Help — I can't stop watching the trailer for DOOM: The Dark Ages

 Doom: The Dark Ages Mecha Dragon and Slayer.
Credit: Bethesda Softworks

There's lots and lots of game trailers out there, but many won't stick with me. That's not the fault of anyone making them. Many concepts can be difficult to convey in a mere 90 seconds to four minutes, and a game doesn't always have the luxury of relying on established information to avoid retreading itself. It's something I've come to expect in coverage, and I always caution waiting for more information before getting upset over some ill-understand nuance. Every so often however, there's a trailer that burns itself in my brain.

That is the case with the recent reveal trailer for DOOM: The Dark Ages, which was unveiled by id Software and Bethesda Softworks during the Xbox Games Showcase 2024. If you somehow haven't watched the trailer yet, you can find it below.

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I simply can't stop watching it. As I've been continuing to cover games from the Xbox showcase and Summer Game Fest 2024, I've had this trailer on repeat constantly, day after day. The more I watch it, the more I'm convinced it's one of the best game trailers of the last several years.

Going in, this trailer tells you everything you need to know without a single spoken word, regardless of your familiarity with the franchise. The hell-torn landscape, the Slayer, the Super Shotgun, and your demonic foes are all introduced back-to-back at the perfect points.

As the trailer escalates, we see a skull-munching weapon that even Warhammer 40,000 would impressed with, only for it be followed up by the Shield Saw that's thrown and retrieved à la Captain America, then a skewering weapon that pins demons to objects with extreme prejudice, then a flail, then a massive mech we can pilot, and finally a flying dragon we can ride that's strapped with jet engines.

All the while, it's backed by a heavy metal soundtrack that's building, pounding, and by the end, downright raging alongside its environs.

It's perfect.

By introducing these elements in this specific order, it keeps your attention. It would've been "fine" if we'd just gotten a montage of glory kills and demons being shredded by weapons, but that's not the point. It's a symphony, a dark choir singing until it reaches a particular note. It's not just cool as hell, it's confident in a way I haven't seen a game be confident in a long, long time.

Doom: The Dark Ages reveal trailer screenshot
Doom: The Dark Ages reveal trailer screenshot

That confidence can clearly be seen in the team's social media posts for the game that followed in the days after the reveal. There's no long, flowery posts. No in-depth explanations. No lengthy paragraphs, no drawn-out justifications for design decisions. Just a couple of words reiterating what we already know in our heart to be true and good and cool and right.

DOOM is a special franchise, and I've been a fan for a long time. DOOM (2016) and DOOM Eternal were mechanically beautiful games that I enjoyed. It would've been ridiculously easy (even expected) for the announcement of a medieval-flavored prequel to raise more questions than it answered. Yet right now, even with the context of id Software's amazing prior work, I'm left with the sense that DOOM: The Dark Ages will be something truly special.

I'm sure I'll be seeing more of this game before launch, with gameplay demonstrations showing off other new features or weapons and interviews discussing design changes and advancements made to the latest versions ludicrously-capable id Tech engine.

Truthfully though? If I never saw another moment of gameplay, this trailer would carry me through to launch.

DOOM: The Dark Ages is scheduled to launch at some point in 2025 across Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and PlayStation 5. Like all Xbox first-party games, it'll also be included in Xbox Game Pass.