Time and again in interviews with game designers, we hear about how much work goes into getting players to look in the right direction. With first-person shooters in particular, making sure players know to look up and down can be quite the challenge (perhaps that's due to the lingering influence of classic shooters like Doom, which didn't even have vertical look). Doom Eternal, though, aims to pit players against demons that are designed to break specific FPS habits.
In a new video for Noclip on the design of Doom Eternal's new and returning enemies, co-director Hugo Martin breaks down how certain demons exploit players' tendency to keep their crosshairs parallel to the ground. The flying Pain Elemental, for instance, is "a real bullet sponge" for the sake of drawing players' attention upwards. "It's not so much that individually they're hard to kill," explains Martin, "but it's that they create openings for the lesser AI [...] once a Pain Elemental's pursuing you, and you're having to look up and shoot him, now that Soldier's not such a chump anymore."
Likewise, the brand-new Whiplash demon—"a real pain in the ass," in Martin's own words—forces the player to look down more often. The Whiplash moves by dropping down to the ground and slithering from point to point, breaking line-of-sight for players who just keep their crosshairs smack-dab in the middle of the screen.
Another new addition, the Carcass, is supposed to force players out of bad behavior id observed in 2016's Doom. After noticing that some players wouldn't routinely switch weapons and mostly relied on the rocket launcher, Martin and the team created the Carcass and tuned Eternal's rocket launcher to fire slower and do more splash damage to the player. It's a deadly combo for careless players, Martin says: "[The Carcass] will throw up this electric shield right in front of your face, and a lot of times for people who're relying on the rocket launcher a little too much, it'll blow the rocket up right in front of their face and kill the player."
Doom Eternal and its motley crew of demons are coming to the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on March 20. It's also slated for release on Stadia, and a Switch version is coming "a bit later". For more on how id is trying to shake up the design and balance from 2016's installment, check out our recent hands-on preview and our interview with Martin where he explains how Mario Kart has influenced Doom Eternal's difficulty settings.