BFG (weapon)

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The BFG 9000 as depicted in Doom (top), Doom 3 (middle) and in Doom (2016, bottom)
First appearanceDoom (1993)
Created by
In-story information

The BFG is a fictional weapon found in many video games, mostly in first-person shooter series such as Doom and Quake.

The abbreviation BFG stands for "Big Fucking Gun" as described in Tom Hall's original Doom design document and in the user manual of Doom II: Hell on Earth. The Quake II manual says it stands for "Big, Uh, Freakin' Gun". This euphemistic label implies the more profane name of the BFG. Another version of the name used in the Doom motion picture is "Bio Force Gun". The versions found in the Doom games are called "BFG 9000" and those in Quake "BFG 10K".



The first appearance of the weapon is the press beta release of Doom. In that version, the BFG 9000 released a cloud of 80 small plasma balls (randomly green or red) that could bounce off floors and ceilings per shot, however this version of the BFG was scrapped for the below version, as John Romero, a developer for Doom, stated that "It looked like Christmas", and it severely slowed down the game due to the large number of projectiles.

Computer Gaming World described the BFG 9000 in the first commercial Doom game as "the Ultimate Weapon".[1] It is a large energy weapon that fires giant balls of green plasma. The most powerful weapon in the game, it causes major damage to most types of enemies and can clear an entire room of foes in one shot, or deal huge damage to singular enemies. In the first Doom, the weapon can only be picked up in the third and fourth episodes. The BFG 9000 also appears virtually unchanged in Doom II: Hell on Earth, Final Doom, Doom 64, and Doom RPG.

The BFG's internal game mechanics are two-fold: the actual projectile deals a significant amount of damage (100-800), but the majority of the damage is dealt in a 45 degree cone facing away from the player who fired the shot; via 40 "tracers", each dealing between 49 and 87 damage. This tracer effect is why it is optimal to stand close to the target in order for them to soak up as many tracers as possible. One peculiar quirk about the internal workings of the game code is that it remembers the direction in which the player fired the shot, but not the position, meaning that the player is allowed to move far away, even into an entirely different room, and still deal damage to whoever is in that room, depending on the timing of the projectile's impact.[2]

Other versions[edit]

In Doom 3, the BFG 9000 is a charged weapon: holding down the trigger causes the weapon to accumulate energy before release, resulting in a more powerful shot. Overcharging the BFG too much will cause it to overheat and explode, killing the player instantly.

Quake II and Quake III Arena pay homage to the BFG 9000 with a pair of weapons both called the BFG10K. The Quake II version fires a slow plasma glob that fires rays at any enemies in range and line-of-sight. The Quake III Arena version of the BFG fire a series of fast plasma orbs, and acts quite like the Rocket Launcher (rocket jumping can also be done with the BFG10K). BFG10K from Quake III also appears in OpenArena (different look, but same behavior) and Quake Live (with slightly modified characteristics). Rage also pays homage to the BFG 9000 with a weapon known as the "Authority Pulse Cannon", which fires "BFG Rounds".

In the Doom movie, the "bio force gun" fires a bright blue projectile that appears to burst on impact and spray a caustic substance over its target and the surrounding area.

The BFG makes a return in the 2016 reboot, but unlike in its first two appearances, it follows the mechanics of its Quake II rendition, firing a projectile that shoots beams at enemies. The game itself doesn't resolve the acronym "BFG" either in-game or in its codex entries, although one challenge in the game's final campaign level involving the BFG is called "Big [REDACTED] Gun" as a nod to the original vulgar name.[3] In that game's pinball adaptation, it is called the "Big Fancy Gun", and is the most powerful weapon that the Doom Slayer can obtain;[4] collecting it will grant the player an extra ball. It also makes a return in 2020's Doom Eternal, where it's functionally identical to the 2016 version; it is introduced as the main component of the BFG 10000, which appears as a massive interplanetary cannon mounted on Mars's moon, Phobos, used by the Doom Slayer to shoot a hole into the surface of Mars.[5]

The BFG also makes an appearance in Avalanche Studios' Rage 2.

A similar weapon makes an appearance in MachineGames' Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. According to the game's plot, the weapon, named "Übergewehr" ("Super-rifle" in German), was developed by the Nazis in the 1960s and it's utilizing a mixture of Laser-based energy and Diesel energy, as well as a mysterious third source of energy, described as “extra-dimensional microportals", possibly hinting that its the same Argent Energy mentioned in Doom (2016) onwards.[6] The behavior of the weapon is similar to the Doom 3's BFG: it can be charged in order to release a sphere of energy strong enough to vaporize a horde of soldiers.

