In the age of years-long development cycles, it seems miraculous that Wolfenstein 3D, a game that spawned the modern-day FPS as we know it, was developed by six people in just six months. The story of Wolfenstein 3D’s development makes for a fascinating time capsule of those early days of game development – a milestone in gaming history that underlines just how much the industry has grown over the decades since.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves a bit. The origins of Wolfenstein 3D, a gloriously violent game that paved the way for the even more gloriously violent Doom, can be found in a somewhat more cutesy series of titles: the Commander Keen series. id Software made four of these side-scrolling platformers for MS-DOS in very quick succession between 1990 and 1991, and studio co-founder John Romero tells us that the team was definitely ready for a change.