RAGE Developer Session

The bar has been set so high for the Post Apocalyptic genre, it’s almost in space. You really can’t talk about a new game with this setting without saying, ‘Hmm, so it’s going to be like Fallout, then?’ or ‘Ahh, a Borderlands clone’. Metro 2033, Fuel, and recent release, Enslaved: Odyssey to the west all follow a similar theme – world ravaging disaster, hardly any humans left, a fight to survive on the wrecked planet, and maybe the odd mutant or twenty. So what makes RAGE stand out from the sea of nuke aftermaths and polluted air? I checked out the Developer Session at the Eurogamer Expo to find out.

Tim Willits (Creative Director of id Software) led the presentation with Jason Kim (Senior Producer) playing through sections of the game. An outlay of the story was explained first, basically a scenario of what would have happened if an asteroid, due to miss the earth in the future, had actually hit. You’ve been hiding in a bunker for years, waiting for the dust to settle, and when you finally make your way up to the world’s surface, you emerge to find it all in a bit of a mess. You also find out that out of all the pods hiding underground, you are the lone survivor, which is rather unfortunate (or lucky, depending on how you look at it).

The town of Wellspring will act as a 'base' for you, and is a starting point for some missions.
The town of Wellspring will act as a 'base' for you, and is a starting point for some missions.

The first section Jason showed us was in a town in the wasteland called Wellspring, before he was sent on a mission to stop bandits from poisoning the water supply. Tim explained that each town, and section of the game, should look and feel different to each other. It does have the eerie, beautiful-mess feel about it, and from what I could tell, ran pretty smoothly, both in interactions with NPCs and loading between screens. We also saw a bit of Tombstones, a gambling mini game, so it seems that money, or at least some form of currency, is still important in this world. We were then given a demonstration of the vehicles in RAGE, from a buggy with hardly any armour, to ‘The Caprino’, which looked like it could take (and dish out) a fair bit of punishment! As they’ve concentrated quite a lot of effort on the driving sections of this game, it’ll be interesting to see how these handle in missions.

Onto the mission, then. Basically this bit was a combat demo. We were shown how weapons could be made from engineering items, and we saw that using Electro Bolts, we could shoot water instead of wasting ammo on individual enemies ( hmm, how very… Bioshock). An example of creating weapons out of engineering items was also made as we saw bandits get blown up by all sorts of creative things. Then we were moved on to the last section, the Dead City. This is the city where nobody comes out alive, apparently. I have a feeling our character will break that rule. Basically we didn’t see a lot before a huge-ass monster took over the screen, and that was the end. I must say it does all look fantastic.

There will be many different bandit clans, fighting for territory.

Prior to the session, Jake and I managed to bag an interview with Jason Kim, and here it is:

Could you please give us an outline of what this game is about?

The brief overview is that this is a post apocalyptic – I hate saying that cause everyone’s like woah, how is that different from Fallout? They’re different games *laughs* – Rage is about you, the player, coming out into this world, as part of this thing called the Eden Project, because of an asteroid coming to destroy earth. You’re in a pod til the dust settles; thousands were buried but when you come out it’s not like you imagined. Everyone that stayed above ground is trying to survive, many people died. We don’t know where these mutants came from, we will find out through the course of the game. There are bandits trying to fight for supplies, different types of bandit clans, and pockets of civilisation. Early on you have to forge relationship with settlements, and once you get trust, you can start building an arsenal of weapons, and find out more of what happened. There’s an army present called The Authority, I cant talk about a lot, as I’m not going to reveal too much of the game, but towards the middle section you find out more and more about how it’s all related to the current situation.

How long will this game be?

Long enough. It’s about as long as you want it to be. It’s difficult to answer, as we haven’t done a full playthrough together in the right sequence.  People will want to play differently, farm for money, maybe you need your car fixed u, you’ll need to gain some cash. There are different minigames, for example one where you need to save the sherriff. Mutants are trying to attack, but if you roll the right combination of dice you will attack the mutants. It’s a simple minigame but you wager some cash. You can loot bandits for cash, and various parts which you can make gadgets out of. A new thing for us; it’s not a weapon, but a gadget. Once you have schematics and ingredients you can make gadgets, easily make those, and you can put any number of these down, instead of running and gunning. In the demo we show a turret. Instead of getting a gun and shooting, blow ’em up!

You can shoot, or get creative with a large range of engineering tools.

iD Tech 5 – tell us about it and why is it going to revolutionise FPS?

It’s not a revolutionary leap in technology, all things that could be done with games, are pretty much being done. As far as hardware and visual quality gameplay goes, it’s all being done. This is not a revolutionary technology, but it is evolutionary. We can make a perfectly unique area without any risk to performance, or whether it will fit on system memory, just virtulisted textures streaming off. That is John’s genius, and a good evolution for us. To have one of our artists to just go beserk! In the past, we couldn’t do that, it was busting out the texture budget, we had to say ‘take that stuff off.’ Now we can go nuts and put everything everywhere. Instead of having white walls everywhere, you can have a bloody mess. Ghost Bandits are acrobatic and savage, and you can put bloody streaks on the wall, put a body there, and a blood pool on the ground. You can use the same texture as in the rest of the game, but it will look unique, from anything else, and it doesn’t add to the texture budget.

Combining the shooting and racing genres – which audience are you aiming to appeal to mostly?

Cars are a complimentary piece but they are not the core of the game. As far as our communication to press and even to consumers, we dont want people to be confused. It is an action shooter. You’re going to get a bunch of guns, different ammo types, engineering items, and thats what the game is about. When you are moving about in the world, it will be action story-telling. We dont want to bind the players to some non-interactive scenes, I’m not saying they are bad but that’s not what we want to do. We want you to be free to move around, you know? Maybe I dont want to listen to this guy, maybe I’ll move on, speak to Sally the Bartender and do jobs, play minigames, you can do that. I like racing games, I know other people like racing games, this is not what this is about but it’s in there. We really want to give something that’s complimentary, but not the core.

They've done a lot with the environment – the visuals look very promising.

You say you’ve been getting a lot of comparisons to Fallout and Borderlands – what sets it apart?

The main difference, when you look at these games – Fallout is an RPG, and goes deep into player stats, Borderlands is RPG-ish, closer to First Person Action. You have lots of weapons, and you adjust the stats to get to one goal. We want to give the player our design. We’re not Borderlands or Fallout, this is one of the best looking games that I’ve seen. I know I work on it but I’ve seen other games, good looking games, and this is stunningly different. I’m aware that may be subjective. The key difference is the action, high level design concept, compelling weapons, and the interactions with NPCs that are meaningful. We want to give you that choice, it’s not just about increasing stats, or adding charisma points. It’s about getting better weapons, so you can go out into the wasteland and wreak some havoc with bad guys!

Are your weapons upgradable?

Machine guns are more powerful than pistols, but not as accurate, so you might find something which reduces the spray. You dont have to replace it, it doesnt deteriotate over time, and everytime you go out into a new environment we give you new weapons.

Does RAGE have its own version of the BFG weapon?

There’s no BFG, but savvy gamers will notice nods to other games.


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One response to “RAGE Developer Session”

  1. Giles avatar

    To this day I’m still jealous that I couldn’t make it to any of the Developer sessions! (Still, I get to go to things like Develop through work, so I mustn’t grumble) ^_^

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