For Doom’s 30th anniversary, the Johns Romero and Carmack reunited to celebrate the FPS that changed everything: ‘I want to thank everybody in the Doom community for keeping this game alive’

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of Doom, id Software co-founders John Carmack and John Romero reunited to talk about the legendary FPS. The discussion was moderated by David Craddock (The FPS Documentary, Long Live Mortal Kombat), with interview questions from Craddock and the Twitch chat.

The conversation was understandably warm and celebratory, but I was also surprised at how critical the two were of their own work. Carmack alluded to “flashier” (and potentially technically riskier) graphical effects he wishes he had built into Doom’s engine, and he noted that he thinks the more grounded, military sci-fi aesthetic of Episode One has aged better than the abstract hellscapes later in the game.

Romero, meanwhile, contrasted Doom with the id games before and after, arguing it represented a technical “sweet spot” before Quake and full 3D acceleration started to seriously complicate development and limit how many enemies they could fit on screen. The developer praised Doom’s engine for allowing more complex maps than Wolfenstein though, ruefully remarking that “Making levels for Wolfenstein had to be the most boring level design job ever.”

The two also fondly reminisced about the technical limitations of the time. Carmack remarked that, although he thought id could “just sell [Doom] in a brown paper bag” off its quality alone, he was glad they went the extra mile with its iconic box art and marketing. Both devs expressed an appreciation for ’90s PC big box packaging and accompanying “feelies” like cloth maps, and I’m 100% with them on that.

As far as development stories, I was struck by Romero’s recollection of getting multiplayer working for the first time shortly before Doom’s release: “I went into my office—I was making E1M7 at the time—I’m looking out the window and I’m seeing two characters fighting, rockets are flying up at a high window and someone is plasma gunning the other guy.

And I’m like, this is going to be the coolest fucking game the planet has ever seen, I can’t wait to play that.”

“I’ve said before that I’m not a very sentimental person, that I don’t spend a lot of time reminiscing about the good old days,” Carmack confided as a means of farewell, “But they were really quite good. I’m very proud of the things that we built back then and that they have this legacy that’s lasted to this day.”

Romero echoed the sentiment, thanking Carmack for the years they spent working together, and also extending his appreciation to the players who keep coming back to Doom: “I want to thank everybody in the Doom community for keeping this game alive. And really, just thank you for playing our games everybody.”

You can check out the conversation in its entirety on John Romero’s Twitch channel, and it’s also a perfect time to dive into Sigil 2, the sequel to Romero’s 2019 Doom megawad and subject of PC Gamer’s latest print cover story. While you can pay for a full-on classico big box with all those feelies we love, both Sigil megawads are free to download.

If that’s not enough WAD action for you, the megawad Eviternity also just got a sequel campaign to celebrate Doom’s 30th birthday, and you can peruse the list of this year’s Cacowards for more quality creations.

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