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DPrime Preview: Rage (straight from QuakeCon) and what is that….a release date?


Well I’ve just exited the grand ballroom of the Hilton in the wake of what was one of the best video game demonstrations I have ever been privy to: Id’s Rage demonstration. Let me get into the gritty details of why I am officially frothing over myself with drunken RAGE because this title isn’t out NOW.

Id’s unique presentation had the same Rage demo being played by three Id staffers on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC simultaneously on three screens in the ballroom. I was sitting front and center, so the PC screen dominated my view and received my most detailed attention, but I regularly glanced to and fro at screens that seemed indistinguishable in graphical beauty. The only difference was made in load times (PC coming in first by a long shot, followed by the PS3 and, finally, the 360, which crashed halfway through the performance).

It’s obvious that Id is as closely dedicated to perfectionism with their first new IP in 10 years as they can without going insane. The variety of detailed weapons, characters, voice actors, and the myriad and excellent motion-capture death sequences was incredible to behold, and the world of Rage feels as real and detailed than Fallout 3, only more visually stunning.

Voice acting and sound were top notch, with the standout being the legendary John Goodman, who voice-acts one of the characters that will be giving the player missions throughout the game.

Combat in the game was raw, visceral, and varied, ranging from heavily modified vehicles destroying each other in a fast-paced race of death across the arid wasteland to stealthy creeping through a settlement’s water supply compound. Vehicular combat was explosive in every meaning of the word, while one of the more stealthy devices of the demo–a small remote toy car strapped with explosives–granted a satisfyingly single-button-press doom to a room full of foes. Diversity was stressed throughout the demo by both the onscreen action and the presenters, who presented the new equipment presented in the demo, an electric bolt that can be used in wet environments to kill multiple enemies before they know what hit them.

As far as combat vehicles are concerned, layers will be given a vehicle that they will be able to keep throughout the game, adding modification after modification as events progress. The kind of modifications presented in the demo looked stylish and badass, ranging from a battering ram to twin hood-mounted gatling guns.

Another thing that got me quite excited was what Id calls the “Dynamic Pain System,” which is used to produce incredibly satisfying death visuals. I first witnessed this riveting technology when an enemy was shot in the face at almost point blank range: I watched with carnivorous glee as the body convulsed, the arms jerking towards the face as the neck and back wrenching backwards in a dying display of agony. I went on to see enemies writhe as bullets ripped through their torso or cringing as a shot rips through their arm. Apparently there is extensive use of motion capture (I spoke with some of the animators of Id before the presentation) for the emulation of humanoid combat and death in the game, and it certainly shows in enemies which convey a feeling of mass and weight as they move and fly about landscapes ranging from dank corridors infested with mutant bandits to the husk of a dead metropolis teaming with mutants ranging from tiny to truly epic sizes.

I don’t think I could have come away from this event more satisfied or excited unless I had played it myself. The only thing that hurts is the release date revealed at the end of the presentation: 9/13/2011. I’m too excited to stand that many months of waiting… I suppose I’ll have to take it sitting down.

Rage isn’t all I’ve been up to at Quakecon, however: expect to see accounts of hands-on experiences with Hunted, Brink, and Fallout: New Vegas coming as soon as I can write them.

Raised by a pack of wolves in North Texas suburbia, Derek Sommer has become a consummate writer, gamer, artist, and party fiend. Find him at the nearest whirling epicenter of fun to Lewisville, TX.

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