Twenty-three years ago a cult classic game blasted its way into households, offices and dorm rooms across the world. This spring, DOOM is back to reclaim the FPS genre and once again take the gaming world by storm.
In this post, I’ll explore the sheer power of DOOM’s brand, dig into some gritty gaming nostalgia and showcase some goodies from the recent closed beta.
On December 10, 1993, ID Software releasedDOOM a follow-up to their other successful shooter Wolfenstein 3D.
A demo of the game was released via ShareWare on 3 1/2″ floppy discs for $5, and the game could be purchased by mail-order. No, not Amazon.com – but snail-mail-order.
Without today’s marvels of digital and social marketing, DOOM had achieved a level of brand awareness akin to top players like Coca-Cola, or McDonalds. It had achieved this before it was even available on store shelves. It was predominantly word of mouth, LAN parties at internet cafes (remember those?) and online discussion boards / forums.
The only way this level of popularity and viral awareness could have happened back then is by delivering a fantastic product. To quote the series’ Wikipedia profile:
It wasn’t long before the consoles at the time (namely the Atari Jaguar) helped propel the number of DOOM fans to astronomical levels.
23 years later, the original DOOM and DOOM II are still enjoyable and played by millions. The last iteration of the series was back in 2004 when DOOM 3 scared the collective crap out of players everywhere when it added a pulse-pounding horror element and solid narrative.
Now, I’m a marketing professional by trade – but I’ve been gaming since childhood. Let’s proceed with the epic preview of the new DOOM.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of the DOOM closed beta last weekend. I didn’t get a chance to sample the single player campaign, but I did get a heaping portion of the newly re-designed competitive multiplayer.
DOOM gave birth to the fast-paced, white-knuckle frag-fest known as the arena shooter – which subsequentially spawned such A-list titles as Quake, Unreal Tournament, and Team Fortress. Well, DOOM giveth – and DOOM has cometh to taketh back.
The movement speed of DOOM is incredibly fast – and feels instantly familiar to veteran players of Unreal or Quake. There are several loadouts to choose from with a variety of weapons – but as expected the gameplay quickly becomes a hair-raising shotgun jousting match. This isn’t to say that you should disregard the other weapons in DOOM’s online arsenal.
The new weapons are incredibly devastating, but the iconic double-barreled shotgun offers many delightful ways to turn your online opponents into piles of steaming hamburger meat.
Players who are comfortable with Halo or Call of Duty will feel outside their comfort zones due to the speed and ferocity of DOOM’s close-quarters mayhem – but once you develop your flow and master switching between weapons things get more interesting.
The addition of Destiny style emotes adds an entirely new level of enemy humiliation and “I just owned you” moments of celebration:
When DOOM ships on May 13th, it will usher in a new era of change for its genre in ways that go far beyond the game itself. Similar to Halo’s Forge Mode – DOOM will offer a content creation feature of its own called SnapMap.
SnapMap will essentially give gamers all the necessary tools to build and create their own maps, single player levels, co-op experiences and competitive arenas. This feature was inspired by the dedicated mod community and will change the way that gamers create and share content forever.
Despite all of the features described here – gamers who are for some reason still not sure about it can get their meat-hooks on the DOOM Open Beta which drops April 15-17th and try it for themselves.