Reception[edit] ranked the BFG 9000 at number two on their list of top video game weapons of all time, stating "it was marvelous and complex, and we should not hesitate to put this weapon down in history as one of the best."[7] X-Play ranked it number one on their list of top "badass" weapons, stating that while "not as fancy as the gravity gun", it was the first weapon that "really made us swoon".[8] IGN also listed the BFG as one of the hundred best weapons in video games, placing it at number 2, saying that "The BFG established exactly what we should expect when it comes to powerful in-game weaponry".[9] named it number one on their list of top video game weapons, stating "Do you really need a reason why this tops the list?"[10]


"BFR" was the codename for SpaceX's privately funded launch vehicle announced by Elon Musk in September 2017.[11][12][13][14][15] SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has stated that BFR stands for "Big Falcon Rocket".[16] However, Elon Musk has explained that although BFR was the code name, he drew inspiration from the BFG weapon in the Doom video games.[17] The BFR had been referred to informally by the media and internally at SpaceX as "Big Fucking Rocket".[18][19][20][21] The upper stage was called Big Falcon Ship (unofficially "Big Fucking Ship").[22][23][24][25][26] The BFR was eventually officially renamed to "Starship".[27]


  1. ^ Walker, Bryan (March 1994). "Hell's Bells And Whistles". Computer Gaming World. pp. 38–39.
  2. ^ Tony Fabris (August 15, 1999). "The BFG Faqs". Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  3. ^ "Doom: A Sneak Peek at the FINAL Level". IGN. YouTube. April 29, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  4. ^ Zen Studios (December 6, 2016). Bethesda Pinball (iOS, Android). Level/area: DOOM Pinball Table - Table Guide, Page 9: Lock 'n Load. You're gonna want to find better weapons to deal with the demons and this mode is all about finding those Big Fancy Guns.
  5. ^ "The BFG 10000 Of DOOM Eternal Is Massive". VGR. August 14, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Another Hint That Wolfenstein And Doom Share The Same Universe, by Ethan Gach, Kotaku, November 17th, 2017
  7. ^ Top 50 Video Game Weapons of All Time. Retrieved on December 17, 2008, now on
  8. ^ (June 18, 2008) X-Play's Top 10 Badass Weapons: Part 2. G4. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  9. ^ "BFG9000". IGN. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Top 10 Video Game Weapons Archived February 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on January 30, 2009.
  11. ^ Jeff Foust (September 29, 2017). "Musk unveils revised version of giant interplanetary launch system". SpaceNews. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  12. ^ William Harwood (September 29, 2017). "Elon Musk revises Mars plan, hopes for boots on ground in 2024". SpaceflightNow. Retrieved September 30, 2017. The new rocket is still known as the BFR, a euphemism for 'Big (fill-in-the-blank) Rocket.' The reusable BFR will use 31 Raptor engines burning densified, or super-cooled, liquid methane and liquid oxygen to lift 150 tons, or 300,000 pounds, to low Earth orbit, roughly equivalent to NASA's Saturn 5 moon rocket.
  13. ^ Tim Fernholz (September 29, 2017). "SpaceX's Elon Musk unveiled a rocket that can fly to the Moon, Mars—and Shanghai". Quartz. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  14. ^ "Artist's Rendering Of The BFR". SpaceX. April 12, 2017. Archived from the original on October 3, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  15. ^ Sherisse Pham; Jackie Wattles (September 29, 2017). "Elon Musk is aiming to land spaceships on Mars in 2022". CNNMoney. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  16. ^ Mike Wall (October 7, 2017). "What's in a Name? SpaceX's 'BFR' Mars Rocket Acronym Explained". Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  17. ^ Heath, Chris (December 12, 2015). "Elon Musk Is Ready to Conquer Mars". GQ. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  18. ^ Fernholz, Tim (March 20, 2018). Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 244. ISBN 978-1328662231. SpaceX would build a huge rocket: the BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket—or, more crudely among staff, the Big Fucking Rocket
  19. ^ "The world is not enough". The Economist. London. October 1, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  20. ^ Slezak, Michael; Solon, Olivia (September 29, 2017). "Elon Musk: SpaceX can colonise Mars and build moon base". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  21. ^ Burgess, Matt (September 29, 2017). "Elon Musk's Big Fucking Rocket to Mars is his most ambitious yet". Wired UK. London: Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  22. ^ What's in a Name? SpaceX's 'BFR' Mars Rocket Acronym Explained. Mike Wall, October 7, 2017.
  23. ^ Foust, Jeff (February 6, 2018). "SpaceX no longer planning crewed missions on Falcon Heavy". Spacenews. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  24. ^ Space tourists will have to wait as SpaceX plans bigger rocket. Stu Clark, The Guardian. February 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Making Life Multiplanetary: Abridged transcript of Elon Musk's presentation to the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia" (PDF). SpaceX. September 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 8, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  26. ^ SpaceX signs its first passenger to fly aboard the Big Falcon Rocket Moon mission. CatchNews. September 14, 2018.
  27. ^ "Musk renames BFR spacecraft Starship". BBC News. November 20, 2018.