Doom — the original Doom, from 1993 —never had loot boxes. Now it does. This is why we can’t have nice things.
OK, it’s not actually as bad as it sounds. The “loot boxes” come from a new mod for ZDoom, a fan-made port that, among other things, allows you to play and alter the original Doom on modern computers.
The so-called “Doom Loot Box Mod” removes all weapons and power-ups from the map, replacing them with locked crates. You need a key to unlock each crate, and keys can be obtained either as a rare random drop from downed enemies or via in-game purchases.
I mean, not really. There’s a “Market” menu in the modded game that ostensibly lets you buy packages of keys and crates. But it doesn’t actually work. Thankfully.
What you’re left with is an extremely challenging version of Doom! As you can see in StronkiTube’s video below, keys drop as infrequently as promised and the crates they unlock are few and far between.
The mod amounts to a wry nod toward the ongoing conversation in the gaming world around post-release monetization. Game publishers are looking for new income sources now, a time when the cost of development has reached a point that the standard $60 price for most major releases carries too much risk.
The just-released Star Wars: Battlefront II has been making headlines for much of the past two weeks because of the way it locks online progression — which is to say, the guns and gadgets you unlock — behind random loot boxes that can be purchased using real money.
It’s a “pay-to-win” setup, essentially, and much of the backlash stems from the fact that loot boxes are an egregious presence in a high-profile blockbuster game.
The “Doom Loot Box Mod” doesn’t explicitly reference Battlefront II or any other game. But its clever execution — coupled with the fact that, yes, Doom is basically impossible to play when weapons and power-ups are locked behind loot boxes — makes it an incisive commentary on the gaming drama of the moment all the same.