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We finally know why Doom Eternal was delayed

Doom Eternal was originally supposed to come out in 2019, but was pushed back by several months to March 20, 2020. The official Doom Twitter account announced the delay with a statement from developer Id Software, which said it wanted to make sure Doom Eternal adhered to the studio's "standards of speed and polish." Recently, Bethesda's Pete Hines offered some more insight into the delay, saying that it was inspired by the negative response to Fallout 76.

The once-beloved company behind the Fallout franchise and the Elder Scrolls series was on thin ice with its fans after Fallout 76's disastrous launch. Putting out another sub-par game would have only made things worse. The bigwigs at Bethesda decided that missing the holiday season was worth it if Doom Eternal could avoid those issues, and that seems to have been a good decision. Hines now feels that the game was helped by the delay, stating in a podcast with USgamer, "Doom Eternal was so much better for it."

For those out of the loop, Bethesda's first steps into the online world with Fallout 76 hadn't been stumbling so much as falling off a cliff. Its initial release was plagued with such awful server issues that many people couldn't even play. Those who could found themselves in a glitchy, buggy, and mostly empty landscape. It had none of the NPCs that made the devastated world of Fallout feel alive. Enemies were lacking, basically split between monsters that charged straight in and monsters that hid behind rocks and occasionally threw things at players. Fallout 76 wasn't great.

Critics, on the other hand, really took to Doom EternalThe release received praise almost across the board for its blistering action and polished controls. The high speed run-and-gun action, sprinkled with close-quarters Glory Kills, flows smoothly even as you juggle five or six weapons to kill seemingly endless swarms of demons. And while server issues would have been a very strange problem for a mostly single player game to have, none of the other problems Fallout 76 faced marred the release of Doom Eternal, either.

IGN's Ryan McCaffrey said that Doom Eternal improved upon nearly everything its predecessor did, with specific praise for the addition of the midair dash to combat. He even seemed to like the multiplayer mode, while admitting that it doesn't let you really put your skills to the test like the main game does. PC Gamer's James Davenport says that the game left him feeling "anxious and exhausted." He quickly clarified that he meant it in a good way, as the action was just that intense.

Wired's Julie Muncy wasn't in love with the story of Doom Eternal, though. She wrote that it felt like a continuation of the story in 2016's Doom, but with several chapters left out in between, and added that players are just catapulted into the action with little explanation and a lot of unanswered questions. And she has a point — for starters, how did the Doom Slayer get that awesome space fortress?

Even so, if it was speed and polish that Id Software wanted, then it certainly looks like the developers used their extra time well. The story might be confusing and not everyone's cup of tea, but the gameplay is everything a Doom fan could have asked for.

While we'll probably never know what the pre-delay version of the game looked like, we do know what we ended up with. Doom Eternal was all of the gorgeously gory, ripping-and-tearing action of Doom turned up to 11. Unlike Fallout 76, the release wasn't plagued with bugs, glitches, or sudden 50 GB updates (or cheap nylon duffel bags).

Plus, pushing back the release gave us the Isabelle and Doom Slayer crossover we never knew we needed. In short, while the delay was disappointing — especially for people hoping for some Yuletide ripping and tearing — Doom Eternal was well worth the wait.