So our weekend at Eurogamer left us with much to talk about, as is painfully evident in our latest EUROGAMER SPECIAL Podcast. One thing we touched upon, delicately, in this week’s rambling was the session with Tim Willits, in which he willited on, exclusively, about id software’s latest game ‘RAGE’, the angriest first person shooter since Quake turned all green and started talking in monotonal grunts. That’s a Hulk reference by the way. Just so we’re clear.
If you’re unaware who Tim Willits is, he’s one of them developer types, who happens to have worked at id Software since that glorious age, the mid-nineties, and moreover, has worked on Quake, and all its many, many Quake children, as well as Doom III, and is now touting the aforementioned latest IP, RAGE. We took our seats in a rather large hall, right next to some rather loud speakers, to which the soundman had a rather flexible idea of adequate volume, to listen to what Mr. Willits had to say and show. It was interesting.
First and foremost, our mate Tim told the masses before him that fell into the category of AVID id FANS, there was nothing to be afraid of. Whilst experimenting with plenty of new ideas in Rage, he says his team are going to stick firmly to the id stylistic, which hopefully doesn’t mean being lost in the same corridor for six hours again. He then reassured us all that that was not even slightly the case. They’ve noted the repetitive elements of previous games, and have vowed to eliminate this by using MEGATEXTURE…thingy. And no, I didn’t even make that up. Well, the thingy part, but the mega texture technique is the genuine article, one that will, Willits claims, allow the player to never see the same texture twice, making each environment feel different and fresh and new. The brand spanking new engine, idTech5, will facilitate all this and turn it all into the loveliest looking slice of loveliness ever. Probably.
To back that up, the opening scenes of the demo we’re shown look utterly stunning. Guesty’s face got a little bit melted off. It’s a post apocalyptic setting, that fresh and original old chestnut, however in this particular dreary vision of the future, not so many people died as a result. It was a non-fatal apocalypse, the best kind. From what we’re told, you’re cryogenically frozen underground for years, allowing you to live through one of those devastating meteor strikes, and finally emerge into a world filled with mutants and monsters, raiders and scavengers and shanty houses and vehicles made out of straggling bits of metal. If they’d have told you the game was based in South London, you might not have questioned it. The colours are a brash, vivacious tone, reminiscent of Borderlands in their range and posterization, minus the cell shaded art style of course, which lends the feel of a more extravagant post apocalypse, one that fits well with the developers previous approaches to shooters.
As mentioned, id are taking steps to move away from the trapped-in-the-corridor-shooter envelope they’ve licked themselves into, in Rage’s case by adding in several new main features including a large RACING component.
The vehicles that will allegedly be pivotal to the gameplay can also be used to take part in a large array of races on different circuits across the game world. Winning these will give you currency, which, in turn, makes you filthy rich and also opens up the other hinge of this multi-gameplay-mechanic door. You have an inventory, and you can buy and sell equipment and weapons, as well as vehicle parts and upgrades. Along with the races, there will be several mini-games based in the towns you’ll encounter along the path of the game’s plot. These, and odd-job type side quests (that is, ‘handyman services’, as opposed to ‘be a small Asian man who throws his hat at things’, although that does sound arguably more fun) will fund your dubious money-making racquet. Besides those typical weapon and vehicle upgrades, you’ll also be able to purchase interesting ‘Engineering Items’, for which you can read ‘fun mechanical things that make your enemies die quicker’. We’re told these will include RC cars with bombs on their heads, and deployable turrets.
Wrapping up, Willits emphasizes RAGE will be a cross platform title, and will be as just as good on all the consoles, PS3 included. The presence of such emphasizing though, sort of suggests it might not be. Questions from the AVID id FAN- encumbered audience uncover there will be no specific melee weapons, however all weapons will come complete with a melee function, and the 360 SINGLE PLAYER campaign will be split onto two discs.
With id being so infamous for their shooters, it’d be good for them to finally come up with a decent one again. So I am thoroughly behind Tim and his team for RAGE, the dynamicity injected into the gameplay through the use of these new features will hopefully leave us with a deeper, more complex, yet solid and satisfying first person shooter come its launch. Lastly, the game is slated for a September 2011 release, and frankly, I’m excited.