Bethesda spokesperson Pete Hines confirmed to Kotaku that id Software has been working on Doom 4 since 2007, but that in late 2011 the studio decided to reboot their newest game completely. Hines explains the earlier version of Doom 4, of which some screenshots were leaked online, "did not exhibit the quality and excitement that id Software and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect." As of January 2012, everyone at id Software got onboard the fourth Doom game and other projects like Rage 2 got cancelled.
According to one source, Id originally imagined Doom 4 as a “rework” of Doom 2. This would establish a pattern started by 2004's Doom 3, which Id saw as a re-imagination of the original Doom. In Doom 4, you’d play as an average human being who was gradually cajoled into joining the Resistance—a ragtag group of civilians and military—to help fight legions of demons that were invading Earth. It was... cinematic.
“People referenced Call of Duty,” said the source. “There were jokes like, ‘Oh, it’s Call of Doom.’ They referenced it because of the amount it was scripted—there were a lot of scripted set pieces. There was kind of the recognition that in order to be a big shooter these days, you have to have some amount of the big, bombastic movie experience that people get pulled through.“
Another source criticized this approach, telling me that it all felt rather mediocre: “The coolest part... were the horror and shock elements, unfortunately bookended by somewhat pointless and contrived shooting galleries of hoards of uninteresting enemies.”
Kotaku spoke to several id Software insiders and heard Doom 4 is still a mess, even after the reboot. Employees complain about power struggles as managers from both the Rage and the Doom 4 team tried to figure out how to merge their teams, and that the team didn't feel a whole lot of ownership and contribution to the project. One source said “Larger creature ambitions turned into mediocre garden variety behaviors,” while another source mot of id's top talent has left or been fired.