The new story-driven trailer for DOOM Eternal made quite a splash when it dropped on Tuesday. And if you’re anything like us, some of the finer points of the story might be lost amidst memories of ripping jetpacks off of Revenants and that crazy lady who turns into a spider at the end.
So we thought it was about time to reawaken our knowledge of DOOM lore and dig into the details of the new footage.
Here’s What We Know…
In 1993, the original DOOM involved an ancient race of aliens living on Mars who discovered inter-dimensional travel, inadvertently opening a portal to a dimension we’ve come to call, simply, “Hell,” and ultimately going extinct as a result. When humans discovered and attempted to utilize their fabulous technologies while terraforming and colonizing Mars, guess what? They hit the button that said “do not press this button” in Martian and opened a new Hell-portal. As an unnamed Union Aerospace Corporation marine known colloquially as “Doomguy,” players tore through the demons invading Mars and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos, all the way into the Hell-dimension itself, only to discover that the Hellions had found a way to open a Hell-portal on Earth, and are launching a full-scale invasion.
DOOM II follows Doomguy as he aids in the evacuation of Earth, sees billions killed, closes a Hell-portal and is briefly the only human on the face of the planet. Then came DOOM 3, a narrative reboot/reimagining of the DOOM story that messed with the details a bit, but essentially also involves humans attempting to perfect teleportation and instead opening a portal to Hell that the Doomguy has to close. In that case, he killed yet another Cyberdemon and recovered an ancient Martian artifact called the Soul Cube to get the job done.
Which brings us to 2016’s DOOM, a “soft-reboot” which retconned at least one important point…in this storyline, Doomguy became so feared by the denizens of Hell they eventually set a trap and put him into deep sleep in a magic sarcophagus. It’s a little FernGully and a little Altered Beast and a little “bears are just as scared of you as you are of them.” This new story also recontextualized the Final Boss from Doom II, giving him a proper name — Baphomet, the Icon of Sin — and his own backstory.
Sympathy For The Devil
Specifically, at some point in the long history of the war between Hell and another realm called Argent D’nur, one of the Argentines, now called “The Betrayer,” struck a deal with the demons and sold out his dimension in exchange for the return of his kidnapped son. But since the Devil doesn’t deal fairly, his son was returned twisted and evil, as the Icon of Sin. To add insult to injury, they also absorbed Argent D’Nur into Hell and enslaved the native Wraiths, turning them into an infinite source of energy by trapping them in the Hell Well, which is apparently a spiritual car battery of some kind. By quashing the Hell-invasion on Mars in DOOM, our favorite unnamed marine proved his worth as one badass soldier, and The Betrayer used his last bit of magic to infuse his own soul into Doomguy’s, making him, officially, THE DOOM SLAYER. This also rendered him semi-immortal, setting up the events of the sequels and the Slayer’s carbonite nap in the bowels of Hell.
2016’s soft-reboot features yet more ill-informed scientists, Olivia Pierce and the android version of Dr. Samuel Hayden, trying to mess with inter-dimensional technology and strike deals with demons, both tactics that tend to blow up in your face eleven times out of ten. During human incursions into the Hell dimension to study their ability to siphon Argent Energy from the Wraiths, a team uncovers the sarcophagus, Hayden wakes the Doom Slayer, and a bunch of demons get ritually dismembered to a kickass metal soundtrack. The Doom Slayer puts a stop to the UAC’s plan to use Argent Energy as a power source in our dimension, and with the help of a mysterious ally called Seraphim attains even more killing power, kills another Cyberdemon, three Hellguards and a Spider Mastermind. He also recovers an artifact called the Helix Stone, and uses it and an AI’s accumulated power to reach the Hell Well and seal all portals between Hell and our dimension…for now.
To do so, he wrecks up the place with a magical sword known as The Crucible. Unfortunately Dr. Hayden, the one scientist who hadn’t turned explicitly evil yet, informs The Doom Slayer that his plans to siphon Argent Energy through Hell-portals ain’t over yet, snatching up the Crucible and teleporting The Doom Slayer to an undisclosed location. With all these pieces in place, what can we learn from the new trailer for DOOM Eternal
A Hell Of A Trailer
When we see Dr. Hayden in the new trailer, it’s clear things didn’t go well for him. We don’t know whether his consciousness still inhabits his cyborg frame, but it’s been ripped in half and hangs lifelessly from a collection of wires and tubes. Meanwhile the rest of Earth is suffering under the sorts of unimaginable terror and unending pain you’d expect from a demonic invasion. Earth’s moon is in pretty rough shape, and fiery demonic symbols now spread like a red-hot rash of evil on the surface. We also get a glimpse at the new home of Doom Slayer himself: an orbiting, castle-like hubworld first mentioned on a hot mic at Quakecon by executive producer Marty Stratton. What we don’t know is how this hub connects the parts and pieces of the game, or even how it connects to the story. Stratton mentioned it holds clues to Doom Slayer’s past, which you can uncover through exploring the hub if you need a break from slicing Hellspawn into thirds with the Argent Energy power of the Crucible.
We also get a look at Night Sentinels standing at attention as Doom Slayer walks by, but later see them threatening Doom Slayer with the very lances they’d earlier held in his honor. We know Doom Slayer is a feared, legendary warrior, a member of the military force tasked with protecting the Argent D’Nur, but we know very little about the previous scope of his exploits, since the DOOM story basically started over with DOOM 2016. Another interesting moment comes when we see a demon brandishing a battle axe imbued with Argent. The demon’s armor looks suspiciously similar to Doom Slayer’s own Praetor Suit, and the demon even has a belt filled with shotgun ammunition around its waist. Is being a Doom Slayer some corruptible role, or is Doom Slayer himself a corruption of some Hellish power?
DOOM Eternal comes out on March 20, so we should have answers to a lot of our questions soon enough. And if the game follows the template of the first, opportunities for unlocking its lore during game exploration should present themselves regularly. Basically, DOOM Eternal looks like it’s going to pack in as much story as possible, and how much of that story you want to engage with will be entirely up to you.
Michael Swaim is a Manager of Video Programming at IGN. You can find him on Twitter.
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