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id's Rage Out In 2011, Looking Fine On Console

Yeah, an id game looks really impressive. You must be shocked!

Rage is the first game id Software has produced for multiple consoles, in-house, all at one time, so I guess you could call the first public Xbox 360 demo of Rage a historic moment. If you wanted to get all hyperbolic about it, I mean. Developers show off different versions of their unfinished games all the time, but when we're talking about the next game from such a traditionally technology-heavy and PC-focused company as id, I couldn't help but sit up and pay close attention.

Even a year or more from release--id has shockingly broken its "when it's done" tradition by actually stating firmly that this is a 2011 game--Rage was running at a rock-solid 60 frames per second on the 360. That may not sound like a huge feat, since that buttery smooth performance level has come to define the fast and precise shooting of the Modern Warfare series and its imitators. In those games, Infinity Ward made a lot of smart decisions between visual fidelity and frame rate to keep the experience smooth, wisely prioritizing playability over graphical flash.

But Rage is really a damn fine-looking game. It's almost startling to see a game that looks this good running this smoothly on a console, when most developers instead seem to prioritize more visual effects with a target of 30 frames per second these days. Chalk it up to some of that old John Carmack magic if you like, but it's at least exciting to see a game hitting high levels of both image quality and performance on a console at the same time, to say nothing at all of the gameplay itself.

Content-wise, id designers Tim Willits and Matt Hooper weren't showing much new stuff; they were still focusing on the town of Wellspring that I wrote about at QuakeCon last year. But I did get a little firmer impression of Rage as an open-world first-person game that lets you roam around and pick up missions from quest givers in what looks like a fairly loose manner.

One mission began in the office of the town's well-keeper. In the asteroid-decimated, irradiated wasteland, clean drinking water is in short supply, so this guy was understandably peeved that a group of Ghost Clan bandits had broken into the underground waterworks and were holding the down hostage under threat of poisoning the supply. In id fashion, the mission consisted of simply heading through the tunnels below and eradicating the bad guys, who navigated the level geometry very acrobatically by vaulting over railings, jumping down from higher ledges, and so forth. id says these behaviors are all dynamic and will happen differently each time you play a mission, which will hopefully vary the action a bit.

This being an id game, don't expect a lot of wild, imaginative weaponry in your primary arsenal. There is in fact a shotgun in here, and a pistol, and a machine gun--and while I didn't see one in this demo, I would place good money on the presence of a rocket launcher. But id is at least giving you the chance to tweak out the existing weapons with different types of ammo. In that underground level, there was an electrified bolt available for the crossbow that, naturally, you could use to zap groups of bandits hanging out in puddles of water. Later on, I saw a heavy-duty round for the pistol called the fat boy that will effectively one-shot all but the heaviest of enemies.

It might sound esoteric to laud a game's user interface this far ahead of release (if at all), but I really appreciate a snappy, responsive UI in an action game, and Rage has one. The console-style pop-up menus for weapon and ammo selection animate really quickly and get out of your way as soon as you make your selection, and they have a stylized, computer-interface sort of look to them, as if they're being displayed on the inside of your retinas. Similarly, the red damage effect around the sides of your vision forms a sort of cross-hatch pattern that makes it obvious you're taking damage but doesn't obscure your field of vision (which some other shooters seem to do these days). Indeed, id says that these effects tie into the nature of your character as a survivor of the underground "Ark" program, and have some kind of story-related connection to internal nanomachines you received as a member of that effort.

All the demos id has shown of Rage so far have been tightly controlled enough that I need to get my hands on the game and roam around for myself to form a clearer picture of exactly what it is as a whole. But the disparate snippets I've seen have me hoping that this is id breaking out of its corridor-shooting comfort zone and taking a stab at something a little different. Looks like we're down to only around one more year before we can grab the final product and find out. 
 
While you wait, check out what information Hooper was willing to divulge while speaking to me on, uh, a rotating love seat. Yeah, I don't know either.  
 
  
Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad
Rage is the first game id Software has produced for multiple consoles, in-house, all at one time, so I guess you could call the first public Xbox 360 demo of Rage a historic moment. If you wanted to get all hyperbolic about it, I mean. Developers show off different versions of their unfinished games all the time, but when we're talking about the next game from such a traditionally technology-heavy and PC-focused company as id, I couldn't help but sit up and pay close attention.

Even a year or more from release--id has shockingly broken its "when it's done" tradition by actually stating firmly that this is a 2011 game--Rage was running at a rock-solid 60 frames per second on the 360. That may not sound like a huge feat, since that buttery smooth performance level has come to define the fast and precise shooting of the Modern Warfare series and its imitators. In those games, Infinity Ward made a lot of smart decisions between visual fidelity and frame rate to keep the experience smooth, wisely prioritizing playability over graphical flash.

