This time, there were no full-page ads. No premature boasts. Just a passing mention, on a podcast, that John Romero had begun work on a shooter.
“I haven’t made a shooter since 2000,” said Romero. “So I’m basically starting to work on another one.”
Romero suggested that development was at a very early stage, with no team to speak of.
“I’m working with a concept artist, and so I’ve got some cool imagery for the main character,” he said.
And it sounds like the shooter might not necessarily be Romero’s top priority, but rather one of many potential prototypes. The designer told the Joystiq podcast that he was “working on several games at once right now”.
Nowadays, Romero is an advocate for free-to-play. His last shooter was Daikatana – better known as a costly folly built at the top of a Dallas skyscraper than as the middling series of escort missions it turned out to be.
Romero’s greatest success of the time was simultaneously helping to found the other Ion Storm, in Austin, where Deus Ex would be made.
But he had a hand in Doom 20 years ago, which is still something. On its anniversary, our Rob remembered Doom as the “classic nightmare of being pursued by something you could neither outrun nor destroy”.
“Because the Cyberdemon was so strong, I started to wonder if my rockets were having any effect at all,” said Rob. “Eventually, I got so frustrated I reloaded a save from a couple levels earlier and hoarded all my plasma rifle ammo. Then, when I encountered the Cyberdemon, I simply plasma-fried the ever-living hell out of him.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed watching an enemy fall as much as when the Cyberdemon exploded in a puff of blood and gore.”
Do any of you lot have similar memories of Romero’s best work?