Doom (lost FMV scenes and original work of 3DO port of first-person shooter game; 1994-1995)
Doom is a first-person shooter game which was originally released by id Software in December 1993. Its popularity inspired a range of ports, including one intended for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. Published by Art Data Interactive, a troubled production led to the port's development being restricted to only ten weeks, resulting in a final product released in December 1995 that has been deemed one of the weakest Doom console ports. One of the port's main features, the inclusion of FMV scenes, was also scrapped prior to the game's release. Prior to Rebecca Ann Heineman's appointment, another production company reached the port's first development milestone, but its work has never publicly resurfaced.
Founded by Randy Scott in September 1993, Art Data Interactive began its video game market ventures by distributing the 3DO port of the 1994 fighting game Rise of the Robots. A few months later, the company supposedly worked on Nick Faldo's Championship Golf Challenge, an MS-DOS port of Nick Faldo's Championship Golf, though it is unclear whether it actually got produced. However, its first major venture came in late-1994 when it purchased the licencing rights to publish Doom and its sequel Doom 2 on the 3DO for $250,000. Arts Data believed the project could generate significant revenue for two reasons; firstly, a port for the Atari Jaguar proved successful, indicating a viable market for console versions of Doom. Secondly, a comparison of the 3DO and Jaguar indicated the former boasted better RAM and graphics capabilities. Thus, Scott promised his 3DO port would surpass even the original PC version, with plans to produce a new episode consisting of nine levels, as well as new weapons, enemies, and enhanced graphics. At the very least, Scott believed the 3DO port would not suffer from reduced levels experienced with the Sega 32X port, nor graphical issues present in the Jaguar counterpart.
Even before development began, major challenges arose. The 3DO was becoming a commercial flop, not helped by its high price of $699.95 per unit and declining game sales. $250,000 for licence rights was therefore seen as exorbitant by some analysts, reducing chances of profitability. Still, 3DO's cheaper licensing fees for every copy sold provided some cost savings. The development also needed to finish in time for the Christmas season. Alas, financial and time constraints, combined with Scott's complete lack of experience, knowledge, and connections within the computer game industry, resulted in a catastrophic development cycle. Scott had hoped actual production would be cost-effective, believing a simple PC to 3DO conversion could be quickly achieved and allow his vision to be realised from there.
Original Development and Heineman's Port
Scott baulked at the true reality of the situation: the game's proposed development would cost at least $3 million and extend beyond the December 1995 deadline. Its development went through no fewer than three separate companies. After severing ties with one production company due to its demand for a high budget and realistic schedule, Scott agreed to a deal with another by April 1995. Development successfully reached the first milestone but went no further after Scott failed to pay the developers a lump sum milestone payment by July 1995. While Art Data's marketing continued to boast about the game's impending features, an investigation by 3DO itself in July 1995 revealed the port was far from complete and extremely unlikely to reach stores by December. Panicked, and with an assist by 3DO themselves, Art Data then hired Logicware's Rebecca Ann Heineman to finish the project by herself.
Heineman had previously developed the 3DO port for id's Wolfenstein 3D, which was considered one of the title's best console ports. Heineman had ten weeks to finish production for Doom's 3DO port, in exchange for $40,000 and further favour with 3DO. On paper, it appeared the work was very much achievable, as Scott informed Heineman that development was 90% complete and that only a few defect fixes were required. In reality, all Heineman initially received was the PC version of Doom and its .EXE and .WAD files, with no source code included. Heineman eventually contacted id co-founder John Carmack, who sent her the Jaguar source code. Having to start from scratch in August 1995, Heineman decided to establish a basic port of the game and exclude virtually all of Scott's promised features. Indeed, the only real difference was the music, which Scott recorded as part of his metal band. Other sacrifices included not programming either the Cyberdemon or Spider Mastermind into the port, reflecting the Jaguar version. Nevertheless, it did include two exclusive levels. Despite the intense schedule, worsened by general difficulties in porting games to the 3DO, Heineman narrowly completed development in time for 3DO's quality assurance tests in November 1995.
One request was made following QA: the game could not be in full-screen as this produced an unacceptably low frame rate. Heineman complied with this demand but added a cheat code that unlocked full-screen mode, hoping it could be used for the ultimately unreleased M2 console. The 3DO port henceforth reached its deadline, but was still well below-par for what was expected from it. Scott nevertheless ordered 50,000 copies at the cost of around $150,000, thus requiring virtually all copies to be sold to guarantee a profit. Ultimately, the game was a severe commercial and critical flop, with critics lambasting its overall poor quality and deeming it among Doom's weakest console ports. Nevertheless, most reporters retrospectively credited Heineman for even being able to complete the port at all, given the sharp deadline and Art Data's general incompetence in games development. Art Data's later released Chess Wars for the MS-DOS in December 1996, but it was also a commercial failure, contributing towards the company leaving the games industry shortly afterwards. A Doom 2 3DO port never materialised, nor did a few other games Art Data promoted like Bounty Hunter.
The Scrapped FMV Sequences
One of the key features promised for the 3DO port was full-motion video (FMV) scenes. Scott bragged the game would contain numerous FMV sequences, all recorded via "24-bit Cinepak film". In 1994, Art Data contacted Global Effects, which had previously worked on props and costumes for various films, including Predator. While founder Chris Gilman was inexperienced in games development, he opted to work on the project after being impressed with Doom's gameplay. $10,000 was spent constructing a monster costume; while some sources claimed it was based on the Cyberdemon, Heineman confirmed it actually was supposed to resemble a Baron of Hell. Harnessing a pre-existing minotaur body suit, the company established the Baron's fibreglass head, and gave it three-fingered hands. To reflect the Baron's physique, Global Effects based the costume's proportions around bodybuilder Paul Demayo.