But Rage is really a damn fine-looking game. It's almost startling to see a game that looks this good running this smoothly on a console, when most developers instead seem to prioritize more visual effects with a target of 30 frames per second these days. Chalk it up to some of that old John Carmack magic if you like, but it's at least exciting to see a game hitting high levels of both image quality and performance on a console at the same time, to say nothing at all of the gameplay itself.

Content-wise, id designers Tim Willits and Matt Hooper weren't showing much new stuff; they were still focusing on the town of Wellspring that I wrote about at QuakeCon last year. But I did get a little firmer impression of Rage as an open-world first-person game that lets you roam around and pick up missions from quest givers in what looks like a fairly loose manner.

One mission began in the office of the town's well-keeper. In the asteroid-decimated, irradiated wasteland, clean drinking water is in short supply, so this guy was understandably peeved that a group of Ghost Clan bandits had broken into the underground waterworks and were holding the down hostage under threat of poisoning the supply. In id fashion, the mission consisted of simply heading through the tunnels below and eradicating the bad guys, who navigated the level geometry very acrobatically by vaulting over railings, jumping down from higher ledges, and so forth. id says these behaviors are all dynamic and will happen differently each time you play a mission, which will hopefully vary the action a bit.

This being an id game, don't expect a lot of wild, imaginative weaponry in your primary arsenal. There is in fact a shotgun in here, and a pistol, and a machine gun--and while I didn't see one in this demo, I would place good money on the presence of a rocket launcher. But id is at least giving you the chance to tweak out the existing weapons with different types of ammo. In that underground level, there was an electrified bolt available for the crossbow that, naturally, you could use to zap groups of bandits hanging out in puddles of water. Later on, I saw a heavy-duty round for the pistol called the fat boy that will effectively one-shot all but the heaviest of enemies.

It might sound esoteric to laud a game's user interface this far ahead of release (if at all), but I really appreciate a snappy, responsive UI in an action game, and Rage has one. The console-style pop-up menus for weapon and ammo selection animate really quickly and get out of your way as soon as you make your selection, and they have a stylized, computer-interface sort of look to them, as if they're being displayed on the inside of your retinas. Similarly, the red damage effect around the sides of your vision forms a sort of cross-hatch pattern that makes it obvious you're taking damage but doesn't obscure your field of vision (which some other shooters seem to do these days). Indeed, id says that these effects tie into the nature of your character as a survivor of the underground "Ark" program, and have some kind of story-related connection to internal nanomachines you received as a member of that effort.

All the demos id has shown of Rage so far have been tightly controlled enough that I need to get my hands on the game and roam around for myself to form a clearer picture of exactly what it is as a whole. But the disparate snippets I've seen have me hoping that this is id breaking out of its corridor-shooting comfort zone and taking a stab at something a little different. Looks like we're down to only around one more year before we can grab the final product and find out. 
 
While you wait, check out what information Hooper was willing to divulge while speaking to me on, uh, a rotating love seat. Yeah, I don't know either.  
 
  
Staff
Edited by Meltbrain

Sweet. I'm definitely interested to see how this turns out.

Posted by LosDub

the 1st pic reminds me alot of some raiders in the wasteland
Posted by drowsap

game looks crazy as hell lol

Edited by leviathan

lol at brad's face in the screencap 
Looks like a chipmunk!!!!

Posted by Vandersveldt

So close to quest...

Posted by SumDeus

I like!

Posted by Gizmo

So, it's basically a realistic-looking Borderlands?

Posted by CL60

Interesting.

Posted by Binman88

I like the first screenshot - The guy in the foreground's foot is sinking into the ground, and to the bottom left there's just a random foot lying there.

Posted by OmegaPirate

Im glad this is distancing itself from fallout 3 more and more!

Posted by ZmillA

oh man, I really want to see this graphical beast on my tv screen

Posted by nail1080

2011? don't care I'll probably be dead by then anyway

Posted by ghostNPC

Glad they still have the time to make the game they want. Time-frames suck.

Posted by Milkman
@Binman88 said:
" I like the first screenshot - The guy in the foreground's foot is sinking into the ground,
Hm, that seems like something they should check out before releasing the screen shot to the press.
Online
Posted by Xander

Fallout 3, Borderlands, New Vegas, Brink, Rage... this post apocalypse trend (although a long time in the making) seems to be hitting all at once in seemingly small amount of time. 
 
But heck, all the games are really good, so it's not like I am complaining.

Posted by Scooper

This and SSFIV were my 2 most anticipated games of 2010. I guess it's a shame I'll have to wait until next year to get my hands on this but if they can get it to look this good or even better and have 60 frames I'll be a very happy bunny indeed. RAGE and HL2:E3 are going to make 2011 an epic year for me.

Posted by fwylo

I can dig it.

Posted by CylonAndrew

There is supose to be a seccond completely different environment in this game if I can recall, kind of like in DooM. Its great that they are showing just a small peice of the game world rather than the entire fucking thing!

Posted by PenguinDust

I hope we get to see some fresh game play footage from E3 this year.  All I've seen is some proof-of-concept footage from 2007 and a trailer from 2008.

Posted by donaldkhogan
@Xander:  
 
I was thinking this too, it's like that time in the not-too-distant past where we had all natural disaster movies hitting at once.  The big difference here (like you said) is that those movies all sucked.  Seeing those screen shots of Rage really make me want to scream BORDERLANDS!!  but I know this will feel very different indeed when it hits the shelves, and I am definitely getting stoked. 
 
Oh and how right now all these Origin Stories in film, gotta say though, it's proven to be a pretty good trend, especially for the comic heroes.  
Posted by Jayzilla

i like the second picture because hey, girls still need to wear hot pants and work on their bodies and tans in a post apocalyptic universe!

Posted by xionpunk

Very nice, I can't wait to see more.

Posted by CaptainCody

I was pumped for this back in 09, but now that is due for 2011 I dunno, least Fall this year is good.
Posted by ashriels

I look forward to this game, hopefully a public beta between now and release date?
 
*crosses fingers*

Posted by MisterMouse

looks awesome.

Posted by RobotHamster

 Nice.

Posted by Xander
@donaldkhogan:  
 
The other thing to note is that Rage has had an extremely long development cycle.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, Rage was announced on August 2, 2007 at QuakeCon, and Borderlands was first revealed in the September 2007 issue of Game Informer magazine.  Both games were announced virtually at the same time, so it's not as if they are really jumping on a bandwagon; it all seems to be just very coincidental timing. 
Posted by AlwaysAngry

This seems like a PS3 game to me. If they really are focusing on making the graphics good, (and by those pictures, they're really good) then the PS3 version will have better graphics. Like Far Cry 2.

Posted by rjayb89

Man, Brad's face is PHAT.

Online
Posted by flannelbeard

it kind of reminds me a bit of borderlands and fallout. not a bad thing. following with interest...

Posted by Meowayne

Well, look who's gone multiplatform. In 2012, we will have Blizzard as well. Mark my words!

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

Yes, because it's John who wrote every line of code for the game and why it runs so well.  
/facepalm 
Look, I respect the guy, but games aren't made by individuals, they are made by teams, large and small. 
 
Glad that id is making a game that you won't remember as "that really plastic, fake looking game", like their other more recent games. Definitely looks great. I'm excited to see how it handles.

Posted by Jimbo

They're owned now; they'll prioritze platforms however they're told to.  Which is to say, they'll make a 360 game and port it to everything else.  Rage 2 will be a cover-based TPS.

Posted by Brunchies

This really reminds me of Borderlands.

Posted by Hot_Karl

I know this has been echoed a few times here, but that second pic made me immediately think of Borderlands. I'm sure this'll be a way different game, but still the similarities are striking.

Posted by MjHealy

I thought this was due for this year, ah well. Lookin' good.

Posted by j_meyer_13

Slowly getting more interested in this game... no idea what platform I'll end up getting it on, though, lol.

Posted by JoelTGM

Can't wait.  I want to see new gameplay footage though.

Posted by CreepyRaperGuy

Looks like another year :(

Posted by SPACETURTLE

Whoo, I'm excited about Rage!

Posted by dvorak

This far away, it's really hard to get interested.

Posted by OrgunUK

The rotating background...messing with my M I N D @_@

Posted by Raven_Sword

huh, I remember when peopel where worried about the 360 version of this game. Guess its fine after all. Still interested in comaprisons of it though.
Posted by twhalen

I was sure it would be announced for this fall. Oh well, I've waited five and a half years for id's 'next game', another year won't do much harm. 
I'm really looking forward to exploring an open, side quest filled world with id's simple FPS overlay. Borderlands had a bazillion guns, but I only focused on any two of them for the majority of the game. I think Borderlands would have done better to have had one weapon model and then different ammo types, so then you wouldn't end up with the fire SMG, the electirc SMG, and so on, and have to switch and/or drop them all the time. Instead, it would have been more practical  to have one SMG with the ability to switch ammo types for that one model. All that to say, I think Rage will be the preferable wasteland-open world-FPS game. I'm right with their idea of not having a long list of weapons, but instead keeping it low.

Posted by ShaolinSpade

im still curious if it'll come out on a thousand discs for 360 or if ill have to install 90 gigs worth of game before i play it.

Posted by Mercanis
@Brunchies said:
" This really reminds me of Borderlands. "
And that's why it looks awesome.
Posted by DSale

The rotating love seat is awesome! 
 
Where the heck are you guys?

Posted by SuperSecretAgenda

Look, if you're wearing that kind of outfit in a post-apocalyptic universe, you're asking for it. 
 
Or maybe that's her job?

Posted by gunslingerNZ

Something about the character design just seems really old fashioned to me.

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