"Doom x Halo," a simple phrase that will send video game fans all over the world into a complete frenzy.
Gaming fans all over the world lost their collective mind upon hearing the monumental news of Microsoft acquiring Bethesda. Soon after, talk of a crossover between Doom and Halo began to take place.
The deal was recently made final to the delight of Xbox fans as 20 titles from Bethesda made their way onto the Game Pass.
The Xbox brand receiving a much-needed boost in popularity and relevance was certainly appreciated, but fans have a very ambitious crossover in mind. Modern entertainment is dominated by ambitious crossovers, and it won't get bigger than Doom and Halo.
The meeting of the titans
Over the past few decades, gaming has seen the rise of several icons that have dominated their respective eras. The '90s were largely dominated by the presence of the DoomGuy/Doomslayer, and the 2000s were arguably the era of Master Chief.
Halo is as integral a part of the Xbox brand as Mario is to Nintendo; and Nathan Drake and Crash are to PlayStation. Doom, on the other hand, is a brand that has pervaded throughout gaming. The franchise has seen an absolutely monumental rise in popularity with its 2016 release and its fantastic 2020 sequel, Doom Eternal.
With Bethesda ushered into the Xbox fold, it makes complete financial sense for both Xbox, id Software, 343 Industries, and Bethesda to let this crossover happen. The only question is if it makes sense creatively for Doom and Halo.
Would a Doom x Halo crossover work as well as fans hope it does?
Halo and Doom: More parallels than one might presume
It wouldn't be blasphemous to suggest that Doom, as a franchise, was on ice during the 2000s after a relatively underwhelming entry, Doom 3. id Software, as developers had experienced the heights of fame, glamor, and acclaim with their rise in the '90s but didn't exactly have a great decade in the 2000s.
Doomslayer, rather than being considered an icon of first-person shooters and video game culture as a whole, was considered a relic by then. It seemed that the era of hyper-violent, stylized gore, aggressive, and difficult first-person shooters had passed.
This proved to be false with the release of Doom (2016). The game became one of the most celebrated games of not just the 2010s but of all time. Not only was it a return to form for id Software, it marked the return of the Doomslayer.
On the Xbox side of things, Sony had an incredibly popular console out with the PlayStation. Microsoft wanted to give it some stiff competition. The Xbox arrived and was moderately successful, but the console and its brand lacked the presence of a mascot.
Bungie, who was working on Halo for Apple, was acquired by Microsoft. Halo would go on to become the title behind which the Xbox brand would rally. Master Chief soon became the mascot for Xbox.
The Spartan dominated the 2000s. He became a true gaming icon. However, the start of the decade didn't exactly go to plan. Halo 4 and its subsequent sequels, developed by 343 industries, didn't exactly hit gang busting numbers and weren't particularly well-received.
Fans are now hedging their bets on Halo: Infinite to break Master Chief out of the rut and help him take his rightful place on the throne. The plan is for Halo to be a long-running game in the same ilk as Destiny and No Man's Sky.
The hope is that Master Chief will be able to mount a comeback like the Doomslayer. The two also share other things in common. For one, Doom and Halo are iconic first-person shooter franchises with two green armor-clad military men at the helm.
Does it make sense creatively for Doomslayer and Master Chief to exist in the same universe?
The Halo franchise has probably got one of the deepest lore and world-building in video games history. It has a litany of comic books, TV shows, books, and anime to flesh out its world, history, and lore.
Doom, in comparison, has a very sparse story. That isn't to say that Doom lacks interesting lore or great world-building. It clearly has plenty for players to dive deep into, especially regarding the Doomslayer's history with King Novik and the Night Sentinels.
However, Doom's gameplay is so far removed from Halo that they cannot co-exist without it feeling jarring or uninteresting.
Despite how much fans seem to love a crossover, there haven't been many in the video game industry outside the Fighting game genre. This is also because the fighting game genre lends itself to the idea of crossovers. What makes a fighting game fun is the distinction in play-styles and movesets.
The easiest solution that most gamers will put forward for a Doom x Halo game is a co-op first-person shooter, or a game that allows the player to switch between the two. That is easier said than done, though.
The most that fans can expect at this point is for Doomslayer and Master Chief to make a clever cameo in each other's games.