There are a few names in the video game industry from yesteryear that still carry weight today. You’ve got Nintendo‘s Shigeru Miyamoto, “Mortal Kombat” co-creator Ed Boon, and “DOOM” creator and co-founder of id Software, John Romero. While Boon and Miyamoto have remained prevalent in the public eye, Romero hasn’t. There are a number of reasons behind this. Perhaps the infamous Daikatana has something to do with it, but we’ll get to that later. Right now the important thing to know is that Romero is coming back. Returning to the genre that made him a superstar, the first person shooter.
His own studio, Romero Games, is hiring for a new FPS alongside a major unnamed publisher. They’re also using Unreal Engine 5, which officially launched in April. Considering this is the man who brought us “DOOM,” “Quake,” “Wolfenstein 3D,” “Commander Keen,” and more, this is promising.
But there is a pretty big caveat to all this. One that dates back to the last time Romero’s name was attached to a big project- 1997’s “Daikatana.”
The infamous poster for Daikatana announced “John Romero’s about to make you his bitch.” That wasn’t really the controversial part though. It was the audacity and ego behind such a statement was. Maybe if the game had actually been a success, the poster would be more famous than infamous. But “Daikatana” went down in history as one of the worst games of all time. The game ended up releasing 3 years after the initial announcement with a litany of problems from bad AI to dated graphics. And, not being fun to play.
Since then, Romero has still seen consistent work in gaming but on a much lower profile. Only over the last five years or so with the founding of Romeo Games has he seen a relatively high profile release again, one of them being a new expansion of the original “DOOM,” entitled “SIGIL.” Even though “DOOM” is now owned by Bethesda (and Romeo is not affiliated with them), the company was able to take “SIGIL” and apply it to the recent ports of “DOOM” to PC, Switch, Xbox One, and PS4. Romero’s other big project, “Empire of Sin,” received mixed reviews but at least showed a branching out into the genre of strategy RPGs.
So what are we to expect out of the next big FPS from Romero? Well, at the very least it seems like “Daikatana” was a humbling experience that brought Romero’s name back down to Earth. His work on “SIGIL” shows he still knows his way around how to design an FPS. But the original “DOOM” is a far cry from what the genre has evolved to today. At the very least, the technology of today could more easily carry out his ambitions more than they could back in 1997. So if Romero has big plans for this title, at least he should have the means to carry it out.
As of right now, considering the project was just announced, we have no other details to go on. Much to Romero’s credit, even after one of the highest profile failures in gaming, he never gave up. The man has sunk hours into projects that received little to no fanfare; that’s the kind of dedication that should be respected. Here’s hoping that whatever he’s cooking up lives up to expectations he has for it and the ones that we have for such a venerated figure in gaming.