Today DOOM 3 VR Edition launches on PSVR for $20. We sat down for a chat with Ken Thain, Executive Producer from Archiact to talk about what it was like working with id Software to bring this iconic FPS into VR officially.
If you missed our DOOM 3 VR Edition review, that’s live to check out and we’ve got additional coverage as well, such as this graphics comparison with the Quest 2 modded version.
Here are the major excerpts from the interview:
DOOM 3 VR Edition Interview
David Jagneaux, Senior Editor at UploadVR: Okay so, just checking here: the official title is DOOM 3 VR Edition, is that right?
Ken Thain, Executive Producer at Archiact: It’s a VR edition because we were very particular. It’s not a port. It’s not we threw stereoscopic view on a DOOM game…When we were working with it, they [id Software] were actually quite passionate about the idea that it’s not just a port, let’s make this an adaptation, let’s make this a remaster for VR because we both recognized that Doom 3 is a fantastic game for VR just based on the fact that out of the DOOM franchise, it’s a bit more of a slower first-person shooter.
We as well recognize the possibility within VR and so we consider it an adaptation or remastering because we redid so much. We redid the weapons, we redid the audio, and we can talk about it later, but the VFX: the audio, uprezzing the graphics, uprezzing the weapons, a new diegetic UI. We did so much to it to make sure that it felt like it was for VR from the ground up and I have to say it came out really, really well.
When we first got [the weapon 3D models] it was like, yeah, there’s whole chunks missing because they never had to show them on-screen so you can reveal the weapons and re-texture them up and stuff and then all the additions of the laser target, the flashlights, redoing the sound, redoing the VFX. It really is a remastering and I think once everybody’s able to jump in and play it, they’ll really feel it.
UploadVR: I remember when the game first came out there were lots of complaints about how the flashlight worked. How does it work exactly here? Were the weapons totally remade?
Thain: Yeah, it’s just depending on the weapons. We modified the weapons for those that either we had to put a flashlight on it, or we just keep it on your shoulder or it’s on your head where your aim and for VR is particularly good because with Doom 3 being so intense, like you literally playing where a door opens, it’s dark inside, you peek your head in, look around, put your gun in with the flashlight, check out all the dark corners, it feels totally different…The fact that your flashlight is still on a battery, it can run out, you can turn it off and on and you can look in one direction and have a flashlight going in another direction. So I think people will be really happy with that addition.
UploadVR: Can you talk a little bit about getting the lighting and all that, adapting it for VR, just right? How important is that sort of creepy atmosphere in a VR game like DOOM 3? As you said, it’s a slower-paced game, more horror-style than the others—I imagine it really helps amplify things tremendously.
Thain: First off, it was an advantage in the sense that games built back in 2004 were a lot less complicated rendering wise than they are now. So we’re able to bring the engine forward to update it, but like our team had a lot of Doom 3 fans, particularly, and there’s a group of us actually that were motors in an era of this.
Luckily enough, we uprezzed the environments, we uprezzed the weapons, we uprezzed all the UI and stuff. These additions feel really good. They feel really modern. You play the game, it’s super solid frame rates, 60 frames across. It feels really smooth. Everything’s really clear. It has this modern feel to it but yet this nostalgia of the style of graphics and the style of creatures and stuff from the original Doom. From there, it feels really good and then there was a few things we had to work on, like the original Doom 3 had a lot of strobing lights and that’s not good for VR because you are right in there.
We had to go through and do some modification, either tone down the strobing of some lights or leave them on full time. There was some atmosphere that we had to work around with that, but overall, based on all the additions that we did to it, the game itself stands out really well. I mean it’s id Software, they invented the first person shooter.
UploadVR: Have you looked into the Quest version of DOOM 3 at all? Is that something you’re aware of?
Thain: We’re aware of the Dr. Beef Quest 2 version. There’s also a lot of VR mods for DOOM 3 on the PC as well and we’re aware of these and it’s good. Overall, it’s good. We’re all contributing to VR. We’re all creating good content for VR players. There was never a moment we’d looked at it as competitive or anything like that. As far as Archiact is concerned, we support those mods and I’m sure Bethesda does as well as far as making sure that as many people get to play DOOM as possible.
UploadVR: What are your thoughts on DOOM VFR?
Thain: I don’t have any thoughts on Doom VFR.
UploadVR: I didn’t know if that was one you had played or not.
Thain: Well, definitely looked at it. We looked at actually a lot of shooters in the VR space just to see what was working, what doesn’t. Even our experiences ourselves with Evasion, we knew what worked and what doesn’t and the good thing is with id Software, they were very supportive of when we came up with the features and we prototyped them and we had them try it out. We had some collaboration back and forth of exactly the placement of flashlights or even the art. Like, with the double barrel shotgun we have the flashlight taped on because it feels a bit more visceral. Yet the modern machine gun, which is very sci-fi looking, we built the flashlight into it.
Let us know what you think of DOOM 3 VR Edition down in the comments below!