Here’s what could be next for everyone’s favorite Slayer.
After a long, agonizing wait, DOOM Eternal released last week to a crazy good reception. Critic reviews have been great and weekend launch revenue is twice that of its 2016 predecessor. Many have probably finished the campaign, defeating the final boss and wondering just what to make of everything that transpired. So let’s talk about the ending, what it means for a potential sequel and the future of the franchise in general. If you haven’t finished the campaign, then by all means – turn back now to avoid spoilers. You have been warned.
To the final boss then. It’s the Icon of Sin, a well-known franchise staple. The Doom Slayer goes one-on-one with the towering monstrosity and its endless waves of respawning demons. By the end, after destroying several pieces of its armor, the Slayer plunges the Crucible into the Icon’s head, breaking off the blade and killing it. King Novik, the supreme commander of the Night Sentinels whose spirit is encountered in the campaign, talks about the Slayer’s struggle against the forces of evil being “eternal”. Get it? Because DOOM “Eternal”!
I’ll be honest – I’m not the biggest fan of how the story was told throughout the campaign because so much of it is based off established lore that wasn’t weaved very well into the main missions. That being said, the lore is still very fascinating and DOOM Eternal does a great job expanding on DOOM (2016)‘s mythos.
To start with, we finally learn that the Slayer is the Doom Marine from Doom 1, 2 and Doom 64, who arrived at Sentinel Prime, home of the Argenta, proved his worth in gladiatorial combat and joined the Night Sentinels. He was given incredible power thanks to a Seraphim Maykr named Samur and became the Slayer. This was when the demons were running amok, by the way. The new Doom Slayer defeated their Titan and helped turn the tide in the war.
A brief note on the Maykrs – these are divine entities created by someone known as Father. Residing in Urdak, the Maykrs can be considered angels of a sort. When Father disappeared thanks to the actions of Samur – the same Maykr who transformed Doomguy into the Slayer – the Maykrs could no longer resurrect. They would simply die. Basically, their immortality was at a limit if not for the miracles of Argent Energy.
So while the Maykrs, the Argenta and the Night Sentinels would battle against the demons because, well, they’re demons, the Maykrs quickly realized that Argent Energy was the key to their survival. The Khan Maykr, who is essentially their ruler, found that it prolonged her life. The only problem is that Argent Energy is made from the souls of humans whose bodies are left to become demons.
So the Khan Maykr made a choice – abandon the war with the demons, strike a deal with the Dark Lord and guarantee Argent Energy to preserve her race. If Earth were to be invaded by demons and condemned to eternal suffering, their souls used as energy while their bodies were defiled into Hell’s minions? A small price to pay for the Khan.
Except the Night Sentinels – and the Doom Slayer – weren’t having any of it. Eventually, the group ventured into Hell to try and defeat the demons but were betrayed by their own. The Doom Slayer was the only survivor and was sealed until his revival in DOOM (2016) by Samuel Hayden.
About Samuel Hayden: Throughout the campaign of DOOM Eternal, Hayden shares a lot of knowledge about the Maykrs, the Night Sentinels, and the Icon of Sin. But how? If you look at his name, it’s oddly similar to Samur, the Seraphim Maykr. Even more interesting is that VEGA, the AI assistant from the first game and now in charge of the Fortress of Doom in the sequel, asks at one point whether he is Father. So the theory basically goes that Samur aka Samuel Hayden stole Father aka VEGA away from the Maykrs for his own purposes.
Let’s jump right back to the ending of DOOM Eternal. The Khan Maykr is dead. The Dark Lord is likely none too happy that the Maykrs couldn’t stop the Doom Slayer and any deal for Argent Energy is pretty much dead. It also doesn’t help that the main source of Argent Energy – Earth – has been denied thanks to the Slayer’s intervention. With the Night Sentinels gone, it’s on the Slayer to protect all life and halt the advance of the demons. If nothing else, a trip to Hell and a final confrontation with the Dark Lord seem to be on the cards.
It’s possible that Father aka VEGA could mount a comeback of sorts, empowering the Maykrs and perhaps bringing them back to their pure roots. Samuel Hayden could become the new Khan Maykr and change things on Urdak, maybe constitute a plan to push back against the demons and end their threat once and for all. Of course, the Slayer would likely be included in those plans. However, knowing Hayden, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had his own ulterior motives.
It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Valen aka The Betrayer factoring in somehow. After all, he’s still in Hell for turning on the Night Sentinels, even if it was to bring his son back (who would be turned into the Icon of Sin instead). Maybe Valen will be used by the demons in an attempt to stop the Slayer? If his son could be used to resurrect the Icon of Sin, who’s to say that Valen can’t be used to bring it back?
From a development perspective, it might be a while before a sequel to DOOM Eternal sees the light of day. Id Software has incorporated a number of live service elements into the current game, supporting it with Battle Pass-like content streams to unlock with weekly challenges. So there will be new character skins, weapon skins, emblems, etc to earn over a long period of time compared to the previous game. New Master Levels and Battle Mode updates are also in the works along with two story expansions. If the latter are successful enough, more such content might be added in the future.
This isn’t to say that DOOM Eternal has a ten-year plan for live-service content or anything. But if we consider that the current game took four years of development, it wouldn’t be too unreasonable to expect the same amount of time for the next game. Id Software could also very much pivot its vision, going several years into the future and phasing out characters like VEGA and Samuel Hayden in favor of some other story. It’d be weird if they did – for as disconnected as the ending of DOOM (2016) and the beginning of DOOM Eternal feel, the lore between both games ties up quite nicely.
We’ll have to wait and see in the meantime but given how successful DOOM Eternal has been, a sequel is pretty much a given. It’s just going to be many years of ripping and tearing before we finally get there.