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 Doom's  glory kill animations nearly cost the game its chainsaw

Doom's glory kill animations nearly cost the game its chainsaw

July 15, 2016 | By Bryant Francis

July 15, 2016 | By Bryant Francis
More: Console/PC, Design

“We do everything we can to not take player control away, throughout the game, whether for a cinematic or anything…but I wasn’t too concerned about that, because it’s kind of like the throw moves in fighting games, you know?”

-Doom art director Shinichiro Haraon why glory kills remove player agency for a short period of time.

Id Software’s latest entry in the Doom series has been widely praised for reviving the original’s fast-paced gameplay, but one of its biggest changes to the shooting flow was the new glory kill system; brief moments in gameplay where players dive in to deliver a finishing move in exchange for a health bonus. It’s a notable changeup for the run-and-gun series, which apparently demanded drastic work in production to nail the flow and feel.

In fact, in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Doom game director Marty Stratton says it nearly cost Doom its iconic chainsaw. As Stratton tells Rock Paper Shotgun, the number of complex animations needed for each glory kill made it even more difficult to incorporate animations of characters being torn in half.

“It’s one of those things, it takes away a lot of your flexibility as you want to make changes down the road,” Stratton says. “We did a kind of scary thing from a dev’s point of view: we had to be right, right from the start.”

Art director Shinichiro Hara also tells RPS that another big challenge was nailing the timing of the glory kills so they didn’t interrupt player flow. Though they were comfortable with a brief removal of agency, they eventually realized they had to nail the animations within a span of 30 to 60 frames. Too long, and the player felt removed from the action. Too short, and the player didn't know what happened. 

“It was a challenge,” says Hara. “How can we store the same amount of information and deliver it to the player?”

You can read the full Rock Paper Shotgun interview for more interesting animation hurdles that came with making the glory kill system.

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