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Doom Eternal Release Date, Trailer, Multiplayer And Editions

Despite the foreboding name, Doom sparks a lot of joy in the first-person shooter community. Although it wasn't the very first FPS, it has a legacy that can never be toppled. From its brutal soundtrack to its gory demon-slaying, it set a new standard for power fantasy. After all, who doesn't want to dive into the depths of hell and give those horrifying demons something to be scared of?

Doom Eternal marks the newest release in this long-running franchise under the work of id Software. While the original creators aren't on the project, it still retains that flair for the absurd and cool that Doom always strived to reach, especially after the wildly successful reboot in 2016. Now three years later, we're on the precipice of razing hell once again, just in time to satisfy our itchy trigger fingers.

If you've been out of the loop, we've got you covered. You don't need to have been around since 1993 to enjoy Doom Eternal. We compiled everything you'll need to know before it comes out in March, but playing Doom 2016 after reading this wouldn't be a bad idea.

Doom Eternal's release date and trailer

Fortunately, the wait for Doom Eternal doesn't reflect the second part of its name at all. It launches March 20 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with a Nintendo Switch release sometime later. That puts it at nearly two years after its initial reveal during E3 2018. For PC players, it's worth noting that the game will launch on Steam as well as the Bethesda launcher. Bethesda and id might run into some trouble for that month, though, considering the lineup of titles that drop in the weeks prior to it.

March 2020 is shaping up to be a busy month in an already busy first quarter. Nioh 2, Team Ninja's action RPG prequel set in Sengoku era Japan, launches on March 13, while Nintendo's adorable Animal Crossing: New Horizons will share the spotlight with Eternal on March 20. Despite the crowded lineup, Eternal should be able to stand on its own two legs as the craziest, bloodiest, and most hectic title on offer. We strongly doubt that Animal Crossing will be competing over the same eyeballs as Doom Eternal. That would be a real horror game if it was.

On Jan. 14, 2020, Bethesda launched a new trailer to get fans hyped for Doom Eternal. The trailer shows us cinematics, a slew of characters, and a glimpse into what the gameplay will be like. Needless to say, the trailer promises fans everything they've been hoping for with the newest title in the franchise.

Doom Eternal pre-orders and special editions

If you can't wait to get your hands on Doom Eternal, you can pre-order it now at your retailer of choice. Pre-ordering will also net you a few bonuses, like a new level and a skin for the shotgun. Perhaps the best pre-order bonus goes to the "Doot" Revenant skin, referencing a remix of a classic Doom song.

Huge fans of the franchise can look forward to two different special editions. Ringing in at $90, the Deluxe Edition comes with lots of digital goodies. For one, it secures the Year One Pass, which grants access to the first year of campaign add-on DLC. Furthermore, you'll also get a new skin for the Doom Slayer as well as a sound pack that uses classic gun sound effects.

If you've got $200 to burn, consider looking at the Collector's Edition. The Deluxe Edition is included, along with a couple other knick knacks. The most obvious piece would be full-sized replica of the Doom Slayer's helmet. Additionally, you'll get a cassette tape as well as download codes to the Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal soundtracks. And finally, expect to find a lore book as well as a lithograph.

Doom Eternal on Google Stadia

Doom Eternal is also slated to come to another platform, Google Stadia. The platform is built purely on streaming, and it lets you interface with Google's servers to play games on virtually any screen. With the right internet connection, you could theoretically stream games in 4K with HDR support at 60 frames per second with little latency. And that's what id executive producer Marty Stratton is promising.

Doom Eternal (as well as Doom 2016) were built using the Vulkan API, which is exactly what Stadia runs on. Per Stratton, "It didn't take [them] more than a few weeks" to get their shooter running on Stadia. The real question will be whether the platform can deliver on its promises. Doom is a fast-paced, hectic shooter after all. The slightest frame rate mishap could quickly lead to an unpleasant experience.

Stadia seems stable

But how does Doom Eternal run when you're streaming it from hundreds of miles away? Well, at E3, people also got a chance to demo the shooter on Stadia, and so far, early impressions paint a decent picture. Jacob Ridley, deputy hardware editor at PCGamesN, praised how steady the stream was. He played it at 1080p, 60 fps, and he only noticed lag a few times over his 45-minute session. Nonetheless, he had fun with the game: "I was so caught up in defeating the last horde of demonic spawn by the end of the demo that any concept of this game being streamed from hundreds of miles away was entirely lost on me."

