id Software has long been considered the originator of the first-person shooter genre by many, and this accolade is something the developer doesn’t take lightly.
As the forerunner of the genre with hallowed titles such as DOOM, Quake, and Wolfenstein on its resume, the firm decided it wanted to take shooters to the next level by elevating and expanding the gameplay experience. Thus, the idea of RAGE was born, and the developers – long known as the darlings of the PC world – built a new engine, ID Tech 5, in order to bring the shooter to not only the PC crowd but consoles as well.
During the Eurogamer Expo last week, id Software gave a presentation of RAGE, showing off loads of post-apocalyptic shooter, which is filled with scenic vistas; more weapons than Mad Max ever dreamt of; an engaging story; and plenty of vehicular manslaughter.
The developer plans to fully support RAGE post-release with downloadable content, which is good news, but as far as what gamers can expect in terms of multiplayer and co-op, well, everyone will have to wait until next year to find out what id has in store on that front.
Tim Willits, the creative director for the game along with senior producer Jason Kim were on-hand after the presentation to chat with VG247 a bit regarding the title, and you can read what all they had to tell us below.
[Interview by Joe Anderson]
Can you explain they story behind the creation of RAGE?
Tim Willits: RAGE is a brand IP from id Software, it’s the first new IP we have made in 10 years. Our studio created the (FPS) genre with Wolfenstein, followed by Doom and then Quake. With titles like those behind us, people often ask us, why RAGE? Well, at its core RAGE is a first person game, but we wanted to elevate and expand the gameplay experience. We have vehicle combat, racing, a much deeper story than we’ve ever had in the past, and we also have all sorts of over-the-top, colourful characters, for you to interact with.
All of this is powered on our brand new technology titled, ID Tech 5. The cornerstone of ID Tech 5 is that it’s a true cross-platform technology, PC, 360 and PS3.
Another cornerstone to the tech is that we have this new texture system which we call mega texture, and this allows us to uniquely paint, and uniquely texture everything in the world, so every new environment that you visit is different.
So there is a brand new story, brand new technology and a brand new property from id Software.
How have you balanced the single and multiplayer aspects of the game?
Willits: RAGE is mostly a single player experience, but we do have multiplayer, although we are not talking about this now, we will next year.
The multiplayer will be different from what people expect from id Software, it will be different from DOOM and games like that.
It won’t be as big as the single player game, but it definitely has a RAGE feel to it.
What would you say is unique about RAGE?
Willits: The unique aspect of RAGE is how we push all the separate aspects of the game together, with the vehicles and the racing, the ability to upgrade your cars, but then you can also have these weapons and engineering items.
There’s so much to do and there’s a lot of player choices, so it really makes for a unique experience.
Is there any co-op mode included within the game?
Willits: Well that’s multiplayer, so we are going to talk about that next year.
How have you handled the weapons within the game, are there many different types? Can you upgrade weapons?
Jason Kim: Yes we have a lot of different weapons within the game.
We wanted to give the player a compelling reason to use each one, so we don’t have an unlimited type of weapons that you tweak, adjust or anything like that. We do have different weapons that allow you to take advantage of certain situations.
Each weapon has a different ammo type, we have some of the standard ones, that you would typically find, but it’s very ingrained into what the story is about. You have things like the pistol that has different types of ammo, but you can also get other ammo types which are more expensive to purchase, but can be used in a different situation.
As for the weapons, we have shotguns, machine guns and we wouldn’t be id, if we didn’t have the big, kick ass gun for you to use. We also have things such as engineering items, and this is pretty cool.
In addition to your weapons, you have these supplemental gadgets, and once you have the plans to build these and the parts to build them all, you can make any number of these and you can use them anywhere in the game. So, when you are going shooting and you want to take a certain weapon, you aren’t limited that, as you have things like RC bomb cars and Sentry bots at your disposal.
How do vehicles fit into the game?
Willits: The wasteland is like a plate, so you will be sent to different areas, and we have no fast travel within the game. So hopefully you will have bought your vehicle, fixed it up and you will make your way across the wasteland.
Along the way you will encounter other cars or an ambush, there’s always something. We try to make getting from point A to B as much fun as when you reach your destination, although we never force the player into doing something they don’t want to do.
Is there any character progression within the game?
Jason Kim: There are opportunities for the character to explore different areas, but at its heart RAGE is an action shooter, so we want you to feel like you are a hero in an action movie almost.
You have his directed story experience, where you come out of the Arc, trying to figure out the World, before making friends with a local settler, helping him find supplies and helping him out, so he can keep himself safe from the bandits.
Later on, when you reach the big towns, you start increasing your load out of ammo, weapons, gadgets and improving your vehicles. So this allows you to move through the story arc in a way you would see a movie unfold.
Instead of being that passive person you are the making choices and experiencing different situations, but it’s a directed experience.
We do have side stories that you can do and which give you a flavour for what the game is about, but these aren’t critical for you to complete in order to finish RAGE.
Are you planning a DLC for the game?
Willits: Yes. The framework is there, and we plan on supporting the game soon after launch. We do think this is an important brand for us and we want to maximise the brand and also let people see that we are committed to this product.
So, we are planning on supporting RAGE and when we know more about that we will talk about it.
You say RAGE is an important brand for you, does this mean you are already thinking about a sequel?
Willits: Well one of the things we have done with RAGE is make the universe much richer than we have with our other games.
So, you can imagine that stuff happened before you got there, and stuff will happen after you leave. We wanted to make a rich World that we can expand on through iPhone games, other platform games, sequels and prequels.
We have a lot of power with the game.
Will RAGE be supporting 3D?
Willits: We haven’t made that decision as yet.
Finally, why is RAGE better than any other game?
Willits: Because when you put your $60 down, it is not light game, there lots to do, its very rich, compelling. It will also be supported by DLC in the future. In summary, it’s a well polished, highly well executed game from id.
RAGE is slated for a 2011 release on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.