Bethesda capped off its QuakeCon 2018 keynote address by showing off the first gameplay video for Doom Eternal, the sequel to the 2016 reboot. The follow-up was originally announced during the publisher’s E3 2018 press conference with an exciting cinematic trailer, which was shown once again during the QuakeCon keynote, before game director Marty Stratton and creative director Hugo Martin appeared on stage to discuss the sequel.
Once again, Doom Eternal will be about killing monsters with badass guns, and for the sequel the Doom Slayer will be the “strongest, most badass hero” id Software has ever created. The Slayer has had a makeover and has a new weapon called the Ballista, which can spear demons with an explosive bolt.
There’s going to be plenty of new weapons in Eternal, and id Software has created new enemies for players to face. Old favourites have been updated, and some have been reimagined, such as the arachnids. They also showed off a new character called the Marauder, who looks a lot like the Doom Slayer–and there’s a story behind that, the developers teased. A new system called “Destructible Demons” was also briefly mentioned, and it’ll help players “rip and tear” through enemies.
The gameplay video began with the slayer once again putting on his helmet and activating systems. He takes a look at the new blade mounted on his left arm, before loading his shotgun again. Before long he’s staring into a massive world where buildings are crumbling and monsters float around the sky. Seconds later, he’s latching onto enemies and grappling around, shooting them to bits up-close.
The previous game’s loop of dealing damage and then finishing enemies with a melee attack is back, and some new animations have been introduced to make use of the arm-mounted blade. The action looks fast and visceral, which is to be expected from the sequel. This time, however, there looks to be more of an emphasis on moving around seamlessly, as the grapple is used to get to high ground to take out threats.
Larger enemies are shredded to bits by gunfire, and there’s also a new mechanic where Doom Slayer is able to climb walls. His mobility is further enhanced by a short-range dash, which is handy for closing the distance on enemies and building momentum. In the demo the Doom Slayer very quickly goes through an assortment of deadly weapons. Along with the arm blade and shotgun, there was a shoulder-mounted flamethrower, a rocket launcher, a sniper-rile, and a grenade launcher.
Amidst the violence there was a moment of levity, when an announcement said, “Remember, ‘Demons’ can be offensive, refer to them as ‘mortally challenged.'”
The Slayer is then shown getting the Blood Punch power-up, which was then used to hit enemies with crushing melee blows. This fit nicely into the frantic leaping around platforms, using floating enemies as grapple points, and shredding anything and everything with lead.
At the very end of the second section of gameplay, it was confirmed that you can invade demons and take control of them. This ability goes as far as letting players team up with demons to form hunting parties. Doom Eternal will allow players to join friends to invade or be invaded, but you can also choose to play alone.
The environment shown during the demo was referred to as Hell on Earth, and it is just one of the “many” places that the game will take players. Id Software has promised it will take players to places they’ve never seen in a Doom game. The studio said it is building a Doom universe, instead of just another entry in the series. One of the new areas shown is Phobos, a space station that is being besieged by demons. As you enter, people are shocked to see you, stepping out of the way and regarding you with awe. The Slayer uses a red keycard to enter an restricted area, snatching a gun out of the hands of a befuddled guard.
Descending onto the surface of the planet, the Slayer stares out at a giant laser as a voice over comms says, “Warning, the Slayer has entered the facility.” Of course, that’s when the killing starts. Demons are dispatched with ruthless efficiency, as the Slayer zips around industrial tunnels, launching grenades to obliterate bigger enemies, while using a plasma rifle to pick off the smaller ones. The action only escalates, with demons being set ablaze, picked off using a sniper rifle, and exploded using charged bolts. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect to see in a sequel to Doom. The gameplay video ends with the arrival of a new enemy that summons a wall of fire, just as the Slayer draws an energy sword and leaps at it.
Another detail confirmed about Doom Eternal is that it will run at at 60 frames per second, which is nice given the highly-demanding nature of its first-person shooting.
Little had been said about Doom Eternal since its reveal at E3 until now. However, producer Marty Stratton and creative director Hugo Martin did reveal that it would build off the previous game, taking its satisfying, fast-paced combat and pushing it further forward. This time, the Doom Slayer will be even more powerful and the types of enemies have doubled. Doom Eternal will also take place on Earth, though we imagine you’ll be taking regular trips to other hellish dimensions too.
Id Software’s 2016 Doom was a very successful reboot of one of the most iconic and acclaimed first-person shooters of all time. In GameSpot’s Doom review Peter Brown said, “Without a doubt, the loud and chaotic campaign is Doom’s strongest component.”
He continued: “It’s straightforward and simple, but it serves its purpose: to thrust you into increasingly dire scenarios fueled by rage and the spirit of heavy metal. Many shooters chase the thrill Doom delivers, but few are as potent in their execution. It captures the essence of what made the classic Doom games touchstones of their day, and translates it to suit modern palates with impressively rendered hellscapes and a steady influx of tantalizing upgrades.
“Doom is the product of a tradition as old as shooters, and while it’s not the model to follow in every case, modern shooters could learn a thing or two from Doom’s honed and unadulterated identity.”