IGN executive editor Josh Norem concurs, saying he experienced a mostly stutter-free session, despite the graphics not quite being at the highest settings. However, he also pointed out that we haven't seen Google or id deliver on the promise of 4K, 60 fps with Doom Eternal.

The new multiplayer in Doom Eternal

QuakeCon 2019 was the "Year of Doom," and id delivered in the form of a boatload of details about Doom Eternal's multiplayer mode. On launch, the mode will feature six maps and five demons for players to choose from: the Revenant, the Pain Elemental, the Mancubus, the Arch-vile, and the Marauder. Two players each pick one of these demons, and they pair together to defeat a decked-out Doom Slayer.

Demons get extra powers, like the ability to summon AI-controlled lesser minions, like Imps. They can also lay traps around the battlefield to hinder the Doom Slayer, as well as prevent the soldier from picking up resources like ammo or health. The Doom Slayer, on the other hand, has access to a portal that the demons can't use, allowing him to sneak around and plan ambushes.

As the round goes on, both sides gain access to upgrades. Demons gradually summon more powerful minions, while the Doom Slayer eventually gets the BFG. The round ends when the slayer dies or when both demons die within 20 seconds. id will continue to support the game after launch, likely with more demons and maps.

The Doom Hunter

At QuakeCon 2019, id revealed some new details about Doom Eternal. While the Doom Slayer is on a never-ending quest to be the ultimate demon hunter, he doesn't realize that he's actually the prey of another creature. The Doom Hunter has his sights set on our protagonist, and he's equipped with an intimidating mix of weapons. The giant chainsaw arm can shred the Doom Slayer up close. From afar, a blanket of homing rockets can do the trick. Frankly, if the Doom Hunter were aiming for anyone but our protagonist, anyone would be dead.

The reveal trailer ends with a montage of the Doom Slayer dancing circles around the hulking beast, weaving between a maelstrom of missiles. In the final moment, we see our player character prepare for what looks like a glory kill. Right before the moment of glory, the trailer ends. We'll need to wait to see what those animations will look like, but we can only assume they're worth the wait.

Impressions look promising

At E3 2019, lots of people got the chance to play an early build of Doom Eternal. Christopher Livingston, staff writer at PC Gamer, enjoyed his time. He praised the added mobility options, likening the game to "an ultra-violent Spider-Man." In his feature, he marveled at the Doom Slayer's fierce savagery, describing a moment where the character launches himself from a cannon through space. Generally speaking, Livingston enjoyed the sense of freedom over your own movement: "He has more ways to move with new abilities and traversal tools. And most importantly, Doom Eternal's level design is well-built around those systems, making it feel like the perfect chaotic playground to flex your new muscles in."

Meanwhile, Engadget bureau chief Mat Smith praised a specific mechanic introduced in Doom Eternal. Now, the Doom Slayer can set demons on fire, and when they die while on fire, they drop armor packs. This lets the player determine how they want to kill any given demon, considering melee kills drop health and chainsaw kills drop ammo. "Somehow, the creators have cunningly snuck a resource-management sim into the world's most iconic FPS series," he wrote.

A brief history of Doom

So where did Doom come from? Well, when id formed in Texas in the early '90s, it released two well-known titles: Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. While Wolfenstein was respectable in its own right, Doom changed the landscape of the gaming industry. In fact, the FPS genre as we know it today might not exist without it. Doom pioneered competitive first-person shooters, and it provided a magnificent single-player experience.

Furthermore, it established an ever-present modding scene, letting fans dip their toes into development. People created new levels and maps for Doom, essentially lengthening the lifespan of the game. Even John Romero, one of the original developers, continues making mods to this day.

Doom went on to have two direct sequels. Neither necessarily made the same impact that the original did, but by that point, the die had been cast. Other developers since then have iterated on what made Doom so revolutionary. It wasn't until 2016 that id would revisit its iconic first-person shooter and once again make an acclaimed game.

Doom 2016: The revival of the Doom Slayer

Doom warmed the bench for more than a decade after Doom 3 launched. id experimented with other games, like Rage in 2011. When Doom 2016 was on the horizon, Bethesda announced that it wouldn't give the press review codes before launch. This decision worried many, as people saw it as an attempt to mitigate bad reviews before release. Instead, people were pleasantly surprised with Doom, and the PC release went on to earn an 85 on Metacritic.

