The original Doom is iconic for a ton of reasons, but one of them is the fantastic box art. But the story behind that box art just might eclipse the actual art now that we know the truth. The story today is about the "Doomguy" or the man gracing the cover of Doom with machine gun in hand and demons at his feet. Originally a bodybuilder was hired to pose for the box art, but unfortunately, he didn't make the cut. Just not manly enough to be the Doomguy.
John Romero, ID co-founder and Doom designer, recently shared some background about the game's memorable box art and how it came to exist in a post on his blog.
According to Romero, Don Punchatz, who created the Doom font and drew the game's box art, brought in a male body builder to photograph for reference to create the game's cover. Punchatz, Romero, and this unnamed bodybuilder worked together to try and come up with cool poses, imagining how a marine would tackle a mountain of demons from the top, but struggled to come up with a cool pose – until Romero stepped in to offer some sample poses for what he had in mind. The image that was ultimately used was one where Romero was holding the gun, and the bodybuilder was grabbing his arm.
So the bodybuilder who was intended to be Doomguy instead became another faceless demon, and Romero is our vaunted hero.
And people think game designers can't be cool.