We were lucky enough to be invited along to a RAGE 2 preview event recently, where we were also given a chance to sit down with Studio Director Tim Willits and talk about what we can expect and what the future has in store for RAGE 2.
First thing’s first, RAGE 2 at this point is mostly a single player game, however, back at QuakeCon in Aug 2018, Willits revealed that there was an “undefined social element” coming to the game, so we wanted to get to the bottom of what this actually means. Unfortunately, it seems id Software is still working on it.
“We are still working through some of that. We have photo mode! But just to clarify there is no multiplayer. We have some leader board stuff that we’re planning and one other thing that’s going to be cool, but we’re not ready to talk about that yet.”
This, of course, begged the question: with no multiplayer, is id Software at all worried about the market’s current drive towards multiplayer-based games, like Call of Duty, for example, which ditched the story mode aspect altogether this year. Willits seemed positive that they have a pretty great experience in RAGE 2 and that despite having no multiplayer, it’ll have enough to keep players satisfied.
“The key thing is delivering the value for what you’re getting.”
“As long as you deliver content for what people like, deliver compelling content where you get value for your money and people are having a good time then I think you’re good. Everyone wants to play differently, just watching you folks play, you all want to play differently. I don’t think that’s a problem. The key thing is delivering the value for what you’re getting. If the game has enough dynamic systems and the players feel like you’re supporting the game then they will stay, they will stay and play.”
As for things that Willits has spoken about, we asked if he’d go into a little more detail about their plans for DLC expansions as well as the dreaded Loot Boxes previously mentioned. Luckily, it seems, RAGE 2 won’t include loot boxes, which is likely a huge relief to many.
“I was joking, there will be NO loot boxes! We’ll have some paid additional content, some free content and some updates, but the great thing about the engine is that because it’s so dynamic it’s easy to add things to it and even to change things. We’re working on some of our post-launch stuff where we’re trying to be flexible with the team so that we can steer into what people like. We think we know what people like but until the game comes out and people start playing it we’re not really sure. It will follow more of a longer tale, along with free updates and stuff.
“We have A roadmap planned! Whether or not we change, we need to figure out what people actually like. We have some cool systems to talk about that should get people excited. Our big plan here is to get you all more time with the game.”
Speaking of length, Willits was surprised just how long it took some of the groups at the preview event to get through the short demo we were given. It seems he didn’t quite expect players to be exploring the world of RAGE 2 quite as much as we did.
“I was surprised how long it took these groups (meaning us journo scrubs) to even get through this content. The QA guys just run through it way fast, but people are exploring way more than we were expecting. You could put your head down and focus purely on what you’re “supposed” to do but you will miss out on so much! Which is why we implemented the Projects System. You have to do things to earn the upgrades that you want to play with.
“How long does it take to finish most open world games that are our right now? It’s really down to how fast you want to run through it. Some people take 2 hours to play two missions where as some take twenty minutes. It’s all down to you.”
Willits also spoke briefly about the game’s influences, from DOOM to Bulletstorm. It seems RAGE 2 is taking a more fast-paced all-guns-blazing approach to gameplay rather than the more slower, sneaky approach in the first RAGE title.
“Its situational combat, it’s over the top weapons, damage, and sounds.”
“Yes, absolutely, especially DOOM, with its very id style combat. We reward you for going for those glory kills, getting into the action and pushing forward. So in RAGE 2, we reward you for doing the ability kills, for pushing forward. The power ups are all close up attacks, there is no sniper rifle, even though it’s a long range game. We want you to get into the action. As soon as you start to learn loop that the faster you take out your enemies, that drop the feldrite and that charges your overdrive and it’s very similar to that id style combat. Its situational combat, it’s over the top weapons, damage, and sounds. When you pull off a combo and everything works you’re sat there thinking ‘That’s awesome!’
“Yeah [RAGE] was [tactical and sneaky], and people love it. It works great for DOOM. People love it, they say ‘That feels great’ when they play it. You never know, you never know what people are going to say or how they will react.”
With RAGE 2, it seems that id Software is delivering the game we all thought we’d find in RAGE, and Willits is well aware of that. It seems hardware limitations were a key factor in the game being the way it was, that’s why he hopes RAGE 2 will bring some players back to the series who originally wanted more from the first game.
“Because of the limitations of the tech at the time, you were kind of forced to play it the way that we made it. With RAGE 2, you don’t have to play it the way that we made it. People are saying so far that RAGE 2 delivers on the promise of RAGE.”
We also touched on the game being built on the Avalanche Engine and how this factored development. Turns out, Willits loved working with an engine that’s actually fully functional.
“[Do I like] working with an engine that’s done? Yes! And working with experience. Those guys have been doing it for so long and they’ve taught me so much about level design and approaching problems from different directions. The engine looks good, runs fast and you can add stuff onto it. It’s not the first iteration of this engine and so it’s been really nice.”
To wrap up, we wondered what aspects of the game Willits enjoyed the most.
“Combos. Hopefully, I will see some YouTube videos of people pulling off some awesome stuff! As for a favorite weapon, It’s got to be the gravity gun, which for a while it was called ‘The YouTube Gun’. And Shatter, more so than the Ground Slam.”
“When RAGE came out it came out into a firestorm”
Finally, we addressed the game’s May release window, which comes up against a pretty big hitter… Sonic Team Racing. Is Willits worried about being up against such a contender? Well, apparently it beats being against Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield.
“Well, that’s nice! I’m glad it’s not Call of Duty or Halo or something. May is a good month for us we think. It is still early though. When RAGE came out it came out into a firestorm. We had Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield. It got lost in the swarm a little.”
RAGE 2 is due for release May 14 on PC, Xbox One and PS4.