id to shorten dev cycles with less engines

We’re all for developers evolving and upgrading the tech and engines used in the games they make, but going as far as building one new engine for each game is taking it a bit too far. Yet this is what id Software has virtually been doing for over a decade. According to CEO Todd Hollenshead, that’s about to end.

“We need to get to shorter cycles,” said Hollenshead in an interview. “And I think part of that is that we can’t be doing a revolutionary technology with every game we develop,” which is why the company will be using the latest id Tech 5 to power Doom 4. “We have to go to a bit more of an iterative technology approach. I think it’s a completely doable thing, but I don’t think it just happens without putting some effort into it.”

Doom and Doom 2 used id Tech 1, Quake and Quake 2 used id Tech 2, Quake 3 Arena used id Tech 3, Doom 3 used id Tech 4 and Rage is using id Tech 5. Five engines over a timespan of 11 years. That’s more than other developers do in a lifetime, which is probably why they’ve had the means to work on more than one project at a time. With the backing of giant Bethesda, that period has now arrived for id.

“The capital required to put both those games [Rage, Doom 4] in production – the means and size to do them at a triple-A level – would have been a literal ‘bet the company’ sort of thing,” explained Hollenshead. Luckily for gamers, it never got to that point.