Google Stadia just can’t seem to catch a break. Since the service launched in November 2019, any of the launch window positivity has been drowned out by bad news. From marquee titles being delayed, bonus content being poor, and a lack of onboard publishers or creators have made Google’s new gaming platform struggle to find its footing. But while this latest bad news isn’t a total bust for Stadia, it is a serious case of bad luck for an already struggling release.
When Stadia was being officially unveiled, DOOM Eternal took the stage. id boasted the new shooter would run at 60 frames per second and in “true” 4K resolution. Now, 2016’s DOOM revival was a gorgeous game, and Eternal only looks better and more complex. Running that bad boy on max settings at a true 4K resolution is not easy, as the PC version’s requirements can attest to. Even with all its extra teraflops compared to our current consoles, it turns out Stadia just can’t hack it.
Straight from Bethesda itself, it was revealed that DOOM Eternal will no longer support “true” 4K on Stadia. It’ll run at 1080/60 no problem (if you have the internet to support that of course), and still supports HDR if you’re rocking Stadia Pro. But if you want 4K, you’re going to have to deal with a more common, console-like upscaling. In this case, DOOM Eternal will still run at 60 fps, but its 4K is upscaled from 1800p instead of the native 2160p.
This isn’t exactly a stain on Stadia or some sort of exposed underbelly Google was trying to hide earlier. More likely, the scope of DOOM Eternal changed or it was tougher to wrangle in than anticipated in terms of optimization. After all, to run the game on max settings at 4K/60 on PC, you need the absolute latest in hardware.
DOOM Eternal was originally propped up as The Big One for Google’s Stadia launch. Its original release date paired up with Stadia well, and Bethesda and id Software latched on to Stadia as early as its GDC reveal. But then DOOM Eternal was delayed, and Stadia lost its star quarterback right before kick-off. A lack of indie support and major holiday releases has seen Stadia mostly spinning its wheels, waiting for more stuff to get announced and released. DOOM Eternal is still coming, and is still poised to be a big deal. But everything still isn’t going according to plan.