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On the 25th anniversary of the launch of the original Doom, John Romero has revealed Sigil, a free “megawad” (a big mod) for the first game from 1993.
Those who own the original can play the new megawad, which has nine single-player levels and nine deathmatch levels from Romero, who was co-creator of the original title at id Software. His new company is Romero Games.
The free megawad will be released in mid-February. Sigil is the spiritual successor to the fourth episode of Doom, and it picks up where the original left off.
But the title is not part of the current Doom franchise, which belongs to id Software, now a division of ZeniMax Media. Sigil is a “mod,” or fan-created level collection. A megawad is a wad made up of other wads, and a wad is a default file format for Doom and Doom II. (It stands for “where’s all the data”).
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In a FAQ for fans, Romero wrote about why he made the mod. “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. Many messaged me to ask if I’d consider making a fifth episode for the 25th anniversary. So, back in 2016, that’s what I decided to do.”
He added, “Like all other mods, it will be free. However, I also wanted to do something special, so we decided to also create an incredible package that fans would love and include an amazing soundtrack by Buckethead. Everything that’s included in the fan boxes is really cool to show off, and Christopher Lovell’s art is fitting for such a hellish game. The Beast Box has to be the most evil game box I’ve seen.”
The story takes place after episode four of Doom and before Doom II.
“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,” Romero wrote. “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 savior. In summary, rip and tear.”
To build the levels, Romero used the Doom Builder 2 by Pascal vd Heiden (with support from several other authors). Doom Builder runs on Windows 10. Romero worked on Sigil on evenings and weekends and vacations during 2017 and 2018.
“I wanted to have a surprise for Doom’s 25th anniversary,” he wrote. “I learned a lot from E1M8B and E1M4B, so I think I did a better job this time. The boss level is terrifying. For me, making this whole episode was a labor of love and a reminder of all the amazing times that we had at id working on the original. I was fortunate to be a part of such a great team and a foundational game.”
Romero said he is working on something else, but “it will be done when it’s done. :)” Romero said he is looking forward to id’s next game, Doom Eternal, but he said he does not have anything to do with that work.
In addition to the free megawad, Sigil will also have two limited edition fan boxes created by Limited Run Games. The fan boxes feature music by metal guitar legend Buckethead, including a custom song written expressly for Sigil, and cover art by Christopher Lovell whose detailed work has been featured on numerous metal albums.
(Note: The free megawad does not ship with Buckethead’s music or Christopher Lovell’s art).
The Beast Box of Sigil includes the following:
- A demonic over-sized box, inspired by the id Anthology box, individually numbered and signed personally by John Romero and featuring the artwork of Christopher Lovell.
- A 16GB 3.5-inch floppy disk-themed USB that includes the free megawad data and extras.
- A 2-disc booklet styled case that includes the free megawad data and full soundtrack by Buckethead and behind-the-scenes information on the original game and the megawad’s development.
- A 8-inch x 10-inch art print signed by the illustrator, Christopher Lovell.
- A Sigil-themed coin.
- A pewter statue of John Romero’s head on a spike.
- An XL-sized Sigil T-shirt.
- 2 stickers: 1 Sigil and 1 Romero Games.
This item is limited to two per customer. Meanwhile, the Standard Edition of Sigil includes the following:
- A demonic standard-sized “big box” featuring the artwork of Christopher Lovell.
- A 16GB 3.5-inch floppy disk themed USB that includes the free megawad data and extras.
- A 2-disc jewel case that includes the free megawad data and soundtrack by Buckethead.
- 2 stickers: 1 Sigil and 1 Romero Games.
Preorders for Sigil’s fan boxes are open only from December 10 to December 24. Both the fan boxes and the free megawad will ship mid-February. There will be a limited amount of boxes produced.
Orders at Limited Run Games begin today. Sigil is a mod for the original Doom and is distributed as such. Sigil is not affiliated with ZeniMax Media or id Software.
In closing, Romero wrote, “I don’t think any of us knew that Doom would have the impact that it has had. That people were asking me to make a full episode more than 23 years later? Genuinely, it’s an incredible honor. Aside from the impact it had on what would become the FPS genre, I believe the most important legacy of Doom is its community, the people who have kept it alive for 25 years through the creation of mods and tools. It’s not at all lost on me that I have gone from a creator to a part of the community in that space of time, and I love that.
He added, “My whole life has been about games, and if I hadn’t been a part of Doom’s creation, I would have absolutely been a hardcore member of its community. Another thing that’s been wonderful for me is a story I’ve been hearing a lot lately when I meet fans at tech conferences — they talk about having grown up playing Doom with their moms or dads and saying what wonderful memories they have. It’s a sign of Doom’s age, for certain, but it’s also a sign of its longevity. There are also so many people who got into tech because of Doom.”
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