New 'Doom' levels to come in Feb. 2019 from game designer John Romero

For starters, John Romero, one of the game designers of the original 1993 PC game "Doom," is working on a new release that will build on that game, which was inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015.

The new game, called "Sigil," will be available free as a download when it is released in mid-February 2019, Romero said in an announcement on the Romero Games website. Players will need to have the original 1993 version of "Doom" to play the new game.

"Sigil," Romero says, "is the spiritual successor to the fourth episode of 'Doom,' and picks up where the original left off."

id Software, which Romero co-founded in Dallas, Texas, changed the video game industry with the first-person 3-D perspective of "Doom" and its release as "shareware," with a portion of the game coming for free or being sold cheaply on the hopes that players would pay online to unlock more levels. "Doom" also popularized online multiplayer deathmatch gameplay.

"The engine was revolutionary in that it represented a type of world that no one had seen on a computer screen before," Romero said in a tribute to "Doom" on its 25th anniversary, posted Monday. "Today's first-person shooters trace their lineage back to this game that bears the distilled essence of what a shooter should be: balanced weapons, insidious level design, a complementary enemy menagerie, and lots of fast action."

Although "Doom" began as a game played on Windows PCs, it has expanded to game consoles and had a reboot with 2016's "Doom," released for Microsoft's Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 4 and PCs.

A sequel, "Doom Eternal," is in the works from id Software and parent publisher Bethesda Softworks, due in 2019. A celebratory "Doom" 25th anniversary trailer landed Monday on the id Software, Bethesda Softworks and "Doom" Twitter accounts.

Another trend id Software started with "Doom" was to make the game's code available for others to design new levels with some of the most well-known starring Batman and Nintendo's Mario.

"Open your game and your fans will own it, and keep it alive after you're gone," Romero said.

"Doom" fans can pre-order "Sigil" limited edition versions now on the Romero Games site through Dec. 24. The Beast Box edition ($166) comes in a box with artwork by Christopher Lowell that is individually numbered and signed by Romero, with a 16GB USB drive designed to look like a 3.5-inch floppy disk, a two-disc jewel case with the game and soundtrack by Buckethead, 8-by-10 inch art print signed by Lowell, Sigil coin, pewter statue, T-shirt and stickers.

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