Noclip, the documentary team that delivered deep dives on Fallout 76, Bethesda Game Studios’ origins, and the history of Quake, is back on the case with a 20-minute look at the demons of Doom Eternal. It’s part preview, part design documentary, and it gives ample time to the game’s all-new foes as well as icons updated for present day.
Hugo Martin, Doom Eternal’s game director, starts with four throwbacks to 1994’s Doom 2: Hell on Earth: The Arachnotron, Archvile, Hellified Soldier and, of course, Pain Elemental, one of the series’ more iconic beasts.
The Pain Elemental’s updated look still draws on the Cacodemon’s — throughout the series both units have been visually similar to the point of being mistaken for each other. But Martin says the Pain Elemental, in addition to being a tougher bullet-sponge enemy, also has a personality akin to a “grumpy landlord.”
Archvile, which also appeared in Doom 2 26 years ago, occupies a role similar to the Summoner’s from Doom (2016), Martin explained. Still, Archvile is rendered with a nod to his hell-raising pose and style from the original sprites id designers created so long ago. “It’s a testament to those original id guys, because they still hold up,” Martin says.
Among the newer baddies, Martin and his colleagues have cooked up a variety of threats designed to get players to “do the Doom dance.” Roughly speaking, that’s to prioritize enemies, identify their weak spots, target them with the optimal weapon, and always stay moving.
Whiplash, the Doom series’ first female demon (though she does not have breasts; id and Bethesda wanted to use her in marketing materials) is a good example of a foe to keep you on your toes. She drops to the ground, changing the player’s aim perspective, and slithers to a flanking attack. It’s important to use freezing or stunning weapons on her to counter her mobility and get her out of the way before lesser AIs on the map overwhelm you.
“They’re some of the best chess pieces the studio has ever made,” Martin boasts, somewhat justifiably. Martin admits the challenges they put forth can be frustrating, but for players who can pay attention and adapt, designers hope these enemies will push players into a more varied and fun style of play.
For more on Doom Eternal, check out our preview from earlier this month. Chris Grant says that for all of its over-the-top violence, the Doom series “is absolutely a Saturday morning cartoon. And Doom Eternal gets that, and leans into that, more than any Doom game I’ve ever played.” Doom Eternal launches March 20 on Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, with a version for Nintendo Switch following sometime later.