“It’s meant to be crazy and fun, not completely disturbing”
From the feeling of taking on a big challenge, to the game’s influences, Doom’s creative director Hugo Martin explains how he and his art team masterminded its comeback
What challenges did bringing back such an iconic game pose?
The pressure is always there. I think it’s what any creative person looks for. You want to tackle the biggest problems, take on the most challenging assignments. It gets the creative juices flowing. The biggest challenge was making sure that, while still feeling fresh and new, it looked and played like a proper Doom game. Doom puts its action and gameplay first. Story exists in support of those features, but it doesn’t necessarily drive them. The core is speed, movement, combat and level design.
What were your aims for the game’s look?
To feel like an 80s metal album cover come to life. Characters have comic book-like proportions, but with hyper-realistic textures and details. Not campy, but not super-realistic either. It’s meant to be crazy and fun, not completely disturbing.
Can you talk us through the production?
We wanted a varied experience, something that wouldn’t grow stale visually. We spent a lot of time jamming on ideas. We felt like the key to Doom’s success in the art department would be our ability to ideate quickly and generate lots of ideas. Thumbnailing and quick sketches helped us avoid getting bogged down for too long trying to find the right design.
What were the game’s biggest influences?
The original Doom games and pop culture at the time. We used some of the same references as touchstones for our work. Evil Dead 2 was a big inspiration. Comics like Hard Boiled and Sin City helped shape the narrative style and the tone of the violence in Doom. It’s got a B-movie vibe with summer blockbuster visuals and action.