Despite releasing in a world wrought by Call of Duty and other modern-day shooters, Doom stayed true to its roots. It was ridiculous and over the top, and the gameplay was as metal as its soundtrack. Even though it had an in-depth story, the game perfectly depicts the Doom Slayer as an all-powerful warrior who doesn't care much for details. If there are demons, he's there to strike fear in their hearts right before ripping them to shreds.

It trimmed the fat that most shooters have. You don't even need to reload in most cases! Essentially, Doom is the ultimate power fantasy, and Doom 2016 is the sequel to that.

The story so far

Spoilers for Doom 2016 incoming! Unlike the last game in the franchise, Eternal is a direct sequel, continuing an ongoing narrative. Previously, the Doom Slayer found himself on Mars, recently revived. After bashing a few demon skulls in, he learns that a woman named Olivia Pierce is trying to permanently open a gate to hell. After literally going to hell and back multiple times, the Doom Slayer puts an end to Pierce and her plans, all while collecting a powerful artifact known as the Crucible. However, he learns that Samuel Hayden, the person helping him, intended to betray him the whole time.

Hayden takes the Crucible from the Doom Slayer, on the pretense that Earth still needs it to solve an energy crisis. After stabbing the Doom Slayer in the back, Hayden transports him to an unknown place, claiming they'll meet again. Doom Eternal likely picks up around here, and Hayden plays a major part in the game. We can hear his voice in the story trailer, which dropped during E3 2019. Hayden claims that the Doom Slayer doesn't know what he's messing with, and if he continues, he could bring down the wrath of heaven.

Guns, demons, and razing hell

Doom Eternal is a fast-paced, first-person twitch shooter, and it's all about moving forward and improvising on the battlefield. You'll face an army of various demons, all of which can kill you with smashes or fireballs. Luckily, you're a walking armory, armed to the teeth with shotguns, rifles, and even a chainsaw.

This time around, the Doom Slayer has a few new toys in his arsenal. Now he has a blade attached to his arm, which leads to even more gory glory kills. Additionally, old weapons have some new tricks up their sleeves, like the combat shotgun's two new mods. Instead of an explosive grenade, it now fires an explosive gel that sticks to enemies before detonating. On the flip side, you can attach an automatic fire mod to the shotgun, turning it into a close-range force to be reckoned with.

Eternal also comes with a new "destructible demon" system. This means that you can actually knock off certain body parts by targeting them. Creative director Hugo Martin explains that it's not just cosmetic; you can destroy a demon's weapons or shred their armor, making them easier to kill.

Doom be nimble, Doom be quick

The developers at id took things one step further in this sequel. To match all the new options you have in combat, Doom Eternal offers you a plethora of movement options. Arguably, movement is just as important — if not more so — than combat. Now, the Doom Slayer has a short-range, high-speed dash in any direction, making him more nimble. He doesn't need the ground to do it either, as we see him dash in mid-air as well.

While traversing levels in Doom Eternal, he can climb certain walls, adding a new sense of verticality to these maps. Furthermore, we've seen him swing on poles to clear chasms. And in perhaps the most exciting fusion between combat and movement, his super shotgun has a grappling hook attached to it. This instrument is fairly harmless on its own, but when it grabs onto his next victim, he pulls himself in. The last place you want to be is right next to the business end of a weapon called the super shotgun.

Doom Eternal's multiplayer: Battlemode

Doom 2016 launched with some pretty classic multiplayer first-person shooter options, like team deathmatch. For Doom Eternal, the developers wanted to switch things up a bit. Introduced at QuakeCon 2018, Battlemode will be the main multiplayer component. In this mode, two players will fight against one, and you might think that sounds unfair. We agree; it's pretty unfair for the duo.

See, the team of one features a decked-out Doom Slayer, the ultimate one-man army. The players on the team of two can choose to play as a multitude of demons, like the Mancubus or the Revenant. This game mode simulates some of the best moments from the single-player campaign, letting players see both sides of the coin.

Stratton recognized that Doom 2016 did something fairly traditional when it comes to multiplayer. Battlemode was created to do something new, putting a spin on things. This asymmetrical approach to multiplayer puts you in the shoes of the enemy, almost letting you empathize with the poor demons that get slaughtered in the campaign.

The new multiplayer type: Invasion

It also seems like Doom Eternal is taking a page out of the book of Dark Souls. In addition to Battlemode, the game has another form of asymmetrical multiplayer. During your time in the single-player campaign, you can opt in to allow other people to invade your game. When they do, they take control of one of the demons on the map, theoretically amping the difficulty for you.

