John Romero and Adrian Carmack — best known for their work on the revolutionary 1993 first-person shooting game Doom — today revealed a new FPS project, called Blackroom.
The onetime co-founders of id Software have teamed up to create a game that is set in a holographic world gone wrong. In a release from the game's development house Night Work Games, Blackroom was described as offering a ten-hour single player campaign as well as six multiplayer maps.
Blackroom, due for release on Mac and PC in 2018, will offer co-op, one-on-one deathmatch and free-for-all arena modes. The game will be fully moddable, with player-made maps expected. Night Work Games today launched a Kickstarter for Blackroom seeking $700,000. Romero said he will be seeking investors if the Kickstarter hits its target.
Romero confirmed to Polygon that the game will not be free-to-play, adding that, while no console deals are currently being sought, "I expect Blackroom will end up on consoles at some point".
"It's a skillful shooter, from movement to weapon and map mastery."
Romero and Carmack were instrumental in the launch of Doom and its development studio id Software. Romero quit the company in 1996 to work on the Ion Storm's Daikatana. He revisited the original Doom earlier this year, releasing a new level for the game in January. Carmack quit id in 2005, and now lives in Ireland, where Night Work Games, named in the release as a subsidiary of Romero Games, is also based.
Last week, Romero and Carmack released a teaser video reminiscent of the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Instead of handing Romero a lightsaber, however, Carmack extends an arm holding a keyboard and mouse.
Blackroom's story centers on a character called Santiago Sonora, an engineer at a leading holographic simulation company. The simulations start to turn nasty, and so Santiago investigates. This allows the game to feature a variety of settings, including "hardcore military sims, hellish infernos and interstellar space" as well as "ruined Victorian mansions, wild west ghost towns and swashbuckling pirate galleons," according to the release.
"Blackroom technology lets its users enter just about any universe imaginable."
The game is clearly taking its cue from the heyday of first person shooters. "Use fast, skillful movement to dodge enemy attacks, circle-strafe your foes, and rule the air as you rocket jump," states the release.
Romero will serve as game lead, with Carmack as art director, reprising their roles in the early days of id Software. In the credits for Doom, Romero is listed as a designer, while Carmack was one of two artists.
"It is incredible to work with Adrian again," said Romero. "We're developing exactly the type of game we think a lot of shooter fans want. It's the type of shooter we're known for, and the type of game we love to play ourselves. It's a skillful shooter, from movement to weapon and map mastery."
"Because of the Blackroom's setting, we have a lot of freedom to create environments that players might not expect in an FPS," said Carmack. "Blackroom technology lets its users enter just about any universe imaginable, and gives them the power to alter the world. That gives me lots of artistic freedom."
Romero told Polygon that the game will be built in Unreal Engine 4. "It will have a unique look because the game takes place in a life-like hologram. While we are going for fast, classic, skill-based gameplay, the distinct setting is a very unique fiction that likewise allows for very unique things to happen," he said.
He talked about special weapons and built-in sharing opportunities. "Some new elements would be the 'Boxel' device that you use to affect the simulation you're in. Think of it as a very capable weapon like the Gravity Gun, that also allows you to affect your environment over the course of play. Beyond that, there's Challenges mode that builds speed-running leaderboards right into the game."
When asked if he was concerned by the number of shooters being released, Romero said, "Not at all. I think it's great. I'm really looking forward to Lawbreakers, Battleborn and Overwatch. As a genre, shooters have been going strong since the beginning. The gameplay of Blackroom is also different than the majority of shooters out there today, so we are confident it will find its own place."