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DOOM’s Credits: A Cut Above the Rest

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  • The final boss is dead. The world is saved, your mission is complete, and now it’s time to sit back and watch the credits roll.

    …Nah. Skip.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of skipping the credits far too often. It’s not that I don’t respect the incredibly talented individuals involved in making the games I play; it’s just that staring at a scrolling list of names for upwards of 10 minutes is a hard sell. The sheer number of names means I never remember any of them, and seeing as I’ve already bought the game and (hopefully) enjoyed it, I’m not hurting anyone by skipping, right?

    Even if it that’s true, I still feel bad about doing it. That’s why, when I wrapped up the brilliant DOOM recently, I was thrilled that the game gave me plenty of reason to not just sit through the credits, but to pay attention to the names of the wizards at id as they flashed up on screen.

    DOOM achieves this by presenting its credits inside levels from the game. The camera sweeps across the scorched plains of Hell where the names of level designers lie like bones, and pans past specimen tubes of dead demons while calling out the artists responsible for them. It’s top-notch cinematography, and it kept my eyes glued to the screen.

    Even better, each set of names tends to match the scene it’s in. Weapons designers are credited during a shot of DOOM’s high-tech arsenal. AI programmers feature in a scene showcasing the tactical variety of enemy attack patterns. Visual effects artists receive their due in a swoop down a gloomy, smoky, spark-riddled corridor.

    It’s worth noting how smartly these scenes are shot, too. While the camera is always moving to generate a sense of constant momentum, the scenes themselves are either static or slowed to a crawl. This creates an illusion of motion that draws the eye in, but because it is only an illusion, it doesn’t distract you from reading the names. The human capacity for attention is far less than many of us might wish, and DOOM’s credits were built with that in mind.

    I would love to see more games show as much creativity with their credits as DOOM does. It’s extra work, of course, but if it can help me acknowledge people like Chad Mossholder and Ben Carney as the audio masters behind DOOM’s killer soundscape, it’s totally worth it.

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