Doom Eternal: Is Samuel Hayden the Seraphim?

With 2016’s Doom reboot, id Software traded modern FPS tropes for a greater focus on fast-paced action unburdened by premise. Doom Eternal sticks to the same approach while also affording more inquisitive players the opportunity to immerse themselves into the game’s hellish universe. The codex entries strewn all over each level explore the history of the world and its characters in unprecedented detail, filling whatever gaps are left by the cut-scenes shown through the course of the campaign, such as the true identity of Dr. Samuel Hayden.

The former UAC Chairman returns partway through the campaign to guide our hero, the Doom Slayer, once again, this time in his fight against Earth’s demonic invasion. In Doom (2016), it is revealed that Hayden had to transfer a part of his brain to a mechanical body in a bid to defy terminal cancer, diagnosed while he was overseeing construction of the Argent Tower on Mars, though his humanity is never brought into question, at least not explicitly. Doom Eternal, however, repeatedly hints at an alien origin for the cyborg, drawing parallels with one Samur Maykr, also known as the Seraphim – the Maykr heretic who betrayed the divinized Khan Maykr by giving the Doom Slayer his godlike strength.

The Seraphim - Samur Maykr
“And now they will fear you.”

Of these hints, the most prominent are as follows.

  • When the Doom Slayer comes upon Hayden’s damaged body in the ARC Complex, one of the ARC scientists around him explains that they couldn’t figure out how to access his “main cortex” because “it’s all… alien.” A Doom (2016) codex entry reveals that it was Hayden himself who designed
  • As Hayden’s body interfaces with the Fortress of Doom, VEGA explains that Hayden is able to transfer his consciousness into the spaceship’s mainframe as “the architecture is similar to his own.” Codex entries reveal that the Fortress of Doom was an amalgamation of Argenta and Maykr design, or rather an Argenta structure built over Maykr sub-systems. It is because of the Maykr technology powering the ship that the Khan Maykr is able to disable it later in the campaign.
  • In the flashback on Taras Nabad, as the Seraphim guides the Doom Slayer into the Divinity Machine, he says “I offer you a gift. Take it. It will give you strength… help you on your journey.” Samuel Hayden delivers the exact same line in Doom (2016), when the Slayer picks up his first Argent Cell. Moreover, both Hayden and the Seraphim have been voiced by the same actor. They didn’t even do away with the robotic distortion in his voice, as if to make it easier for players to connect the dots.
  • Hayden seems to know an awful lot about the the Maykrs and their homeland. Not once is an explanation provided as to how he came upon millennia-old information about a plane that, since its inception, has been inaccessible to all but the Maykrs, with the player left to consider the possibility that Hayden may indeed have lived through the ancient history that he knows so well. Hayden also led man’s first expedition into Hell, where he then discovered the Doom Slayer.
  • The Seraphim’s use of the Divinity Machine on the Slayer had him branded a heretic and banished from Urdak, the Maykr realm. Before he left, however, Samur took The Father, the essence of Urdak, with him. When the Doom Slayer inserts VEGA into a control system on Urdak, the AI asks Samuel if he is The Father. This may mean that VEGA was created from The Father’s essence. If so, VEGA directing his query at Dr. Hayden would make the latter the Seraphim.
Samuel Hayden the Seraphim

But How and When Did Hayden Become the Seraphim?

A look through Doom (2016) codices makes it clear that Samuel Hayden was, at one point, human, or appeared to be, at the very least. How and when that changed, if it did indeed, is uncertain. Hayden’s brain cancer, diagnosed during the Argent Tower’s construction on Mars, may have been a byproduct of the Serpahim embedding his consciousness into the UAC Chairman. As Maykrs approach the end of their lifespan, they are able to undergo rebirth through a process called Transfiguration, facilitated by the origin of their being, The Father. The exact nature of the process is unclear, but what we do know is that the Seraphim stole The Father’s essence as he was exiled from Urdak. It is possible that Samur used The Father to transfer his consciousness into Hayden’s body, during the Argent Tower’s construction or perhaps much earlier in his life, with the Maykr’s alien consciousness ultimately taking a toll on his brain.

Another possibility is that the Maykr approached Hayden after his cancer diagnosis, offering him a second lease on life, complete with blueprints for a mechanical body of alien design powered by Argent energy. The Seraphim, who had created the Doom Slayer in defiance of the devious Khan Maykr, may have seen Hayden’s Argent energy project as an opportunity to free the Slayer from Hell and finally sever the unholy pact between Urdak and Hell.

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Sameed Khan

I write, game, design at times, and revel in sarcasm. You can find me on Twitter.