How DOOM Eternal Handles Higher Difficulties Differs From DOOM 2016
DOOM Eternal’s game director Hugo Martin recently spoke about how the sequel’s difficulty modes aim to make enemy behavior more consistent than how they behaved in the 2016 DOOM reboot.
Martin told GameSpot in an interview that the way enemies behaved on higher difficulties in the previous DOOM game changed so dramatically that the gameplay experience could become somewhat frustrating due to players having to significantly adjust their playstyles since enemies became more accurate.
However, on DOOM Eternal’s higher difficulties, enemies will just attack players more frequently with their powerful heavy attacks on higher difficulties. Martin explained the behavior change with a boxing analogy: “On easy, they’re going to throw a lot of jabs and take turns like, ‘throw your jab, then I’ll throw mine. Now one of us gets to throw a haymaker. On Nightmare, everybody’s throwing haymakers nonstop.”
Going by Martin’s comments, it seems that his team’s goal is trying to make the higher difficulties more fair and less frustrating by giving players more room for error.
“The question is not knowing what to do, it’s just mastering how to do it,” Martin explained. “As we scale down… the two guiding principles were the number of decisions we ask players to make per minute, and then the number of mistakes they’re allowed to make per minute.”
He also explained that the gameplay of the latest DOOM is designed in a way that will push players to engage with all the game’s systems. According to Martin, this design approach will “make all players, skilled and unskilled, play Doom the right way because we’re betting that it’s going to make for a more engaging experience.”
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