Why Doom Eternal is ditching “traditional multiplayer” in favor of a custom mode starring the Slayer

As I said in my Doom Eternal preview (opens in new tab), the upcoming sequel – now due on November 22 – is fun as hell. It makes some big changes to Doom 2016’s already sterling formula, including a total multiplayer overhaul revealed during the Bethesda E3 2019 conference. As executive producer Marty Stratton of developer id Software told IGN in a recent interview, Doom Eternal’s multiplayer is ditching the standard deathmatch mode of the original game in favor of Battlemode, a new custom game type that pits the Doom Slayer against two player-controlled demons. 

“When you look back to Doom 2016, we kind of did something more traditional,” Stratton said. “Skill vs skill, twitch vs twitch. It didn’t have any of the components of Doom that people loved from the campaign. It didn’t have the Slayer or demons in a meaningful way. It just kind of fell flat, so we really flipped the script on it and decided we need to develop this internally, we need to pull it from what Doom is all about, demons vs slayer.”

Creative director Hugo Martin added that “with demons, I can overcome someone’s twitch skills with strategy and teamwork, and that was the spark” behind Battlemode. Bethesda and id wanted to double down on Doom’s fundamentals in Battlemode and Doom Eternal as a whole, which lines up with what we heard from Stratton when we spoke to him about Doom’s SnapMap level builder, which was also axed in the name of refocusing. 

“We’ve taken the energy and time and money that we put into SnapMap and doubled back down on what we’re doing with the campaign,” Stratton said. “Making it even bigger, bolder, broader, and also our approach to the PvP side of things. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier. I think what you’ll see is the result of that effort and that extra time and money. SnapMap was cool, but it really felt like the investment needed to go into things that people were really coming to the game for.” 

The specifics of Battlemode are still up in the air: Do you unlock new demons to play? Does the person who gets to play as the Doom Slayer change each round? But on paper, it’s a promising multiplayer reinvention that should mesh better with what makes Doom, Doom. 

Here’s everything you need to know about all the big E3 2019 games (opens in new tab). If you’re looking for some more experimental and compact titles, check out our list of the best indie games (opens in new tab) we’ve seen at E3 2019.

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