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Linguica

Doom 4 Writer Revealed

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CVG has the news that British author Graham Joyce has been tapped to write the story for Doom 4. Wikipedia tells me his novels "have been categorized as fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mainstream literature--with some even overlapping genres." So there you go. Not sure why id didn't decide to bring back Matt Costello, who wrote the Doom 3 story, since it was possibly the most poignant, painstakingly woven tapestry of love, loss and vengeance ever to be put from pen to paper.

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I don't know what is more worrying: That it is newsworthy to name the write of an action game's story or the fact that they still dare to name it Doom...

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MikeRS said:

id's (modern) games pretty much serve as tech demos for the engines anyway.

Why modern?

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MikeRS said:

id's (modern) games pretty much serve as tech demos for the engines anyway.

Their games have always been tech demos, it's just that the older ones were apparently more fun.

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What's the bet they weave the storyline into the "game" as a series of unavoidable cut-scenes - turning it into an interactive novel.

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MikeRS said:

id's (modern) games pretty much serve as tech demos for the engines anyway.

Yeah um, from what I've heard id Software has a pretty long history of having bold plans for their games but then end up scrapping most of what they had originally planned on doing and creating something barebones and simple just to get the game/engine/whatever out the door ASAP. Doom and Quake instantly come to mind. :D

As far as Doom 3 is concerned, they spent an awful lot of time working on the game for it to just be a glorified tech demo. Compared to some of the other id Software games built using new technologies (Quake 3 for example), Doom 3 actually had quite a bit of depth to it. I personally think Doom 3 has more depth than a few of the games that were released using the engine later on (Quake 4 for instance).

Not sure why id didn't decide to bring back Matt Costello, who wrote the Doom 3 story, since it was possibly the most poignant, painstakingly woven tapestry of love, loss and vengeance ever to be put from pen to paper.

Too busy working on the story for Rage I guess. :P

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Here's a story: A bunch of demons came through a portal at a research facility on Mars, everyone was killed, they sent some space marines and all of them were killed except one. Doom doesn't really need a story, the focus is on the gameplay. I blame Half-Life for this whole "Every FPS needs a story and scripted sequences" mentality. There are some games that just don't need a story, and Doom is one of them.

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Games no longer have their storyline in the manual. That was way back then when hardware limitations made it hard to have scripted scenes and stuff in the game without bloating the engine too much for the 640 kilobytes of system memory.

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Gez said:

Games no longer have their storyline in the manual. That was way back then when hardware limitations made it hard to have scripted scenes and stuff in the game without bloating the engine too much for the 640 kilobytes of system memory.


I take it you haven't played many old games.

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All doom 4 really needs is nothing more than some tougher monsters, more of said monsters, more light, and bigger maps. Anything else is truly unnecessary.

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I heard it was going to be a poignant tale of love and loss on the high seas starring two estranged ninja brothers (voiced by Ashton Kutcher and Gilbert Gottfried) and the pack of Marlboros they're fighting over (voiced by Robin Williams).

It's supposed to be the single deepest piece of literature penned by man, short of the phone book.

There will be a movie adaptation starring the Rock... and Hulk Hogan and Brock Lesner and Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura and Paris Hilton.

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Hey, if it has a scene where a psychologically depraved marine decides to bone an imp... I'll read it!

Then again, I think someone already wrote something like that...

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kristus said:

I take it you haven't played many old games.


Many old action games? They used slides (like Strife) or text screens (like Doom). Rudimentary cutscenes at most, on the level of Doom's intermission map or, at best, Wolfenstein's episode ends. Have you ever played Shadowcaster, for example? The introduction and animation video are not even played by the engine, instead the game uses a .bat file that calls an executable (ADPLAY.EXE) to play the intro video, then the game engine (RAVEN.EXE), and then once the game quits, ADPLAY again with a different video to play if a special code had been returned so that it knows it has to play the endgame video...

Most other genres weren't much better. Now, adventure games like Lucasfilm Games' ones or Sierra's were another issue, but they were built around a scripting language to begin with. Likewise for those vaguely-interactive cartoons that were to be found on some arcade machines (Dragon's Lair, Space Ace).

When support media became larger (CDs instead of floppy), rather than little cutscenes consisting of three or four images with maybe a couple of animated subparts, they started putting in FMVs or gratuitous amount of CGed images. Cue The Seventh Guest, Myst, most Cryo games... Again, either they were built around a scripting language, or the cutscenes where non-interactive and always the same.

Scripted cutscenes in action games had to wait for a while. They started with Half-Life, Jedi Knight II and the like. And game magazines were all, "wow! they're using the game engine rather than FMVs, it's incredible!"

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Might start with that you never said anything about FMV or similar. You just said scripted events. Which tons of games did.

Explaining the story in game instead of just in the manual has been done basically forever.

Since you mentioned Strife, I might add I found that story told in a very sweet-ass efficient way. I never needed to look into any manual for that story.

Actually, there's even games today that basically employ the same method of storytelling. Company Of Heroes for instance. It got animations too. But the most interesting story is told by an old man's voice while slides are shown.

There were quite a few games that did have animations back then too though. And not only point and clickers. Syndicate for instance, had several different animations. Among them a decently lengthy intro where it basically sets up the world. Then the missions are all explained in text but that's only reasonable, since it's done so as you're playing a person sitting by a computer in a blimp controlling 4 cyborgs.

