One of the biggest success stories and critical darlings of 2020 was id Software's Doom Eternal, as they doubled down on the fantastic original with an even more aggressive sequel.
id Software is one of the most legendary studios in the business, having birthed and pioneered the genre way back in the 90s with Doom and Wolfenstein. The studio went through a tumultuous time, with the 2000s being a relatively quiet period for id Software.
However, 2016 saw the return of one of gaming's biggest icons, the Doomslayer. Doom 2016 was quickly heralded as perhaps a breath of fresh air in a genre that has become increasingly saturated and stagnant.
The sequel pretty much took everything that worked about the original and harvested enough out of the original 90s games to deliver an even more fast-paced, brutal, and polished experience in Doom Eternal.
At the core of what makes the games especially captivating has always been the Doomslayer. Anger incarnate, the Doomslayer is a true icon of gaming and one that has stood the test of time for decades. Hugo Martin, the director for Doom Eternal and the 2016 title, recently, on a playthrough stream, delved into how a lot of thought was given to a female Doomslayer.
Doom Eternal creators had apparently considered a female Doomslayer
Upon being asked whether they considered a female Doomslayer during the stream, Martin had a pretty solid response:
“I’ve thought about it, actually. I think if we did it, I’d want it to be lethal. I think it’s interesting how it would impact the glory kills, the kind of weapons that she would have, the fighting style. All aggression, absolutely, but a different type of aggression. I would really strive to allow it to impact the gameplay in a meaningful way. I’ve definitely put a lot of thought into that.”
- At the 59:30 mark during the stream
The Doomslayer, as a character, is pretty skeletal with only the most basic of characterization. According to Hugo Martin, the character is akin to Ferrari, meaning they remain fun regardless of the speed they operate at.
The character fits into the old videogame archetype from the early 90s of the silent protagonist that lets players project their own personalities and attach meaning to the character in their own way. Essentially, the Doomslayer is but a vessel for the player to immerse themselves into the game and share a stronger bond with the game.
Considering that Hugo Martin and the creators of Doom Eternal aren't averse to the idea of different spins on the same character is an extremely positive sign. If anything, it indicates that studios are willing to look past the lens through which iconic characters have been looked at for so long.