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Doom guy stands in front of a grid featuring images that inspired the Doom Game Graphic: James Barewham/Polygon

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7 unlikely inspirations for Doom Eternal

Game director Hugo Martin put his obsessions on screen

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Patrick Gill (he/him) has been making serious and unserious videos for Polygon since 2016. He also co-hosts & produces Polygon’s weekly livestreams on Twitch.

Doom and Doom Eternal are ... really good. Id Software managed to steer the rebooted franchise into a real sweet spot, displaying a reverence for the source material without being held back by tradition. It’s self-aware enough to be funny, yet never undercuts its own absurd lore. Yes, Doom Eternal is a game where you spend 75% of your time violently dismantling demons, but id Software still put an incredible amount of effort into making sure it was the right kind of stupid.

As the game’s creative director, Hugo Martin is one of the people who had to figure that out that balance. And to do so, he revisited the pop culture that inspired him to make stuff in the first place. In our new video, I took the designer on a trip down memory lane, dropping objects of his pop culture past that directly inspired the games. Watch the full video here, and get a taste of Martin’s tastes from a few choice quotes below.

1. He-Man

“I think people have picked up on the fact that I am a huge He-Man fan by the fact that the Doom Slayer raises up a sword, not unlike “I have the power!” [...] We actually took a look at a lot of the illustration art used for the box art of the original He-Man toys.”

2. Robocop

Robocop gives a guy the middle finger spear Image: Arrow Video

“[Robocop] was a seminal moment for me in my development as a young person. I mean, it was an example of ‘smart dumb.’ It’s very self aware, and it is way smarter than you realize, especially when you were a kid. [Director] Paul Verhoeven, who was like a genius, he saw Robocop as a Christ-like figure and and the the story of Robocop is that he falls and then he rises again from the grave but, ultimately, is persecuted by his own people. That scene in the garage when he’s being shot down and his hands are in the air, that is like a Christ like figure being sacrificed by his people only to rise again [...] So Doom is loaded with that kind of symbolism. That’s how you make pop culture that resonates with people, that lasts.”

3. The Little Mermaid

“I know every single word to this movie. I know all the parts. I could sing them all. I was obsessed with Disney movies when I was a kid. [Ariel] is one of the greatest characters, like, ever. [...] I think when you look at the, the animation in Doom Eternal, and the glory kills, and the time spent — look, I’m not the only one at the office who’s obsessed with Disney.”

4. Pacific Rim

“I worked on this. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to design mechs, jaegers. A dream come true as as an artist. I was part of an amazing team, didn’t do by myself, but really being able to work with Guillermo del Toro and have that experience and be so close to the moviemaking experience was amazing [...] If you’ll notice, there are mechs all over the place in Doom Eternal. That was like not even a question. I mean, it’s going to be cliche, but as long as people follow anything that I’m involved in, if there is a way, I’m going to stick giant mechs in it. That’s a promise.”

5. The Last Boy Scout

“This was a huge influence on the way that we told the story for the original Doom, and still to this day. Extremely self aware. The attitude of great ’90s action films.”

6. Iron Maiden’s The Number of The Beast

“When I was a little kid, I thought that these covers were so freakin’ cool. My brother used to take these and draw them all the time, and I thought they were like the most awesome thing. The character of Eddie is so cool, and there is so much Doom Eternal in this cover. Look at everybody said ‘metal as fuck.’ Look how metal that is!”

7. Evil Dead 2

“When I was a kid, you’d go into the VHS store and you’d see these big huge posters on the wall, and you just randomly would go in there to see what new horror movie you were going to get, and that poster stood out in my mind so much. I remember being terrified of renting this because it just looks so scary to me. And then when I actually rented it ... I mean, it is scary, but it’s like a comedy. It’s amazing.”

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