What happened to John Romero

Too much choice of weapons: What the "Doom" inventor criticizes in shooters

John Romero, the man behind the 1993 cult classic Doom - who is seen as the father of the first person shooter genre along with colleague John Carmack - isn't too happy with the way First Person is doing Shooters have evolved over the past few years. As he said in an interview with the British Guardian, it is too much about quantity instead of quality, especially when it comes to weapon design. "I'd rather have fewer choices that matter than a million things that you can't identify with," says the games veteran. "I'd rather invest more time in a single rifle and make sure the design is very in-depth - that the gamer can learn cool things about the weapon."

Soldiers instead of demons

When Romero, Carmack and Co shaped the genre with "Wolfenstein 3D", they still fought against abstract, malicious enemies in "Doom" and Co. Today this is being replaced by (more or less) authentic-looking military settings, where the aim is to kill other soldiers. Other game studios, however, rely on comic-like graphics - for example with "Fortnite" and "Overwatch".

From Romero's point of view, modern shooters are far too similar to fantasy role-playing games. They would shower users with new weapons, which means that shooters often require a lot of inventory management. A single weapon would also be considered worthless, since the selection is so large anyway. Compared to this, in 1993 "Doom" had just eight weapons.

Neither weapon should make the other useless

He told the Guardian: "It was very important at the time that a new weapon never made an older one useless. That was a critical design decision. When we add something new, nothing of the previous must be negated." For example, a pistol uses far less ammunition than a minigun and allows more precise shots from a distance.

There are also less and less "hidden rooms" in video games. The games veteran sees this primarily in the fact that games now have an enormously high budget, which means that resources are allocated more and more precisely. There is also the political component - the "Call of Duty" series is accused of revising history, for example, since "Modern Warfare" accuses Russia of controversial attacks on the USA. (red, November 19, 2019)