id Software co-founders confirm that its biggest games’ heroes are all related

Enlarge / The id Software family tree finally comes together. (credit: id Software)

Of all the innovations id Software delivered to the video game industry in the '90s, plot certainly wasn't one of them. Still, the company managed to create a few iconic heroes in its PC-action heyday, and decades after their creation, the company's former bigwigs let loose a fun bit of trivia on Tuesday: many of id's biggest heroes are all related.

As spotted by ResetERA, a Twitter conversation unfolded on Tuesday that had been set into motion weeks earlier. A seeming throwaway December post from former id Software designer John Romero included an interesting note: that the long-running Wolfenstein series' hero, BJ Blazkowicz, was "based on" the company's early side-scrolling action series Commander Keen. A fan picked up on this and sent a question to id co-founder Tom Hall: are these two characters related, and is Doom's "Doomguy" hero also part of a genetic lineage?

Hall minced no words in his Tuesday reply: "The lineage isn't a theory. Fact." Longtime id fans might have already suspected this, based on information in a long-ago Wolfenstein hint manual, but this is the first time someone from id has gone to the trouble of confirming that idea. What's more, Romero piped up to clarify the exact makeup of the Blazkowicz clan: the Wolfenstein hero is Commander Keen's grandfather, while Keen is Doomguy's dad. The duo had a bit of a back-and-forth joke chain from there, asking why there was a missing generational badass between Wolfenstein and Keen. Hall claimed that Keen's father was "an awesome, heroic... newscaster" with the stage name of "Blaze," which is where Keen's legal name of "Billy Blaze" came from.

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