Then there's System Shock, got video for the intro where it tells the backstory. Then the thick juicy in game story is explained in logs. (with audio if you got the CD version)

Crusader, got FMV sequences where they tell the story and missions as you approach people you meet. Hardly rudimentary.

So basically, shut the fuck up and face the wall.

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kristus said:

Might start with that you never said anything about FMV or similar. You just said scripted events. Which tons of games did.


Some did, many did not. What I said was that a story that is only in the game manual is not to be expected anymore. ("Games no longer have their storyline in the manual." This was in response to the post just above that said "If the entire storyline fills more than half a page of the manual i'll be mighty pissed.") Then you went and said "nuh-uh, games had super-duper extra deep storyline with animations and blocks of text as far back as 1684", which is great and all but doesn't disprove that games no longer have their storyline in the manual. Of course games that told stories existed, starting with Adventure!, Zork and Colossal Cave.

Games which didn't tell a story, or didn't put much effort in telling it, existed. But you wouldn't see a commercial game with the storytelling of Sopwith Camel, Arkanoid or Xenon 2 nowadays.

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Jello said:

Here's a story: A bunch of demons came through a portal at a research facility on Mars, everyone was killed, they sent some space marines and all of them were killed except one. Doom doesn't really need a story, the focus is on the gameplay. I blame Half-Life for this whole "Every FPS needs a story and scripted sequences" mentality. There are some games that just don't need a story, and Doom is one of them.


probably this. because half-life was so hailed for having a story instead of mindless killing, lol, and later games focused on having a story as if this was vital to gameplay. for me, having a story is fine and dandy, but don't let it get in the way of gameplay.

as for classic doom and a story, the old bitmap based shooters were too fast for use of cutscenes. imagine you're busy evading a hail of fireballs and suddenly... your controls stop working. cutscene. then you're suddenly back in the POV of your doomguy. bah. if, at all, just use different intermission pics (ports should support this, do they?)

more annoyingly, stories and cutscenes kill a game's suitability for speedruns, which were defined by the earlier id games. at least, half-life had its scientists, guards, whoever talk to you while you could go on with your business.

but i don't expect modern shooters to come without a story because developers fear criticism from "experts" who can't check "story" on their must have feature list.

to quote hell revealed's story, because it fits doom so well:


You wake up with a pistol in your hand, 50 bullets and suddenly you appear
to have visible health and armor. Apparently you were sent into an invaded
lab experimenting in jumpgates by two mad WAD creators. Your mission is to
go through the jumpgate and find out what your mission is, and, in addition,
to finish all levels and send a letter of complaint to the madmen who sent
you here.

To read the rest of the incredible Hell Revealed story, send $500 to us, or,
alternatively, enter a nuthouse.

This is Doom, man - just go in there and kill!

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GhostlyDeath said:

I just hope Doom 4 is more like Doom 2 (in a classic game-play like sense) with a good SSG (like the one in LMS) and low-low quality mode.



games are very tweakable. compare quake3 in high quality mode and tweaked for competitive gaming. my gripe with doom3 is rather the character's running speed and the lack of monster hordes like in doom2 (or, fast running is essential for taking on monster hordes). and since these features are contrary to the kind of eye candy people expect from games nowadays, i don't see doom4 being very close to doom2 in terms of gameplay.

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Gez said:

Games which didn't tell a story, or didn't put much effort in telling it, existed. But you wouldn't see a commercial game with the storytelling of Sopwith Camel, Arkanoid or Xenon 2 nowadays.


Sure there are, not big budget releases though. But games like Flow do get released that basically has no story at all.

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What the fuck is wrong with the original story? Doesn't anyone remember why the Doomguy had to wait while everyone else went into the base? Why not just expand on that and have it be the introduction to the game? the original story might have been short and sweet but at least it left a lot to the imagination and, with a good writer, could be expanded into something better than the Doom Novels. Hell, even I could do it. IF they wanna make doom again put a story that leads up to the classic Doom gameplay, not just throw us in then try to tell a story inbetween dark rooms.

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Well. It wasn't really Costello's fault that the Doom3 story wasn't better than it was. Originally it was a lot more interesting and less obvious, but id decided to dumb it down for the people, removing interesting devices and characters.

And of course Doom 4 will need a story. A good story. An involved story. Doom has to evolve. You can't just make the same game you had in 93. The story of doom may be a little short (but sweet, like Csonicgo said) by today's standards, but back in 93 it was pretty involving and while it didn't contain the many scripted events you see today, it had plenty of story integration. The story is heavily reflected in the level design.

1) Episode 1 is very hell-free as it takes place on Phobos.
2) The way the player dies in Episode 1 is not all that different from a modern scripted event. Neither is the way you're set up for boss fights.
3) In the story, Deimos disappears from the sky as a result of the experiments. After dying, the player goes to hell. This is where Deimos has gone to, and the player ends up here. The Deimos bases have been heavily hellified.
4) In Episode 3 you're in native hell. The environments are truly fucked up.

If you're of the opinion that Doom didn't have a story or that the extend of Doom's story presentation was the "Story So Far" segment in the readme, then you really didn't pay attention.

I agree that Doom 4 doesn't need long, boring and uninvolving monologues like in Doom3, Quake4, Prey and Half-Life2. I agree the Doom 4 doesn't need a lot of linear scripted effects. However saying that Doom 4 doesn't need a story is downright retarded.

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