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RAGEFACE: Tim Willits on id’s new IP and 20th anniversary

Friday, 7 October 2011 18:04 GMT By Johnny Cullen

id Software creative director Tim Willits talks to Johnny Cullen about the studio’s 20th anniversary, the next generation and the launch of a new IP, as RAGE releases today in the UK.

RAGE

Developed at Texas-based id Software alongside DOOM 4.

id’s first new IP in 15 years following Quake in 1996.

Announced at Quakecon 2007 in Dallas.

Was originally to be published by EA Partners, but Zenimax and Bethesda took over publishing rights five months after buying the developer in December 2009.

Releases today in the UK for PS3, 360 and PC.

Tim Willits is optimistic that the game he’s worked on for the past five years, id Software’s first new IP in 15 years since Quake’s original release in 1996, will turn out well in a crowded holiday period. And it seems like that might be the case.

Despite a few issues with the PC version, RAGE is holding up relatively well on the scoring front, getting an 84 on PS3, 83 on 360 and 82 on PC.

I spoke to him before the game’s release this week at Eurogamer Expo a couple of weeks back. Here’s what he said.

VG247: After nearly five years, give or take, you’ve approached the finishing line on RAGE. How does that feel?

Tim Willits: Very exciting. The game’s all wrapped up, we have people playing it and they’re having a fun time. It’s very exciting to have the 20-year anniversary and to launch a brand new game. It continues the id legacy of doing what we want and we have new technology, a new paradigm of cross-platform. We’ve always been PC-centric, but now we’re not. It’s a new game; we’re very excited.

But it’s so long since you announced it. I think it was Pete [Hines, VP of PR and marketing, Bethesda] that said recently you guys had announced it too early. I know you were initially with EA Partners before you were bought by ZeniMax, but what would be your opinion: do you think you announced the game too early?

It’s always easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but no. The thing is John [Carmack, id tech boss] loves talking about cool stuff. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. For us, now we’re right around the corner and doing these events, the game’s looking great, plays great. Whether you’re talking about it early or late, or you announce this or you announce that, or you have this campaign or that campaign, all it comes down to the game being fun. And the game’s a heck lot of fun.

How will you feel if there’s a wrong turn with the reception at release?

This game’s not much different than when we released DOOM 3, Quake III, Quake II. People’s anticipations of what the game is, people’s expectations of what id Software does and has done in the past – yeah, we don’t let those things stress us out. But I do think RAGE will change people’s perceptions of the company. It’s a really different type of experience that we’ve done in the past. Yes, it’s a first-person shooter, but it’s a lot different. I’m proud of the fact we don’t do exactly the same game every single time.

Lots of game companies do that all the time: we don’t. So it’s very exciting to work on something new and exciting.

It’s the 20th anniversary of id. You basically made the FPS genre; you’ve said that yourself. From a personal perspective, how much have you enjoyed seen id grow?

I’m excited. I’ve been working at the company for 17 years and there are still times when I have to stop and pinch myself and say to myself, ‘I’m making videogames for 17 years, this is awesome!’ And the world is shrinking and I go on these tours and everybody knows what we’re working on.

“But I do think RAGE will change people’s perceptions of the company. It’s a really different type of experience that we’ve done in the past. Yes, it’s a first-person shooter, but it’s a lot different. I’m proud of the fact we don’t do exactly the same game every single time. Lots of game companies do that all the time: we don’t.”

And we release globally now. We have new global markets, global marketing campaigns. It’s so exciting, and it’s thrilling to continue to work in the industry and continue to make the games I love to play. And the industry itself is really hot right now: there’s millions of gamers, millions of new gamers that coming onto the scene. There’s lots of opportunities, not just for the guys who make the big mega-hits, but for people working on mobile games, social games.

The future is very, very bright, for not only id, but really for the industry in general. It’s a good time to be in the industry.

But there seems to be a bit of a downturn recently. Sales are down.

That’s our global economy. But some of these games are just awesome. Every year, games just get better and better. So, I think the future’s bright. Yeah, the economy maybe beating everyone down a little bit, but the games sure are not taking a hit.

There’s so many AAA games coming out these days. We’re approaching the holiday season, and there’s going to be a worry that a couple of these games are going to crash and burn. Are you worried?

We’re the only game in the top ten that is a new IP. People, frankly, may be getting tired of whatever games they’ve already been playing. But it’s much better to be at the front of people’s minds than to be long forgotten. The exciting thing about RAGE is that it’s not part three of something; it doesn’t follow the same cookie cutter formula that a lot of other mega-hits follow these days.

We could have taken the safe route and just kept making DOOM games for the past 20 years, but I think gamers are very intelligent. They know when there’s new things. I have high-degree confidence we’ll do very well.

Remind me, when did you guys go multi? It was DOOM 3 on Xbox?

Well, yeah. Vicarious Visions did the [Xbox version] of DOOM 3, which was alright. But that’s one of the reasons we wanted to make id Tech 5 from the ground up. Start with a true, multi-core, multi-processing-type engine. A lot of developers have faced hurdles making their game run on PS3 or 360 because of older technologies; we’ve side-stepped because we’ve built everything up from the ground up.

RAGE’s launch clip.