Filming the scenes took place at Art Data's offices in Simi Valley. Immediately, Gilman voiced concerns that the 10 x 10 foot greenscreen was too small and upfront for quality recordings. However, he was reassured by Art Data that this would not be an issue. Donning the Baron of Hell costume, Gilman filmed a series of scenes that seemingly had no real relevance to the storyline. According to Heineman, the production crew had no script and so were randomly filming scenes in a disorganised fashion. Some shots showed a male marine, possibly Doomguy, along with a woman who is never referenced in Doom's narrative. One image shows them embracing, but the others feature the Baron holding the woman in a cradle position. The Baron also tears through the protagonist's midsection, likely for one of the game's death scenes. Gilman recalled the body suit was uncomfortable to wear, made worse by the sheer heat it produced.
Some footage was showcased as part of Art Data's presentation for the 1995 Consumer Electronics Show. Early signs the FMV's quality was below-par came in a comment by Scott Le Grand, who wrote "if 3DO Doom at all resembles the FMV I saw for it at the Art Data Booth, jag fans have >nothing< to worry about, it will suck, and it will suck royally...", criticising the acting and special effects. The sequences were presented for enticing potential investors to back the port's development. However, during an April 1995 interview with 3DO Magazine, Scott had seemingly gotten cold feet on the FMV concept, confirming no sequences would be included in Doom. He claimed the FMV was ultimately too realistically graphic for it to be included in the port. 3DO Magazine questioned this, especially as the scenes, including those featuring no violence, would have surely been acceptable for a game like Doom. Scott responded that new FMV scenes would be included for Doom 2, to ensure a "marked difference between the two games".
Gilman and Heineman's comments contradict Scott's. Just as Gilman feared, terminal quality issues became apparent as the footage was ruined by green spill, caused by having the greenscreen be too close to the action. He lamented that significant hand-rotoscoping and hand-painting mattes would be needed to achieve acceptable quality. This was never conducted, but Scott changed his mind once more, asking Heineman to incorporate the scenes into the final product. Heineman recalled Scott's belief the scenes would mend themselves once added to the code, again demonstrating his lack of games development experience. Thus, Heineman overruled Scott's request and completed the port without any FMV scenes being included. Heineman labelled the scrapped sequences as "pure garbage". The Baron costume still languishes at the Global Effects offices, Gilman having successfully scared people with it during Halloween events.
On 30th November 2014, Heineman publicly released the 3DO port's source code to GitHub. While the final product is widely publicly available, the initial work carried out prior to Heineman's appointment disappeared once the original development team ceased work on it. It possibly still lingers within the second production company's offices, though said organisation has never been identified.
As for the FMV scenes, only a few photos were previously publicly available. One of these was included in the March 1995 issue of GameFan, which confirmed the sequences were showcased at the 1995 Consumer Electronics Show. However, as word of mouth spread about the missing FMV scenes, Heineman contacted former colleagues asking if she could share some behind-the-scenes photos, which was granted. These were then shared on Twitter and GitHub in August 2022. While this provides further useful context regarding what was filmed, no actual footage of the sequences has yet been found.
- Doom (lost prototype of Sega Saturn port of first-person shooter; 1996-1997)
- Doom (lost reference photographs for first-person shooter game cover art; 1993)
- Doom (partially found production materials of cancelled first-person shooter game film adaptations; 1994-1999)
- Doom and Doom 2 (partially lost original sound files of first-person shooter series audio; 1993-1994)
- Doom 4 (lost build of cancelled sequel based on "Doom" first-person shooter series; 2007-2014)
- Doom Absolution (lost build of cancelled Nintendo 64 sequel to "Doom 64"; 1997)
- Doom "Episode 5" (lost build of cancelled expansion to first-person shooter; 1995)
- Archived Art Data Interactive website.
- Global Effects website.
- Source code for the port.
- Various behind-the-scenes photos of the FMV shoot.
- Doom Wiki page on the 3DO port.
- Bad Game Hall of Fame providing an extensive evaluation of 3DO Doom and Art Data Interactive's games. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- April 1995 issue of 3DO Magazine interviewing Scott about the game, with Scott confirming no FMV scenes would be included in the port. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- February 1995 issue of 3DO Magazine previewing Art Data Interactive's planned titles, and noting FMV being planned for both Doom ports. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Game Engine Black Book: DOOM summarising the port's issues during production, despite Art Data believing it would generate significant revenue. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Games Asylum documenting 3DO Doom's troubled production. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Infinity Retro comparing the Jaguar and 3DO. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- IGN documenting the 3DO and why it became a commercial flop. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Racket Boy assessing the 3DO. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Classic Doom comparing the 3DO port with other versions. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Time Extension documenting filming the FMV scenes, based on comments from Gilman and Heineman. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Video Game Canon summarising the FMV sequences and reporting on Heineman publicly releasing behind-the-scenes photos taken during filming. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Anime Forums summarising the missing FMV cutscenes, and noting the monster was based on the Baron of Hell. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Winter 1994 issue of 3DO Magazine promoting the port and its FMV sequences (clippings found on Grinding the Rumor Mill). Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Twitter post by Heineman stating the filming occurred with no direction. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Scott Le Grand's comments regarding the FMV at the 1995 Consumer Electronics Show. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Twitter post by Heineman summing up her thoughts on the FMV scenes. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Global Effects providing an image of the costume available for rent. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- Games Radar reporting on the few photos of the FMV shoot that were publicly available in 2015. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- 2015 Twitter post by Heineman sharing some photos of the FMV production. Retrieved 14th Jul '23
- March 1995 issue of GameFan providing a photo of the Baron at the 1995 Consumer Electronics Show. Retrieved 14th Jul '23