It’s a beautiful day in Sydney, we’re just getting into spring and it’s a wonderful day to spend going to the Sydney Opera House. What a startling contrast to go from beautiful scenery and weather to see id’s new FPS set in a bleak post-apocolyptic future, RAGE. Admittedly RAGE is beautiful in it’s own right. The world is wonderfully realised and idTech 5 is one hell of an engine to see in action, but I think you get the idea.
After being ushered into the hall, we were treated to a trailer showcasing id’s considerable carrier. Starting with Commander Keen and going through the chronology covering games like Doom and Wolfenstein, most of which made the crowd erupt in cheers until we eventually landed on RAGE. I at first thought this would be just a RAGE event, and while that was the primary focus we certainly spent a long time learning about id and RAGE’s Creative Director Tim Willits.
The first thing Willits states is what he was instructed not to talk about. Namely, Doom 4, Skyrim and why games are so expensive in Australia. His timing was perfect and everyone in the audience laughed. Tim Willits is a charming guy. It’s interesting to state that he got his start in the industry by creating levels in Doom with the level editor. This is something that Willits championed during the session as a great way of getting your foot in the door, however he stressed that you should finish projects before presenting them. Nobody hires someone with half done ideas. While talking about his carrier with id before he eventually became the Creative Director for RAGE, Willits gave lots of insightful information like, “the real reason you couldn’t use the flashlight as well as a gun [in Doom 3] was because it ran too damn slow” or continually referencing how id could have trademarked the term “deathmatch” as they coined it for Doom.
After his intro and presentation he jumped into the real meat, which was a live demo of RAGE. It’s interesting to note that he was running the game off of a 360 and not a PC. RAGE looked and ran beautifully. The idTech 5 engine obviously can hold it’s own with the big boys and ran buttery smooth. We were treated to the first mission to the game, but with more weapons and ammo then what will be available at the outset. You have different ammo types for every weapon. Most notable that was shown off was the mind control bolt (for the crossbow) where you can take control of a character and when you’re done you can blow them up. Lots of things blow up in RAGE and it’s certainly better for it. It wouldn’t be an id game if it wasn’t over the top. In addition to the mind control, there was also an electro and dynamite bolts as well as grenade ammo for a shotgun which looked a little bit like liquid death. The mission required you to drive to a location using an ATV, and the driving physics looked quite good, going into a 3rd person perspective. Willits noted that there are only 2 races that you’re required to participate in during the single player campaign and neither of them are extraordinarily difficulty to accomplish, so if it’s not your thing you don’t have to spend too much time on it.
While in the mission a game mechanic was shown off using a defibrillator when you’re close to death. There’s a mini game to accomplish this and the better you do the more health you receive when revived, not to mention it electrocutes anyone around you if you can pull it off to give you bit of a breather. There was one exclusive bit of info for Australia that was broken during the event and that was the hidden rooms. There is a hidden room for every id franchise in the game and each room mirrors how the game looked when released. The Wolfenstein room was shown off and when the door opened you walk into a small room that could have been set in the original Wolfenstein 3D with giant pixelated tiles. It’s certainly jarring to see but a fantastic bit of fan service. Willits also let it drop that there’s also an easter egg for the popular AMC show Breaking Bad, which featured the character Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) playing RAGE during this season.
After the demo finished, Willits did a quick Q&A with the audience and talked about MOD support. Namely yes, RAGE will absolutely release a SDK and will support MODS for the PC version. You can expect the SDK “soonish after we ship”. Willits made a note stating that it will be a little difficult for people to create their own “Megatextures” but will find it much easier to create layers onto existing ones rather easily.
All in all RAGE looks pretty impressive and has come together rather nicely. I’m excited to see id move into a space that’s not just filled with standard FPS’. I like the idea of id branching out and adding RPG elements into their games. The game looks beautiful and runs like butter. RAGE is due for release next month.