Doom Eternal is the evolution of slapstick comedy

(upbeat instrumental music) – When I look at DOOM
Eternal, all I see is this. (cheerful instrumental music) Is it because my brain is broken? Yes. But it’s also because
the two newest DOOM games owe so much of their
success to the ancient art of slapstick comedy. It’s the wet, goopy glue that binds the whole experience together, and if you take it away,
everything else falls apart. See, the team it had dialed
in the combat design for DOOM pretty early on in development, is gonna be fast and relentless
like the original DOOM, but with a new level of
fidelity in the edition of glory kills, a mechanic
that stuffs enemies full of lifesaving resources to
be harvested aggressively, like a pinata full of Insulin. But as DOOM’s Director,
Hugo Martin pointed out, you can’t just sustain
that level of violence because at a certain point, it becomes hard to stomach, and that’s not the kind
of game he wanted to make. So what sort of game
did Hugo want to make? If we dive into Doom’s influences, and its influences’ influences, we can find three keys that
it used to unlock its perfect slapstick tone. The first one teaches us simply that, some kinds of violence are funny, and some kinds of violence aren’t. DOOM wouldn’t exist
without this rude puppet. The team haven’t specifically
sighted him as an inspiration, but the game’s inspirations
wouldn’t exist without him or his tiny cudgel. This is the titular slapstick, it’s a wooden board with an
extra flap that claps closed on impact, allowing performers
to do the thing that makes slapstick comedy work, and that is loud, exaggerated violence, without real human suffering. This technique takes advantage
of the ancient human truth, that when somebody gets
donked in the head, or smashed in the balls, it is quite often, funny. But why is it funny? What evolutionary trait
prompts us to take pleasure in the pain and humiliation of others? We’re not going to find out today. I don’t know, it’s just funny, and when your actors are
tiny, wooden puppets, that don’t grimace or bleed, or bruise, the volume of violence can be turned up and they turned it up. And when you look at
the way DOOM turned out, you might think that their approach to blood and guts, and
violence was anything goes, but the truth is that they
were really picky about what did and didn’t make the cut. Hugo said that a really
important role he played, was protector of the tone, so he had a video reel made
up that showed examples of what kind of stuff felt right
for DOOM, and what didn’t. Anything that felt overly
sadistic, disturbing, or realistic, was out. Anything that was fast, a little bit shocking, and silly, could stay, which pushes us into the territory of slapstick comedy violence. But that move alone wasn’t enough, because even silly
violence would get boring, if there wasn’t something
there to spice it up. The slapstick of Punch and Judy, would continue to evolve into new medias, like vaudeville theater, where the art of pretending to hurt and get hurt was a real moneymaker. From this scene we got The Three Stooges, which was doomed for Boomers. They were a bunch of dumb asses, who were a menace to themselves
and everyone around them, but they really excelled
at adapting the stick to different environments and situations. This is cool because it
gave their bits a sense of inventiveness and improvisation. Like, they were looking at a problem and finding the dumbest possible solution that would yield the funniest
punishment for their bodies. (loud clanking) – Thanks fellas! – Slapstick is funniest
when it fits the context of the situation, and when the punishment is tailor made for the person on the receiving end. If a guy has a huge cast on his foot, it’s funny to see it get bonked. If a guy’s a neat freak, it’s funny to see him get dirty. If someone has a beloved rack of collector’s edition thimbles, it’s funny to see it get knocked over. (loud crashing and laughing) DOOM and especially DOOM Eternal, take this to heart. Every monster you face in the game, is a perfect slapstick partner. Their unique characters and shape, provides the context for the
brutal and silly violence. Cacodemons are big,
cyclopic, grinning balloons, so naturally you hit them
with the old Odysseus and then deflate them. Mancubi are lumbering,
dopey, hungry beasts, so you feed them something
that doesn’t sit well. Arachnotrons are snotty
little keyboard warriors, who hide behind their superior technology. So naturally, you dispose
of them with a classic stop hitting yourself, or by crushing them under the weight of
their own machinations. That’s what you get for posting. Just about every glory
kill in DOOM Eternal, is a gag that takes into
account the appearance, or character of the opponent
to enhance the impact. That’s some good, nasty slapstick. But there’s still a big gap
between the dry slaps of Punch and Judy, in the
wet gushing gore of DOOM, and that’s where our third key comes in. Hugo describes DOOM Eternal
as a sort of spiritual sequel, to Sam Raimi’s 1987 cult hit, Evil Dead 2, but he’s not talking about
the first Evil Dead . The first Evil Dead was a
zero budget demonic horror that did a lot with humble resources, and had a whole bunch of really
innovative, shocking gore. But a lot of its silliness is
a result of its limited means, rather than deliberate comedic intent. But Evil Dead 2 would pave the
way for DOOM’s hybridization of comedy and horror. It was influential for
blending Hollywood gore effects and throwback slapstick comedy. See, Sam Raimi was a huge,
huge fan of The Three Stooges. In fact, most of his films
before the first Evil Dead, were just Three Stooges fan films. When he had the budget
and the freedom to rebuild Evil Dead from the ground up, he didn’t spare the slapstick. I’m talking chairs breaking, and eyeball shooting into mouths, and a guy fighting his own hand. Raimi used context and
character to shepard the violence along the path, that was definitely shocking and gross, but usually cartoony
enough to be palatable. If showing something
would be too realistic or painful to watch, they wouldn’t show it. We don’t see the chainsaw
ripping into Ash’s flesh, but we revel in seeing him
plunge it into the eye of a big, rubbery demon face. Hugo actually showed this
exact scene to his team to exemplify the tone that
he wanted for the game. (loud pixel projection) Like the Deadites and The Three Stooges, DOOM’s demons have a ton of personality and a dark intelligence. They’re not the mindless
sort of human hoards of enemies you get in a lot of
horror games, they’re assholes. They taunt and tease and
they delight in causing pain, it makes their eventual
embarrassment and destruction a little more satisfying, a little less nihilistic. They only feel as much pain as is funny. You get the visual fun of somebody getting their head cut off, without the emotional
baggage of somebody getting their head cut off. When Ash decapitates Henrietta, she keeps cursing him to her last breath. I do not feel bad about this. – Swallow this. (loud screaming) – DOOM’s use of slapstick
keeps the game palatable, while some other violent
games might start to feel like a numbing slog. There’s a moment in most
prestige Triple A games, where the humorless, deadly
serious, extreme violence, just becomes a little much. The moment that makes me make this face. In Red Dead Redemption 2, I accidentally triggered
an execution animation that blasted the top
half of a man’s head off, leaving him crumpled on the ground with a hideously detailed, spurting wound and the slowly spreading pool of blood, while nobody, not even our supposedly
sensitive protagonist reacted in the sligthest. Imagine that one scene in
Pulp Fiction where the gun accidentally goes off
and paints the inside of the car with blood, but instead of spending the
rest of the movie trying to resolve that crisis, John Trivolta and Sam
Jackson just turn around and keep talking about cheeseburgers. It’s like that. This moment in Red Dead
Redemption 2 wasn’t meant to be funny or frightening, or satisfying, it was just procedural violence, not serving anything other
than the game’s obsession with realism, but in Evil Dead 2 and Doom, the blood and guts are
derived from the needs of the specific gag, rather than some fetishistic
anatomical accuracy. Eyeballs make a literal
cork popping sound, as they’re plucked from
a Cacodemon’s face. Revenants are full of blood
even though they’re made of bones; Arachnatrons are
big sentient brains, but when they take damage, they got rib cages. DOOM, with all of its
constant action blood, guts, and violence, still manages
to feel less shocking and tonally wrong than a
lot of big Triple A games, and it does it by firmly
rooting itself in a tradition of nonsensical violence, by making sure that everything
that makes the gasp, can also make them laugh. Like the slapstick itself, DOOM is designed to make a lot
of noise and get a reaction, without causing anyone real pain. (upbeat guitar music)

