The Doom That Could Have Been

Doom is one of those very few games where I can remember precisely where I was and what I was doing when I saw it for the first time. I was that blown away by it. I didn't have a PC growing up, I was at a friend's house. He showed me the game. I couldn't believe my eyes.

And this is why this feature, over at Eurogamer, is so fascinating. It takes a look at the original design document for Doom and looks over the features that ended up being cut from the final game. A four player, Left 4 Dead style experience, decades before the release of Left 4 Dead? Jesus... I don't know if my cordial fueled, 12 year old brain could have taken it.

Take, for example, this section...

"Doom takes up to four players through a futuristic world," explains Hall's summary. "They may cooperate or compete to push back the invading hordes... [and] the environment is one big world, just like real life."

And while Doom is and was known for being a relatively straight forward shooter, the original plan was for something far more cinematic.

"You and four friends are having a game of cards in the hangar bay," Hall writes, describing the opening cut-scene Doom never had. "Meanwhile, the research team are doing experiments at the anomalies found on the moon. There is a flash of horrible light and two gates open at equidistant points on the moon's surface... Every awake [sic] is quickly killed. One reaching for the alarm button has his hand chopped off!"

It's a really interesting feature, and a great look at what might have been. It's crazy to think that, despite how ground breaking Doom was upon release, so much more incredibly innovative content was left on the cutting room floor.

The deleted scenes of Doom [Eurogamer]


    Oh Doom

    So many memories

    I think I was 5 when it came out, and started playing it at that age too

    It's like Wolfenstein 3d was originally going to include stealth segments and the ability to steal enemy uniforms.

      The original was a stealth game. On some early pc

    Maybe if it had of had that multiplayer focus though, it wouldn't have reached the audience it did. I don't know about everyone else but for me PC multiplayer gaming wasn't really a thing, other than the occasional keyboard sharing game. It wasn't until a few years later that LANs and direct dial-up started happening.

      Kludging serial cables and playing co-op and DM are some of my fondest memories of the game. It's multiplayer was far more pervasive in the US though, courtesy of DWANGO (an early dial-up multiplayer service).

      It laid the groundwork for Quake, which basically introduced the world to multiplayer FPS, and it exploded from there.

      Although it's legacy is far more than it's multiplayer, it was definitely a major part of it's success.

        Maybe you're right, I grew up in England and never heard much about on-line games for a long time and any early online was peer-2-peer.

    Doesn't surprise me that these idea have been around for ages - I'm sure that a lot of that stems from the available tech of the time just not being able to cope. That's all changing now and and we're slowly seeing these cooler ideas come to fruition.

    Doom would have lost something without the fast paced short levels.

      I really miss short paced and fast at times.

    I think in the old days they used to dream big and them have to whittle down to the contraints of the technology. Nowadays I think people tend to look at what the technology can do and build to it - plus publishers so tightly regiment everything that outlandish ideas are kinda dismissed to prevent feature creep.

    And when you do let feature creep get out of control, you wind up with Kingdoms of Amalur. An apparently great game that turned a lot of people off with how bloated it was, and it was never going to sell the 3 million units it needed to keep the developer afloat once it was done. :/

    Yeah I was floored the first time I saw doom. It looked like VR to me back then. I can remember we played it until, when I closed my eyes I could see myself walking through the corridors...

    I also first witnessed Doom at a friends (cousins) house and thought it was pretty sweet. However about a year later I got Marathon II, and that completely blew Doom and Doom 2 out of the water for me personally.

    Seriously, if Marathon and Marathon II had had been released on the PC primarily (as opposed to Mac) I think they'd have stolen Doom's place in gamer's hearts.

    It's a shame that id doesn't try to create the Doom that Hall had first designed. Using todays computing power would do justice to it but they would have to bring Hall back for it

    Tangentially related: Everyone should read "Masters of Doom". Contains this story about Hall's plans for Doom and much more. Really interesting read.

    If you are looking into id and "what might have been", google for "QuakeTalk" (qtalk400.txt), which is a compilation of pre-release information about Quake.

    Romero originally had big plans for Quake to be a D&D inspired swords and sorcery game involving interlinked servers with semi-ragdoll physics with VOIP communication that could be played using VR helmets. He was also prone to talking about this at length on IRC. The team got so burnt-out making the game that they eventually gave up and just made a Doom style game on their new engine.

    And +1 to reading "Masters of Doom"

      Much of those ideas made it into the woeful Daikatana.

      It sounds cool, but unfortunately Romero didn't make anyone his bitch with that one. ;p

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