‘Doom Eternal’ stays fresh while appealing to a nostalgic audience

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The new shooter game, which CNN Business got to try out recently, walks a balance between nostalgic elements that longtime fans may enjoy and innovation to attract new fans. You play Doom Slayer, who has arrived back on Earth after the events of “Doom (2016)” and finds the planet is under a demonic invasion. Armed with plenty of weapons, the Doom Slayer must destroy as many demons as possible.

“It’s not mean-spirited. It’s goofy. We get to do all that stuff: blood, guts, gore and fun with a triple-A budget,” Hugo Martin, “Doom Eternal’s” game director, told CNN Business.

Compared to the 2016 game, the sequel has a new flame thrower, a supercharged punch and what developers say is more than double the number of demons. The game even partly takes place in Heaven, unlike past games set in the underworld.

“You’ve got to keep up with the changing nature of gamers’ DNA,” Marty Stratton, executive producer at id Software, told CNN Business. “Players are incredibly sophisticated these days. If we made just a 26 year old version of Doom with new graphics, nobody would play it.”

“Doom” shook up the video game industry when it first came out in 1993 as a free file for PCs that people could download. Future versions were sold in retail.

At the time, the original “Doom” was unusual for its gory and bloodthirsty gameplay.

“Games were generally like ‘Mario’ and Nintendo,” said Martin.

“Doom” popularized the first-person shooter, a genre now dominated by “Call of Duty” games and “Apex Legends,” and is even credited with coining the term “deathmatch.” Developers gave customers the ability to edit and modify the game in their own versions too, turning demons into penguins if they wanted, and for that, “Doom” is credited with popularizing game-modding as well.
Now, in 2020, “Doom Eternal” is slated to arrive on Google’s cloud gaming platform, Stadia, in addition to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. Stadia launched last November, to mixed reception over its reliance on good Wi-Fi.

“It’ll be an interesting test case for Stadia because it’s such a fast-paced game,” said Carter Rogers, principle analyst at SuperData, a Nielsen company that tracks the video game industry. “If Stadia can play Doom, well, that bodes well for cloud gaming as a whole.”

Fans of the franchise haven’t forgotten about “Doom Eternal.”

“[I] still love it. [It] made me jump every time a monster jumped out. Almost threw the controller at the TV when they did,” said Felicia Keitt, 31, from Columbia, South Carolina, who played the original and the 2016 version. “The graphics alone caught my attention. And it’s ‘Doom.'”

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