Let’s do another one. How hard could it be?
Dishonored 2 and this year’s Doom reboot both carry the Bethesda logo, and they’re both firstperson-viewed action games, but in terms of tone, presentation and scope, they’re quite unlike each other. But both games faced the same challenge: what to retain from their predecessors? The starting point for every sequel – or reboot – should involve pinpointing the root appeal of the thing that was successful enough to leave people wanting more. For Arkane Studios, the process involved looking at how Dishonored was received, not only by critics but also the community. What did players like? What might they want more of? What would they be happy to never clap eyes on ever again? There was no shortage of opinions, shared via all sorts of media, to take into account. For Id Software, the process was a bit more difficult. Work on the Doom reboot began in 2008. Having left the series alone since 2004’s Doom 3, the team wasn’t able to simply pick up where it left off. Should a new version follow in 3’ s footsteps, and move even farther away from the original’s motifs, or should it turn back towards the trailblazing spirit of yore? The designers made a call, and it was the wrong one. In 2012, Id trashed nearly four years’ worth of work and returned to the drawing board. It was an onerous decision but, as we know now, eminently worth it.
The common understanding among consumers is that sequels are easy options, but the story behind Doom illustrates the realities involved in trying to elevate a well-known game to the next level. Deciding on a new starting point for its reboot turned out to be just one of many tests, as the team explains in this issue’s The Making Of… on p96.
Back at Arkane, we find a group of artists, designers and programmers whose vision for their new game may not have required a change of tack, but it’s inspired some long looks in the mirror as they’ve faced up to the challenge they’ve set themselves in trying to surpass 2012’s majestic Dishonored at every turn.
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