Bethesda surprised classic Doom fans with a brand new update to both Doom and Doom 2 today, allowing for 60 FPS gameplay, fan-made content, and more. The catch, however, is that it appears PC players who own the Doom or Doom 2 GOG or Steam versions won’t be able to get this update. There’s a logical explanation for this discrepancy, but it’s one that could lead to wasted money for those interested in the new features.
Update: Bethesda has confirmed to GameRevolution that the update for the PC versions of Doom and Doom 2 is exclusive to the Bethesda launcher.
Alongside the update, Bethesda launched new versions of both Doom and Doom 2 for PC, available exclusively on Bethesda.net for $4.99 each as “Doom Classic (2019 Release)” and “Doom 2 (2019 Release).” These games have been playable on computers in some form for as long as they’ve existed, but the latest releases are technically new versions — ports of the Doom and Doom 2 console and mobile rereleases from 2019. As explained by Digital Foundry last year, the 2019 rereleases are still the same Doom and Doom 2, but there are a number of graphical and sound differences that make them distinct from other Doom ports. It makes sense, then, that Bethesda released a PC port of the these 2019 console versions so that PC players can receive the update.
The unfortunate consequence of this new PC port is that, because they are technically different games than the 2019 rereleases, it appears the other PC versions of the game currently available won’t receive the update. The GOG versions of The Ultimate Doom and Doom 2 + Final Doom are still available for $5.99 and $9.99, and the Steam versions of Ultimate Doom and Doom 2 are still available for $4.99 each. Bethesda will presumably continue to make money on these versions of the game, despite the Bethesda.net rereleases receiving continued support the GOG and Steam versions won’t.
Granted, it’s possible some hardcore Doom fans will end up preferring the older versions of the games. Bethesda seems to be adding many options for users to tweak the new versions of the games to players’ liking, but there is much contention among the Doom community about the “right” version of each game. Theoretically, most PC versions of Doom could be changed to include some of the elements of Bethesda’s official updates via mods, so missing out on the new version may not be too bad after all. Either way, it’s hard to say how the 2019 rereleases will stack up against the rest in the long run, especially if Bethesda releases more updates.