This is id Software’s first properly new game since 1996. Just think about that. Various versions of Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein have marched from id’s Texas offices over the past 12 years, yet the team’s creative muscles haven’t flexed on anything fresh for more than a decade. Already, though, id is engaged in some firefighting as the game’s nature - perhaps understandably - has been misunderstood. “Rage is, at its core, a first-person action game,” says Lead Designer Tim Willits. “It has elements of exploration, it has adventure elements tied with vehicle combat. But it’s not a vehicle combat game: it’s a first-person game at its heart, at its core - that’s what we do at id.”

The setting is definitely Earth, but a post-apocalyptic vision of our terran turf, many years after a catastrophic comet impact. Id aren’t keen to give away the whole picture just yet, but you’ll play a character from the past, part of a plan to rebuild society after the comet hit. “Your primary goal is just to survive,” explains Willits. “To learn about the conflicts, the factions - the bandits, the mutants. And then as the story progresses, you discover that there’s something bigger going on. You’ll work to establish the correct structure to rebuild society.”

We expect it’ll be far from RPG conventions like running retrieval errands for mutated citizens, but that plenty of more-or-less-friendly folks in the wastelands will ask you to carry out missions, trade, or race - or just shoot you in the face. “It’s more story-driven than our previous games,” reckons Willits. “Missions are based on parts of the story, though you have choices. You can do things at your pace, but there’s a strong story, and you follow that story.”

As id are the fathers of deathmatch, we’d expect 32-player rocket-laden apocalyptic arenas as standard-issue multiplayer content for an id release. But with a new IP comes a different approach: though it’s primarily a single-player game, cooperative multiplayer is a big focus. If id can reach the slickness of Borderlands’ drop-in-drop-out buddy action, it could have a hit on its hands.

+ More big guns and shouty mutants from id, and a welcome new style and setting for the dev.
– Will all the genre-bending dilute the gunplay?

Sep 26, 2008