And it’s really exciting that all the assets, textures and levels that we’ve developed for one system work across all the systems. That is the future: cross-platform. It’s difficult to develop a game for one platform, especially if you’re a new IP. It’s definitely the future. You’ll want to throw that net as far and as wide as you can.

I want to stay on multi-plat for a second. Todd [Hollenshead, id CEO] mentioned at QuakeCon that going multi-platform enabled a richer experience with id’s games compared to being PC-exclusive. What’s your perspective on that?

Yeah, I’m not really sure what Todd was talking about. For us, our objective for RAGE was to deliver the same experience on all the systems. That’s probably what he meant. You’ll have to email Todd to get clarification on what he said.

You got into a lot of trouble recently over a certain DRM comment.

No, I’ll clarify that. I was saying I personally feel that I think games being connected online all the time is great. I have zero issue with that. That has nothing to do with DRM. I think people were just being confused. Being online, always being connected, is the way of the future. I still think it’s great. RAGE has standard Steam DRM.

As you’d say in England, ‘Not to get their britches all bunched up.’ But me personally? Yeah, I think being connected is great. I love it. I get updates, all my stats would be there.

Consumers these days, they don’t really like being always connected because there are always going to be times when you’re not, and you want to play games like Assassin’s Creed or Diablo. That’s where the problem lies.

OK. When are you not connected?

On a plane, or on a bus, or in a car, and you want to play Diablo III!

That’s the silliest thing I’ve… Yeah, that’s lame.

I could play StarCraft II on my Macbook if that had offline.

But do you? Really? No, but the possibility’s there.

Well the possibility is silly. I mean really.

Fair enough, I’ll drop it.

[Tim laughs.]

Where do you intend to go next-gen with id Tech 5?

This is more of a John-type question, but the great thing about id Tech 5 is it’s very scaleable. John believes, and I believe John, that we will use this kernel, the core of id Tech 5, well into future. Heck, we can go on for ten years.

Tim Willits after his EG Expo
Behind Closed Doors
session.

Look at Quake III: Quake III tech is still powering some of the greatest games out there. Yes, they don’t call it Quake III tech anymore, but you know what I’m saying. We’re very excited.

We have no clue about the next generation of consoles. We have no inside information, but we’re very confident that our technology will easily scale right into the next generation. We made some very conscious efforts to create a tech that will get us well into the future. What about Wii U? Is that something id would be interested in?

To be honest, I haven’t even looked at it. The Bethesda booth at E3 was next to Nintendo, but I never made it over there. I have no clue.

Could you still outsource games now you’re with Bethesda? Is that something you’d like to do?

That’s a decision that’s above my head. Right now, I’m just focussing on getting RAGE done and then I’m going to help the guys finish up DOOM 4. So, whatever the organisation wants to do with those, I’ll just follow suit.

How is DOOM 4 going, by the way? I have to ask.

That’s question two! That’s all I can say about that.

Answer me this at least: is it something we could hear about by the end of the year after RAGE has released?

Come on, you think I’m going to answer some questions about DOOM? They’ll have to wait.

Tim Willits is creative director of id Software. RAGE is out now for PS3, 360 and PC. Watch the first half-hour of the game here.

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12 Comments

  1. fearmonkey

    You should have said if there is an internet outage, you cant pay the bill that month, etc. If my internet goes down, I am always happy that i can start up the xbox or PC and play a game if I want. If that were taken away, that’s not cool. Also, some internet providers are placing caps on monthly usage and i don’t want my average game playing adding to any data limit, even if its a very small amount, eventually it add up.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. warspite

    johhny, no offense, but you really need to get rid of that mustache. lol

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DarkElfa

    I have come across fewer AAA title games as broken out of the gate as this one.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Kabby

    Get hold of him for a follow up interview in a months time and ask about how Rage’s launch went.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    @3

    Couldn’t agree more especially for the PC and all the driver issues.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DSB

    They obviously gave it the wrong name. The real title should’ve been HUBRIS.

    Rage is what it does, hubris is what it is.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Johnny Cullen

    @1 I literally realised that and shouted the biggest d’oh the world could ever hear.

    @2 Ha! None taken. :D It’s going before I go to London at the end of the month. :D

    #7 3 years ago
  8. HauntaVirus

    Johnny OWNS!

    #8 3 years ago
  9. IL DUCE

    @2 Idk if Johnny can even consider that a mustache…lol

    #9 3 years ago
  10. IL DUCE

    And after reading the article just reminds me of how stupid all the DRM complaining is…it prevents piracy so you don’t feel jipped when you buy a game and someone else gets it for free by stealing it…but also, play a stupid tablet game or game on your phone if you’re not able to play a game on your laptop, that’s what they are there for…it’s just so stupid…and if youre not on a plane, get a mobile 4G hotspot or something and play using that…there are solutions to the inconvenience, people are just too lazy and too cheap to find ways to always be connected so they just complain…the only real problem is on a plane you will not be able to play, which may be inconvenient for people who take long trips a lot but BFD…you obviously signed up for that situation otherwise you wouldn’t be in it so you’re to blame…

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Johnny Cullen

    Ah poopy. Not only are people insulting my amazing moustache, the article’s broken. :( I’ll fix it up again now.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Johnny Cullen

    There we go. Fixed her all up.

    #12 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]