The very first version of Doom Eternal distributed via the Bethesda.net launcher contained a copy of the game’s .exe file, but without copy protection. This version of the game does not need to be cracked and has been posted on download sites almost unchanged.
A Reddit user reported the strange occurrence. He stated that his download of Doom Eternal from the Bethesda.net store contained two .exe files for the game itself: 369MB DOOMEternalx64vk.exe and, in a subfolder called ‘Original’, a similar file with the same name, but 67MB. big. When swapping the two files, the game appeared to start normally, even when the .exe is opened on another PC, without the launcher logged into the buyer’s account. So no crack is needed for this very first version of the game.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Doom Eternal has a new version, which does not include the smaller .exe. It is unclear whether the ‘cracked’ version of the game was also distributed via Steam, but Reddit commenters here and there say not. It is also unclear how this modified .exe came with the game. The same happened with Rage 2, also on Bethesda’s own platform.
It could still be a trick to deceive illegal downloaders. Perhaps the game ‘senses’ that players have illegally downloaded the game and the game refuses service at a later, very inopportune moment.