It’s been twenty years since Doom put players knee-deep in the dead on Mars. Imps, zombie sergeants, Pinky Demons, and the BFG9000 exploded onto gamers’ computers and forever changed the landscape of videogames. Do you remember the first time you stepped into Doomguy’s boots? What about the first time you dragged your PC over to a buddy’s house to play some multiplayer? John Carmack, former guru of id Software, spoke to Wired about Doom’s anniversary. The one tidbit that stands out is this thought from Carmack regarding id’s infamous “when it’s done” motto.
The worst aspect of the continuing pace of game development that we fell into was the longer and longer times between releases. If I could go back in time and change one thing along the trajectory of id Software, it would be, do more things more often. And that was id’s mantra for so long: “It’ll be done when it’s done.” And I recant from that. I no longer think that is the appropriate way to build games. I mean, time matters, and as years go by – if it’s done when it’s done and you’re talking a month or two, fine. But if it’s a year or two, you need to be making a different game.
Trying to imagine an id Software that didn’t work on an extended development cycle all throughout the 90’s up until their buyout by ZeniMax is almost impossible. Waiting for Doom 3 was as much an experience as playing the game.