80 Replies to “Doom Eternal is the evolution of slapstick comedy”

  1. thank you for uploading at just the right time to help me procrastinate cleaning my kitchen

  2. Will Pat ever run out of ludicrous comparisons that sound absolutely ridiculous but end up making perfect sense? I hope not

  3. "A pinata full of insulin" is not a line I expected to hear this good Saturday morning but I am so glad I did

  4. "We find it funny ".

    I don't… It always makes me unbelievably uncomfortable when I see videos of people hurting themselves.

  5. Real people getting hurt isn't funny so that part of your premise is completely off base. Also, get a therapist.

  6. If Three Stooges is a prequel to doom then which one of them goes on to become doom guy.

    It's Larry right.

  7. What this video really needed was a cabinet of fragile objects behind you the entire time that you never fall over and break.

  8. "Is it because my brain is broken? Yes."
    I can relate to this statement. And aren't all of our brains broken in some way? In any case, I feel you, Pat.

  9. me seeing the title: please be a pat video, please be a pat video, please-

    the video: is a pat video

    my brain: grants me a crumb of serotonin

  10. Devs working on fighter games that have to crawl through actual footage of horrible violence get PTSD, slapstick inspired violence is going to be so much better on that front.

  11. 0:07 – The new DOOM looks awesome. I like the way they changed the grapics, gameplay and everything. Gives it a new and nice feel to it

  12. Now THIS is how you do a title. Extremely relevant to the video yet it’s a title that makes you want to click

  13. we laugh when seeing other people get hurt because it is a calming mechanism to let ourselves know the danger is happening to someone else and i just made this up

  14. I think BDG should rank all animal crossing animals into some sort of list, would be relevant due to new horizons coming out soon :^D who`s the best animal crossing villager?

  15. Just realised that the video has the Spiderman 2 Pizza theme playing in the background 1 and a half minutes in.

  16. I literally wrote two dissertations on humor theories and why audiences find things funny…. Even the experts I referenced can't agree on why we find pain of other people funny.

  17. This is a very good analysis and it's something that has always surprised me about DOOM. I'm usually a bit sensitive about gore, a lot of things gross me out, but I find the violence in DOOM hilarious and something to look forward to, and I think now I understand why.

    Also, Pat's one-liners are a thing of beauty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *