Beautiful game engines for less than beautiful beasts roaming beautifully grimy corridors. From their birth in 1992, this has been the id way. Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake: grim, grimmer, grimmest. However, if up until now their artistic direction was based solely on Event Horizon, then Rage marks an influx of new DVDs onto the id film shelf. The rocky canyons of the post-apocalyptic world and mutant brigades that patrol them are straight from The Hills Have Eyes (although the main fellow from the screens could easily be Sloth from The Goonies). The ramshackle outposts – full of traders, grizzly prospectors and showboating race organizers – have a distinct Firefly tone to them. Flowing across the land are the dirt tracks, and the dusty veins through which the Mad Max lifeblood flows.
You’ve got guns, but you’ve got a buggy, too. Sound like anyone you know? Half-Life 2 and Borderlands come to mind. Rage will sit between the two: less linear than the first, more shackled than the second. id have a tale to tell, but there’s room for play. Scavenging, racing, vehicular fights (think Twisted Metal) – sure, there’s a tyrannical baddie to rise up against (an evil force rebuilding the world as they see fit), but don’t let that get in the way of fun.
Rage features plenty of uncharted waters for id: story (told through Half-Life 2-esque observations, opposed to heavy-handed exposition), sunlight and, of course, vehicles. Your faithful friend through all of this, your car will be nurtured and upgraded into the perfect tool for tackling the harsh landscape. The devs repeatedly point out that the car to on-foot ratio favors the latter, so expect the buggy to take on a similar role to Zelda’s Epona: the steed is essential, but Zelda is hardly a horse simulator.