Doom 3: Phobos started as a project too many years ago.
It was back when Doom 3 was fresh and Half-Life 2 not yet released.
We wanted to create a large, but not too large, expansion pack to Doom 3 that took place on Mars, Phobos and in hell. The project was riddled with problems, both technical, motivational and of a team nature. The project initially grew in size, scope and ambition, but nothing substantial, robust or profound really got done. We had lots of segments for levels. Some rather impressive, many rather excessive. 5 years later we decided to become more focused on the actual levels and stop working on Episodes 2 and 3. This helped, but we still weren’t going all the way and had a tendency to push any problems to the next week, month or even phase of development. Over the following years we refined this process and it did a world of good for the levels, but unfortunately it did a world of hurt for our team and its chemistry.
We began to demand that any work that was done was targeted at releasable content and the levels had to be in working order and tangible. Not figments of anyone’s imagination or random doodles of architecture. This is when working on Doom 3: Phobos went from being a fun hobby project to something that resembled work a lot more. Actual work. That’s when the team started to break apart and most of the team halted any kind of productive work. This trend continued and we went from a team counting 10-20 members to just 3. It has stayed like this ever since. This initially made things a lot more difficult for us, but over time we have grown and matured to be much more efficient and productive than we ever were.
This marked something special. Most mods or hobbyist game projects never get past this phase of development; When it goes from fun doodling to actual work that demands time, investment and sacrifice. Sacrifice of time with families and sacrifice of lofty ideas and ideals. This is when you find out what is actually important to your game and what is just a product of a young inclusive mind.
With all these experiences and lessons in our figurative backpacks we have matured the project ever since and today we can look back at this long process. It’s not just a hobbyist game project to us, it’s a large part of our lives and for a couple of us at least it’s been going on for the entirety of our adult lives. We were teenagers when we started and we are in our thirties today. Back then, what mattered most to us was classic Doom, action and cutting edge visuals. So many things have changed since then and our personal taste is definitely one of them. Today we care much more about the more artistic and narrative part of game development. We could have released a really nice expansion consisting of a barebones story that is basically a retread of Doom. That would have been awesome for our teenage selves, but the people we are today would in no way be satisfied.
So instead we set out on creating a personal story that we felt would lift the whole experience to a different level and create more of a bridge between the player and the player character. We know this is based on Doom, balls to the wall action. No compromises and full speed ahead - but this isn't Doom. This is Doom 3: Phobos and we wanted to create something different. “Beautiful” and “touching” aren’t words that are usually used when referring to anything Doom, but when a tester used those exact words about a scene in the game that was a personal milestone and a sign that we were doing something right. We were accomplishing what we set out to do.
Marrying fast action and slow narration isn’t an easy task, but we believe we’ve succeeded at it. It’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea and if you’re either looking for a strict horror sequel to Doom 3, a ‘rival’ to Doom 2016 or a new reimagining of Doom 1 & 2 you will be disappointed. Doom 3: Phobos has fast action, puzzles and an involving storyline that is less about the hell and demons of the game and more about the personal hell and demons of the characters.
If you are going to play Doom 3: Phobos, please keep this in mind when playing and play with an open mind. We want to show you what Doom can also be.
We have gone back to being episodic, but these new episodes are what was originally the Mars episode. The old Phobos and Hell episodes are stuck on the cutting room floor.
Episode 1 comes out this year and it will be sooner rather than later. It is comprised of a prologue and the first part of the game. The introduction to the story takes up a big part of the episode, but more action is following in the upcoming episodes.
Keep watching this space for upcoming news and the impending release. We can’t at this time say exactly when Episode 2 and subsequent episodes get released, but we can assure you that they are all very far along and don’t need years of work to complete.
Please help us spread the word in the meantime.