Former Id Software staffer John Romero has announced an interesting way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of first-person shooter Doom: the release, under his own company Romero Games, of a megawad expansion dubbed Sigil.
The release of Doom in 1993 was a watershed moment for the games industry. While there had been first-person shooters in the past - including Id Software's previous Wolfenstein 3D franchise - the game's ultra-violent and demonic setting, dynamic lighting, and floor-and-ceiling textures were new enough to ensure the game would be a best-seller. For years - through to the release of Id Software's true-3D follow-up Quake, in fact - first-person shooters became known as 'Doom clones', while the game's network functionality was single-handedly blamed for major drops in office and school productivity the world over.
Even 25 years on, Doom holds a special place in many gamer's hearts, including co-creator John Romero - and he's celebrating the occasion by releasing an add-on pack, dubbed Sigil, which brings nine single-player levels which continue the game's story, such as it was, along with nine multiplayer-oriented levels.
'People have been asking me to make an entire episode for many years now, and that picked up a lot after I released E1M8B and E1M4B in 2016,' Romero explains. 'Many messaged me to ask if I’d consider making a 5th episode for the 25th anniversary. So, back in 2016, that’s what I decided to do. After killing the Spiderdemon at the end of E4M8 (Unto the Cruel), your next stop is Earth — you must save it from hellspawn that is causing unimaginable carnage. But Baphomet glitched the final teleporter with his hidden sigil whose eldritch power brings you to even darker shores of Hell. You fight through this Stygian pocket of evil to confront the ultimate harbingers of Satan, then finally return to become Earth’s saviour. In summary, rip and tear!'
Although the mod itself - which is compatible with both the original Doom release and the horde of Doom-compatible engines which followed Id Software's release of the game's source code - will be free to download, Romero has confirmed that there will be two physical releases: A big-box release which includes a 16GB USB stick in the shape of a floppy disk containing the megawad pack and extras, a two-disc jewel case with the game and soundtrack, and two stickers; and a Beast Box, which adds an oversized box inspired by the Id Anthology collection and signed by Romero, an art print signed by illustrator Christopher Lovell, a coin, pewter statue of Romero's head on a spike inspired by the last level of Doom II, and a T-shirt.
Full details on the expansion pack, and its physical releases, can be found on the official website.