Return Of The ID (or, How 20 Years Just Passed In A Heartbeat)
April 15, 2014

So in 1993 I was in college at Texas Tech, occasionally playing the random N64 or old Atari 8-bit game but for the most part out of the current gaming scene. Then one day, I received in the mail a handful of 3.5″ floppy disks from a friend that contained a demo of a game I had never heard of: DOOM. I had played Castle Wolfenstein, of course, but this was something different. For the next 2 days I played this game straight through the (very creepy) night and I was hooked. From that point on I played endless deathmatches with friends (we even drilled holes through the walls of our apartment to network our machines together).

 

I jumped on every Doom descendant as it was released: Rise Of The Triad, Hexen, Doom II, Duke Nukem, and of course Quake. I played every mod I could find (Alien:TC!) and created my own floormaps. It’s not untrue to state that this game owned me. But by the time Quake II hit, I was well into my career and had little time anymore to be playing FPS all the time. And that’s pretty much where my gaming stopped…except for the occasional deathmatches with those friends on our infrequent reunions. The last “new” game I played was the “Return To Castle Wolfenstein” reboot in 2001. I looked at Doom 3, but it didn’t really appeal to me, being so far away from the previous 2 installments. Something about that simple, yet effective gameplay and storyline of the originals (more like atmosphere, really, as the story itself is pretty bare) was enough for me.

 

Now, however, I find myself wondering if I’m about to go back down the rabbit hole, 20 years after my first trip to Wonderland. I’m talking, of course, about the imminent launch of two new games that threaten to be Deja Vu all over again: Wolfenstein: The New Order and Doom 4. Both games promise to be a true return to the feel and the originals, if not exactly the look. Wolfenstein alone goes back to the concept even further:

 

The most compelling aspect of Wolfenstein: The New Order is that it’s a single-player only affair. In a genre dominated by COD-style gameplay that puts multiplayer above all else it’s nice to experience a shooter that actually crafts an authentic story. Instead of cookie-cutter cliche characters the NPCs in Wolfenstein: The New Order run the gamut from the hilarious, likeable squadmate to the sadistic, detestable Nazi doctor. A love interest is also introduced, adding another layer of emotion to a narrative that is compelling from the very beginning. Everyone feels real and you want to protect them. It’s nice to play a game that actually makes you care.

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And the new Doom was percolating for quite a long time at ID, so long that at one point they scrapped what they had in development to bring it back in line with expectations. I see this as a good thing:

 

“If it was like the quintessential, ‘yup, that’s Doom 4,’ then we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” says Hines. “But, it was something that we looked at and the id guys looked at and said, look, it’s not even that something is necessarily bad. But is it good enough? You can make a game and say, ‘that’s not a bad game, but it’s not as good as an Elder Scrolls game should be,’ and there’s a difference…it’s not great. It’s not amazing. It’s not what people have waited all this time for. It needs to be like ‘this was totally worth the wait.’ And I think what the guys at id are working on is…they’re pushing the boundaries and challenging themselves. I don’t want anybody to look at id’s next project and have this reaction that it’s still stuck in the 90s.”

 

Even better news is that for those that order Wolfenstein: The New Order, they’ll receive a code that will unlock the playable beta of Doom! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go drill some new holes in my walls…

Wolfenstein: The New Order is set to release May 20 in North America and May 23 in Europe for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.

 

 

 

 

Jason "ToyOtter" Geyer
AFi Editor-In-Chief Jason Geyer has been part of the online pop culture world for nearly 20 years, having founded some of the very first toy sites on the web including Raving Toy Maniac, ToyOtter, and now Action Figure Insider. Along the way he helped pioneer online coverage of industry events such as San Diego Comic Con, E3, Toy Fair, and CES. He is also a former toy designer who is now a marketing genius. If he does say so himself. And he does.
Read other articles by Jason "ToyOtter" Geyer.

 

 

 

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