"It's hard to believe it's been 25 years," remarks Jerry Keehan, Lead Level Designer at id Software, as he reflects on how much time has passed since the original DOOM brought Hell to personal computers. Despite all that time, the memories of playing classic DOOM games remain burned in the minds of those who first experienced it, like a smoking BFG crater in the face of what was once a snarling Cacodemon.
"The first room in the first level of the shareware episode (of DOOM) was where I knew I wanted to work at id Software and make levels for a living,” says Tim Willits, Studio Director at id and Lead Designer and Creative Director on DOOM 3.
“I was walking around and thinking, 'This is amazing! Look at this game! It's so cool!' and somehow the door (in the level) opened,” Willits remembers. “I can still visualize it - it was like the door to my life opened. Everything about me changed at that moment.”
Willits is far from the only id staffer converted from an impassioned DOOM fan to impassioned DOOM creator. Jason O’ Connell was also baptized in the early days of DOOM, building maps and consulting printed guides found at his local Toys “R” Us, and worked his way to Principal Level Designer on DOOM (2016).
“I still have a lot of those old books,” says O’Connell. "Coming from playing DOOM II in my friend's basement on his dad's computer and now being part of the franchise this many years later is crazy.”
DOOM’s influence goes far beyond creating budding game developers. The series revolutionized first-person shooters, formed the online deathmatch as it’s known today, and pioneered a slew of other technical and cultural achievements – leaving a Slayer-sized bootprint of an impression for both gaming and its fans.
“It really is cool to get to work on something that has had such a story behind it, has such unbelievable fans and means a lot to people,” says Marty Stratton, Executive Producer at id Software. "I think everybody at id, particularly on the DOOM team, might look at working on DOOM as a dream job. If you're in film, you know, you want to work on Star Wars or something like that. If you're in games, you want to work on something like DOOM.”
Of course, it’s not just the devs celebrating the franchise – DOOM’s fans are among the most passionate in the industry and so we want to know your stories. What does 25 years of DOOM mean to you? Share in the comments and look forward to more infernal and informative content as the Year of DOOM rages on!