RAGE Eyes-On at E3: Mutants, Custom Gadgets and Decapitations
It’s kind of hard to believe, but it’s been over 10 years since id Software’s last original IP.
RAGE, their forthcoming post-apocalyptic first-person shooter, is understandably drawing a lot of attention. It’s a new story, running on their new id Tech 5 engine. At the same time, the wind swept, Mad Max-esque setting wades into pretty familiar territory for gamers who enjoyed Fallout 3 or Borderlands. Some had concerns that RAGE may crowd the sub-genre and cramp its style.
We got a chance to see a private demonstration of RAGE at E3 this week, and I’m here to tell you to that’s silly talk. RAGE looks pretty incredible, and so far id is proving there’s plenty of room in the post-apocalyptic space for exciting innovation. Hit the jump for details.
Matt Hooper, Design Director on RAGE, gave us a bit of backstory on the game. RAGE takes place way in the future. An asteroid is on its way to earth, and the government stuffs everyone into pods underground, dubbed the “Eden Project.” When everyone comes back to the surface, the world has gone to hell, and there’s mutants everywhere.
Right away, from the first second the world loaded, it looked amazing. It was running on an Xbox 360 at 60 FPS. The first environment we saw was very large, a desert looking area with craggy mountains. Hooper explained that this was a few hours into game. At this point, you’re supposed to make your way to the main town for a mission.
The sightseeing didn’t last long though, since a horde of mutants attacked. Aside from using standard guns, Hooper also threw a weapon called the “Wingstick,” a saw blade/boomerang type of projectile. It cleanly and wonderfully decapitated a mutant. This got the first genuine whoop from the room, and with good reason. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t look like it’ll get old. The AI here also looked smart, and mean. They’ll throw knives, fire projectiles and kind of bob and weave to get to you.
Next, Hooper jumped into a dune buggy, which he explained is actually a hard-fought reward in the game–not just something you’re handed right away. I can see why, since it has mounted machine guns on it. We got a taste of some buggy combat in a wide open area. You can whip around in it and blow the crap out of enemy buggies. Then Hooper got out of the buggy, got out a rocket launcher, and used to obliterate this guy in a tower. So, yeah. That was cool.
Next, Hooper showed the town of Wellspring. It’s a western-looking dusty place, but with a kind of Asian feel to it as well. You’ll start as an outsider in Wellspring, and gradually work your way up towards hero status as you complete more missions. You can talk to NPCs to join competitive races, buy upgrades for your buggy, sell loot at the shop, head into the bar to talk to locals and find new missions, etc.
Hooper then headed down into the well, an underground factory-like environment. An NPC named Carlson gave him electrobolts for his crossbow, and sent him deep into the well to flush out bandits. These bandits looked a lot different. They were paler, more tribal looking, and moved with the fluidity of Ryu Hayabusa. Here we got a taste of some nice AI physics. These bandits could wall-run, and acrobatically flip while chasing after you. You can get all BioShock on their asses too and shoot electrobolts into pools of water for multi kills.
You can also construct your own weapons and gadgets in RAGE from “schematics” that you find around the world. Hooper bragged that you “don’t need a ‘build desk’ or anything like that.” When you find a schematic for a gadget, you can build it right then and there. Hooper crept up to a room full of bandits, and got out a little gadget called the “RC Car Bomb”–a remote control bomb on wheels. He wheeled it into the room into the middle of the crowd, detonated it and painted the room with blood. Handy gadgets, those RC Car Bombs.
All of this had me pretty convinced that id Software is definitely on the right track with RAGE, to say the least. The graphics look fantastic, environments are huge and very believable, combat has some nice twists via gadgets and slick enemy AI, and the whole package just feels right. You’ll do very well to keep an eye on RAGE as it continues development this year.