a reboot either.

Technical Aspects

Instead of achieving new engine features, Doom 4 is built in a minor iteration of id Tech 5 that was featured on id Software's RAGE. This version features dynamic ambience and a superscript upgrade to improve performance on scripted sequences working simultaneously.

Story

Based on footage, dozens of portfolio material and documentation, Doom 4 is centered around the global invasion of hell on earth. Evidently, the game takes place in 2038 and the surviving player will meet certain characters during the campaign and later joining a group simply titled The Resistance, composed by struggling civilians, remaining Earth soldiers and marines with the ultimate goal of eradicating the demons and reclaiming Earth. As seen from many in-game material shown online, the setting is mostly focused on near-future locations from United States being corrupted by colossal hellish artifacts, flesh and bones, symbols and spawning demons.

Gameplay

The main gameplay essence of Doom 4 is focused on shooting demons with a cinematic action essence of being inside the experience. The game featured cinematic events, scripted and linear interactions with non-playable characters, as well an interacting melee combat system known as Synced Melee where the player has to trigger it towards the enemy until hitting the final blow before the enemies do it back. This combat mechanic was repurposed for the animated executions from Wolfenstein: The New Order and the fast paced Glory Kills from Doom 4's final release.

Another featured combat system was the leaning/cover system that was later implemented on Wolfenstein: The New Order.

The original version of Doom 4 was also going to feature brand new UI mechanics such as an objective/enemy compass watch, a dossier, player upgrades, weapons mods, weapon interfaces in the style of Doom 3, an armor counter and the most controversial known as health regeneration. The player was allowed to crouch and sprint.

Concept Art

Storyboards

A couple of storyboards were drawn by the story writer and cinematic director Mark Bristol. These depict several single-player events for the game to take place.

Characters

  • Augustus
  • Ancira
  • Bradley
  • Stove
  • Villa
  • Holmes
  • Unnamed female character
  • The Resistance members

Weapons

Several weapons are visible among the various screenshots and video sequences of the game in progress:

  • Knife: The player carries a knife which can be used during sync melee attacks for finishing blows.


  • Handgun: A standard M9-like handgun that was seen in the 2013 glory kill animation pitch that used DOOM 4 assets.


  • Shotgun: A pump-action shotgun can be seen carried by NPCs and possessed humans. This weapon went through two model iterations with one of the two being later adapted to Doom (2016).


  • Super shotgun: The series-standard double-barreled shotgun. It appears to be the last remaining artifact from this version to make it directly into Doom (2016), as it appears to be the exact same model but with different texture work. In recent footage and screenshots, the weapon can be seen with engravings that look closer to the final release.


  • Assault rifle: Assault rifles seem to be standard equipment for most members of the resistance, and the player is seen carrying the same or a highly similar model to that seen on NPCs. The base model with an iron sight and its reflex sight attachment for this weapon can still be found in the assets for Doom (2016).


  • SMG: A sub-machine gun seen by the player in first person and NPCs. The weapon appears to have a display built in, which its function of being a radar or a bullet counter remains unknown. A different texture variant with an unfolded display can be seen in the leaked 2015 footage and 2012 screenshots.


  • Machine gun: A PDW machine gun can be seen in the Multiplayer footage released in late 2020.


  • Chaingun: A chaingun can likewise be seen in the same late-2020 footage. This version of the chaingun is handled like a rifle.


  • Chainsaw: This weapon is seen on a recent 2020 footage being used by the player to slash a possessed human.


  • Grenade launcher: Though not present in any in-game footage, it was used by resistance members in one of the leaked cinematic clips and later adapted to multiplayer from the final release. An image silhouette from its original Doom 4 form resides inside DOOM 2016's launch files.
  • Bullpup rifle: A tactical rifle seen in the 2013 glory kill animation pitch.


Equipment

  • Com watch: A watch that serves as a compass allowing the player to track level objectives pointed by a green arrow and for yellow pointing to incoming threats.

Id d4 comwatch.jpg

  • Grenade: A fragmentation grenade. Its untextured model remains stored in the final release.

Id d4 grenades.jpg

Enemies

Doom 4 features existing demons from previous games and new ones that later were repurposed in the final version.

Doom 4 Multiplayer

The early multiplayer mode has many, if not, similar mechanics from the final version and was playable with prototype levels and game modes included. Instead of becoming the demon in the final release, the players had a killstreak system where you summon demons to attack their opposing team. For the PS3 and XBOX 360 versions, the multiplayer component's frame rate target was going to be 60 frames-per second, while single-player would be locked at 30 to spawn more demons onscreen.

Soundtrack

Interestingly, the Doom 4 soundtrack was being composed by Mick Gordon, who also composed the soundtrack of the final version of the game. The music composer publicly released four mastered versions of the early Doom 4 soundtrack on his website in late 2011. After a few years, his website received an overhaul and these songs can only be found through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. The music style of these tracks can be described as Industrial Cinematic with hellish ambience.

DOOM4_TheHumans_mastered.mp3

DOOM4_TheResistance_mastered.mp3

DOOM4_TheDemons_mastered.mp3

DOOM4_TheDaughter_mastered1.mp3

Blur Studio's unreleased trailer

Behind the scenes material

Behind the scenes documentation, photos, videos and other elements outside the game's development.

At id Software

Brad Hawkins Interview highlights

"How was your experience doing motion-capture work for Doom 4?
In a word: Exhausting! Haha. It was an amazing and grueling experience at the same time. The set was so professional and large. They have the top of the line motion capture camera equipment and software in this huge warehouse facility. Everything was so precise. If you even bumped a tripod it would throw off the calibration and we would have to start all over; I made sure to keep my distance!

We did over 250 setups and scenarios. Walk this way, crouch, run at a 45 degree angle, throw grenade, cover position, over and over again. We started each day at 8:30AM and didn't leave until it was perfect.

The director, Mark Bristol, has an amazing vision for what he wanted for the character and was able to help me develop this character and his moves, his style; he was very specific how he wanted the video game characters to have their own individuality and presence.

Once I got what he wanted, we able to mold the characters together. I have a new appreciation for the creative process that goes into the process of first person shooter games. Doom 4 is so highly anticipated that they are pulling out all the stops to makes this unique in its design and production. I think we got that on our end of it.

What have the id guys told you about Doom 4?

Haha, actually, not much! It was kind of a need to know basics and I guess all I needed to know was what they needed from me for the motion capture. But I do know we are dealing with a post war/post apocalyptic event that civilians and military are fighting for their survival.

They were very specific in how realistic the scenario that the characters were portrayed, even down to the panicked breathing in a heated battle almost blacked out from breathing so much!"

At Blur Studio

At Janimation: A team from the studio Janimation were tasked to develop a head/face animation technology that features photo-realistic expressions for the Doom characters during cinematics. The project was known as "HeadTech."