Doom changed everything in 1993, and the tech behind Doom would go on to power countless mods, fan games, and full commercial releases. However, as always, time marches forward and what was once cutting edge becomes yesterday’s news. Yet, right now in 2021, a small group of devs is toiling away on a new game, Selaco, using the old bones of Doom. The end result comes off so impressively that it’s wild to know it’s based on tech originating from the ‘90s.
You’ll take on the role of a character named Dawn as she fights off a deadly invasion of Selaco, an underground facility where the surviving refugees are living after the fall of Earth. While trying to fight off the invading army of soldiers, Dawn will also explore the facility and find out its secret history. Along the way, Dawn will be able to use multiple weapons including ice grenades, assault rifles, shotguns, SMGs, and even nailguns.
Selaco is being developed by Altered Orbit Studios, a small team of devs who are using GZDoom to create their first big commercial game. GZDoom is a source port of Doom that is based on ZDoom, another older source port that is no longer being developed. Being a source port, GZDoom is like the original Doom engine, but souped-up and able to do more complex visuals, support fancier maps, and include other modern features. But at its core, GZDoom is still based on Doom, with many of the limitations that come with that.
Yet watching a recently released gameplay trailer for Selaco, you’ll be hard-pressed to spot these limits. In the footage released a few weeks ago during the FPS-focused games event Realms Deep, Selaco looks like a mix of Doom (as you would expect) and F.E.A.R.. Enemies in Selaco seem smarter than anything you encountered in the old Doom games. They appear able to react and change their plans quickly as you the player fights them. Here, enemies will flank or fall back. Compared to the simple-minded demons of Doom, it’s impressive stuff.
Selaco will also sport voxel-powered 3D details, destructible environments, objects that use physics, advanced lighting, and fully voiced characters. One of these is The Juggernaut, a large enemy that will surprise players and break through walls, almost like a sci-fi version of Resident Evil 2’s Mr. X. And remember, all of this is being done using a source port of a game released back in 1993.
Retro shooters have become quite popular in recent years, so you might be quick to write off Selaco as just another one of those old-school FPS games. But Selaco seems different. It feels less like a game trying to recapture the nostalgic feeling of playing old-school shooters like Quake or Doom, and is instead using those old games as tools to build something more modern.
Until the game is released and we can play the full thing, we won’t know for sure if Selaco’s devs have truly succeeded. I’m very optimistic though, based on trailers, screenshots, gifs, and videos released on the game’s official Twitter account. Over on its Steam page, the devs jokingly list August 25 2255 as the release date. I really don’t want to wait that long to play this shooter, though it looks good enough that I will if I have to.