Let’s Have A Conversation About How Awesome DOOM’s Credits Are
Major spoilers below. Please, please do play the game first if you are at all interested in it. I really enjoyed the credits, so it is worth experiencing for yourself.
A while back there was a bit of a brouhaha on social media and beyond about DOOM 2016’s terrible, terrible cover art. Seriously, look at this shit:
This cover fails spectacularly in many ways. For a start, the Doom Guy is played embarrassingly straight. He looks like nothing more than a generic shooteyman protagonist trying to look badass. It seems nothing more than a shallow attempt to appeal to the crowd who thinks Call of Duty covers look cool. There are attempts to incorporate the iconography of the Doom series here (he is in his famous suit and is holding his Super Shotgun, one of the series’s most-recognizable weapons) but none of the reverence the game has for these things actually translates into the cover art. Even worse, none of the camp or playfulness of the new DOOM makes it into this image. Nothing more is conveyed than a dude in a piece of armor holding a shotgun. If someone has never played a Doom game, this cover says nothing about what makes the series or even the this game unique.
With the bad cover art of the new game in mind, I was surprised upon finishing the game how damn great the art is in the credits. Why the hell wasn’t the cover modeled on something like this?
I love so much about these shots. First, the cheesy, dramatic font wonderfully encapsulates the camp of the game. It sends the message that you are playing a B-movie “exploitation” film with all the shock value that comes with the label. Second, the stilted character models are almost plastic as they stand in their dramatic poses. It feels like some kid has arranged his toys into some totally awesome fight scene. Despite the artificiality of these figures, they convey the kineticism and personality of the game much more than the cover ever does. The toy-like nature of these shots is in fact emphasized in another moment in the credits, where the Doom Guy is replaced by one of the many toys of himself he has found in the game:
DOOM is a great game, and the credits do justice to its inherent cheesiness and silliness than a picture of a sulking space marine ever could. I don’t know if Id and Bethesda should’ve changed the cover (unfortunately, as incredibly dull as DOOM’s cover is, I suspect it’s there because it sells). But I am sad the games market is in such a place where marketing felt compelled to put the most boring face possible on a great, but silly and campy game.