×

‘You’re Doing God’s Work’: Marty Stratton And Hugo Martin on ‘Doom Eternal’

The “Doom” franchise has had a measurable effect on the game industry over the past 26 years. The first game, released on PC in 1993, helped define the first-person shooter genre as we know it today. While some series see new installments every year or two, there have only been four core entries released to date, with a fifth due out later this year: “Doom Eternal.” To cap off E3, we sat down with id Software’s Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin to talk about “Eternal’s” gameplay, “Doom’s” legacy, and the ongoing fight between good and evil.

Stratton, “Doom Eternal’s” executive producer, has been with id for over 20 years. Before being acquired by Bethesda parent company Zenimax Media in 2009, id had already established itself as a leader in the FPS genre, thanks to series like “Wolfenstein,” “Quake,” and, of course, “Doom.” One thing the studio hasn’t lost sight of over the years, Stratton believes, is the importance of teamwork.

“The people make all the difference,” he told us. “Not just the talent, but how well they work together. That’s been as much as a focus for us… to redefine ‘Doom’ over the last five years, it’s really been to redefine our team and establish a group of people that truly could make almost anything they put their minds to.”

Popular on Variety

Stratton hired Martin, whose background is in visual effects and advertising animation, about six years ago. He called working with such an established developer “amazing,” comparing id to Disney in that both are companies “with a legacy” that span generations of employees.

As Creative Director of ‘Doom Eternal,’ Martin is committed to his team’s vision of the series: a “push-forward combat” game in which the only way to survive is to face your demons head-on. “We have to stick to our guns,” he said. While offering multiple paths to a solution works in titles like Arkane’s “Dishonored” series, “Ours is just about solving it one way, which is just guns blazing and aggression… You buy a ‘Doom’ game, you have a certain set of expectations that we have to meet.”

So where does ‘Doom Eternal’ fit into the series? The developers said that it builds on 2016’s “Doom” reboot with an epic story in which “you’ll travel to the depths of hell and the heights of heaven,” as Stratton put it. The title itself refers to “the eternal struggle between good and evil and the Doomslayer’s eternal fight against the demons… The universe of ‘Doom’ is expanding and it explores some of those grand ideas of good versus evil.”

Some shooters aim for a gritty, photorealistic experience, but “Doom” has always been more cartoony in its demon-slaying. That “comic book silliness,” as Stratton called it, is part of what makes ‘Doom’ what it is.

“You’re killing demons. I mean, you’re doing God’s work,” Martin explained. “You know, they’re not people. I think we don’t really reference real gore in any way. Like the artists don’t necessarily have to look up any at any gnarly references in order to understand how to make the gore. It’s literally like a cartoon. So I think it’s escapism, it’s all in good fun.”

Both Stratton and Martin were visibly excited about “Doom Eternal’s” multiplayer, Battlemode, which expands on “Doom 2016’s” online mode in a two-on-one fight to the death. “It’s basically everything players love about ‘Doom’ combat, but social and with their friends,” Stratton said. While the reboot’s multiplayer felt “disconnected,” as he put it, “What we’ve done with ‘Doom Eternal’ is take that DNA and create… this player versus demon experience. It’s a highly tuned, highly skilled slayer. He’s got all of his guns, all of his mods, and he gets to take on two player-controlled demons.”

“The multiplayer’s going to blow them away,” Martin reiterated. “It’s every bit as engaging as the single-player.”

It’s hard living up to a legacy, but given the positive reception of id Software’s last ‘Doom’ title, the franchise that put first-person shooters on the map appears to be in good hands. You’ll be able to see for yourself on November 22, when “Doom Eternal” launches on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia.

More Gaming

  • Call of Duty The Campaign

    Watch the First Episode of New Call of Duty League Docuseries 'The Campaign' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even a new league comes with history. That’s one of the takeaways from the first episode of “The Campaign,” which follows the Chicago Huntsmen in the lead-up to Activision Blizzard’s new franchised Call of Duty League. Variety is debuting the first episode exclusively, which details some of the narrative that follows the Huntsmen (based in [...]

  • Vindex - Imax

    Imax Jumps Into Esports in Exclusive Pact With Startup Vindex

    Hold on to your popcorn: An Imax location near you could soon be beaming live competitive video-game action onto its big screens. Imax has inked a partnership with Vindex (vindex.gg), an esports infrastructure startup formed by Major League Gaming co-founders Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni, under which Vindex will create esports events and experiences exclusively [...]

  • Corinna Kopf

    Corinna Kopf Leaving Twitch to Stream Exclusively on Facebook Gaming

    The battle for gaming creators has cost Amazon’s Twitch another notable streamer: Corinna Kopf, a popular Instagram model, digital influencer and “Fortnite” Twitch streamer with millions of followers, is moving to Facebook Gaming under an exclusive agreement. On Facebook, Kopf’s first stream is scheduled to take place Dec. 30 at 4 p.m. PT at facebook.com/gaming/corinnakopff. [...]

  • Pokemon-Tower-Battle

    Facebook Launches Two Exclusive Pokémon Games

    A pair of Pokémon games is hopping exclusively to Facebook. The social network on Monday launched “Pokémon Tower Battle” and “Pokémon Medallion Battle” — the first time the Pokémon Company is bringing games based on the mini-monster franchise to the Facebook Gaming platform. “Pokémon Tower Battle” is available worldwide while “Pokémon Medallion Battle” is initially [...]

  • Littlstar Ps4 app

    Littlstar Adds Content From Whistle, New Form, Sliver.tv to VR and PlayStation Subscription Service

    UPDATED: A+E Networks-backed video aggregator Littlstar has teamed up with Whistle, New Form, esports network Sliver.tv and others to launch premium content channels for its paying subscribers. The new partnerships will bring esports and other types of short-form content to the PlayStation and VR devices supported by Littlstar. The new partnerships will give Littlstar subscribers [...]

  • Google Stadia Gets Typhoon Studios Game

    Google Buys Typhoon Studios for Its Stadia Cloud Gaming Service

    Google is looking to grow the catalog of its Stadia cloud gaming service: The search giant has acquired Montreal-based game studio Typhon Studios, and will integrate it into its Stadia Games and Entertainment studio. “We’re always looking for people who share our passion and vision for the future of gaming,” said Stadia Games and Entertainment [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content