Furthermore, other players can join forces against you, taking control of multiple demons in your game. This mechanic adds a multiplayer flair to single player, but for those who prefer to go it completely alone, you can turn off invasions. It's up to you to opt in. You can choose to play as an invader, be open to invasion, or to avoid it all entirely. It's like a surprise injection of Battlemode into your campaign, keeping the game fresh, interesting, and engaging.

The brutal soundtrack

A vital part of the Doom reboot's identity is its award-winning soundtrack, composed by Mick Gordon. The metal made the perfect backdrop to all the carnage and destruction. After all, what else would you want accompanying you as you march into hell to rip and tear into demons? Gordon made a name for himself as a composer in the games industry after his work on two other reboots of games from the '90s: Killer Instinct and Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Of course, Doom Eternal wouldn't be the same without his crunchy riffs pumping adrenaline through your veins. He's returning, and in January, he announced an ambitious project that required a choir of heavy metal singers. While not explicitly saying this would be for Doom Eternal, everyone knew it'd be for Doom Eternal. We got a taste of the music ahead of release, and you can hear a bit of the choir toward the end of the video. We can only imagine the rest of the soundtrack will be just as aggressively awesome.

The old Dooms come back to play on modern consoles

As part of the marketing cycle for Doom Eternal, Bethesda published the original trilogy on modern consoles during QuakeCon 2019. Now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, players can purchase and play Doom, Doom 2, and Doom 3.

It's worth noting that on launch, players were required to create or log into their Bethesda accounts to play these games. Since then, the publisher released a statement detailing that the feature should be optional. Instead, it's meant to be more of a reward system, allowing players to earn items in Doom Eternal for playing the original titles.

Additionally, this launch slightly broke people's digital copies of Doom and Doom 2 for the Xbox 360. These copies were backwards compatible with the Xbox One, but after the re-release launched, they were nowhere to be found on the digital storefront. This meant that if players wanted to re-download those games they've presumably purchased before, they'd need to purchase them again. That wasn't Bethesda's intention. The publisher released another statement for that debacle, claiming that they are working to fix the marketplace error. 

Double the campaign time of Doom 2016

Fans of the Doom franchise will be thrilled to know just how much gaming time they're in for. While you'd hope Doom Eternal would be at least as long as its predecessors, id Software and Panic Button Games have done one better and actually doubled the campaign time of Doom 2016. Anyone wondering if the new game will be worth the investment can now happily say "shut up and take my money!" in light of this substantial boost.

This promise of "double the play time" only refers to Doom Eternal's campaign mode. This means there's even more fun to be had in the new multiplayer mode which will pit you against friends and strangers alike. The multiplayer mode offers endless hours of gameplay and constantly varying experiences. Needless to say, you will get precisely as much Doom for your money as you want.

Join the Slayer's Club for an exclusive skin

Gamers expect to either pay extra for exclusive skins or receive them as pre-order bonuses. In a surprise twist, the Doom Eternal team is offering an exclusive skin to players absolutely free. Sort of. You won't have to shell out any money to obtain the 25th anniversary skin, but you will have to dedicate a significant amount of time to the endeavor.

The 25th Anniversary Slayer skin resurrects a look for Doomguy that hearkens back to the early days of the game. The grey color pallet is reminiscent of when Doom debuted over two decades ago. To unlock the 25th Anniversary skin, you'll need to join the Slayer's Club. This real-life fan club for the Doom games requires its members to reach the rank of "Doom Slayer," the highest tier, to get the exclusive reward. To reach this milestone, you must participate in polls, read articles, take part in forum discussions, post comments, and submit fan art. Basically, you need to participate in the Doom fandom in a big way. For the chance to receive an exclusive skin without spending any money, it just might be worth it.

Feeling nostalgic? There's a centered weapons option

Remakes, remasters, and sequels help expose classic games to new generations, but what about nostalgic players who miss the good old days? Well, those players are in luck. Doom Eternal will feature an option to center your weapon in the middle of the screen, just like you remember from the earlier games. This option comes as good news to those who want the classic Doom experience but with the updated graphics and capabilities of modern technology.

While there's something to be said for nostalgia, players have come to expect a lot from modern titles. Though centered weapons may seem like a good callback to the "golden days of gaming," it may not be quite as convenient as you remember. It's like trying to use a PlayStation 1 controller now that you're used to the DualShock 4. So, even though many fans are glad id has decided to include the option for centered weapons, you can also rest easy knowing that it's not a forced default.