You can’t think of the original Doom without it conjuring up images of Brutal Doom or some of the excellent maps created by modders.
Mods are not only at the core of Doom, but they’re part of the heritage of its developer, id Software. Even studio director Tim Willits made his start in the industry making maps for Doom.
Unfortunately, because of decisions made in the past few years at the studio, it looks like the next game, Doom Eternal, won’t be breaking in any new industry talent off the back of mods.
“No guarantees [on mods], certainly for Eternal,” executive producer Mart Stratton tells me during QuakeCon. “As a studio, we made some decisions technically many, many years ago, even going back as far as Doom 3, and certainly through the course of Rage’s technical development, that moved us away from being able to give people the ability to do mods.
“Over the last few years and with the evolution of id Tech 6 and id Tech 7, we tried to swing that back to making the tech decisions that do allow for that – I don’t have anything to announce or to say, or anything like that, but it’s a personal and studio initiative to get back to where we can do that.”
In the long term, id is making moves to allow for future games to support mods, but it looks like that won’t happen with Doom Eternal.
SnapMap, the level editor introduced in Doom 2016, won’t be replacing mods this time, either. The developer says this is due to focusing efforts elsewhere.
“What I heard most of following Doom’s launch wasn’t, ‘Dammit, give me mods’, it was, “Dammit, give me more campaign content’. Priority one is meeting those demands,” Stratton says.
“In 2016 we had SnapMap, and we decided to put that aside for now and re-focus those efforts around the invasion stuff that we talked about – that’s one of the ways we’re approaching the social side of Doom. We’re also building a PvP that we’ll talk about a lot down the road because we’re really excited about invasions and PvP.
“They’re both very Doom experiences and we’re developing them internally, which is where a lot of those resources go, we’re making sure they’re done right. And we’re also looking at post-launch content that we make. Everything we make is very hand-crafted and I think that’s one of the things people like about those experiences, the level of polish that we put on them, and that was the itch that didn’t get scratched with SnapMap.”