Let’s do an­other one. How hard could it be?

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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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