Doom Movie FPS Effects: Gimmick or Revolution?

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You’ve probably heard of Doom sometime in your life, let alone played it many times over. With each iteration of the game (till Doom 3 which had you buying a new computer to play it), Doom has indirectly turned into a historical documentation of the technological advances in personal computing, as well as reflected the kind of expectations society sets for the gaming industry over the years.

With the introduction of the Doom: The Movie, I didn’t really hold my breath that it would be of any good since most comic book and video game screenplays aren’t usually as good as the original. Still, there was one slight difference with this new movie which was seen in the trailer… think FPS or First Player Shooter. Essentially, the Doom movie features scenes where the camera takes the perspective of the first person while wielding all kinds of weapons (including the infamous chainsaw!). It remains to be seen how effectively this will be played out, but while it works for games, it might not hold up that well on the big screen (risking motion-sickness puking from unwary audiences). While it’s easy to think of this as more of a gimmick than brilliant cinematography, it is perhaps a sign of things to come.

Ironically, in a reversal of media influence, the same effect was brought into a “sleeper hit” Xbox game title called Breakdown. In this unique Japanese game, everything is set in a realistic FPS fashion, and I mean everything! From the wielding of weapons, to donning of kelvar armor, to the consumption of rations to restore health, you would see your character’s hands realistically bringing up your item allowing you to inspect it, before opening it up to be used. If you decide to do a backflip, you’d see the world spin vertically around you as if you really did it in gym class. If someone punches you and you fall over, you’d see the floor rushing up at you. It’s that real and it make this game very distinctly different. Why not check out some gameplay video of Breakdown to see what I mean?

Ultimately, doesn’t that make you wonder how incredibly woven such intertextuality exists across multiple media? The big question is: Who’s really influencing who? If we can spot these patterns of influence, we could better predict future styles of gaming or movie productions which go well with different audiences.