Work on Doom 4 was completely rebooted by developer Id Software at the end of 2011.
That’s according to Kotaku, which describes the game as being “in trouble” as it approaches its fifth year in development.
“An earlier version of Doom 4 did not exhibit the quality and excitement that Id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect,” Bethesda's vice president of marketing and public relations Pete Hines told Kotaku.
“As a result, Id refocused its efforts on a new version of Doom 4 that promises to meet the very high expectations everyone has for this game and this franchise. When we’re ready to talk about the Doom 4 Id is making, we will let folks know.”
It was originally being developed as a re-imagining of Doom 2 and saw players joining a resistance movement helping to protect the Earth from invaders. A cinematic approach had been taken, leading to some staff internally referring to it as “Call of Doom”.
However, some felt that the action sequences detracted from the game’s strengths – the understated horror elements.
Apparently the game was being developed in tandem with Rage, which was eventually released in 2011. Development of that title allegedly distracted management from the troubles engulfing the Doom team.
That’s not to say everything was fine and dandy with Rage. Its commercial performance failed to hit expectations eventually leading to the cancellation of the sequel and the downsizing of DLC plans for the existing release. With its dubious track record of twin-game development, ZeniMax wanted Id to focus solely on Doom 4.
Everything about the project started over, both from a creative and a tech level using the Rage game engine as a starting point. That in turn has reportedly led to other conflicts, with internal struggles between the Doom and Rage teams complicating the process.
As a result a lot of the studio’s most accomplished talent have jumped ship.
ZeniMax’s ambitious management have told Id that Doom 4 could be as big a cultural and commercial success as the Bethesda-developed Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
And with next-gen consoles now on the horizon, the game is being realigned for release on Sony and Microsoft’s new machines. ZeniMax is fed up after years of delays and is believed to have laid down some serious ultimatums – it wants Id to deliver, preferably within the year.