id Software’s RAGE 2 isn’t out until Spring 2019, but it’s had quite the wild ride already. The infamous Walmart Canada leak first brought the game to light, and coupled with teasers that Bethesda was running around the same time, it seemed almost planned. Almost.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, id Software studio director Tim Willits discussed the leak’s timing and how it was “actually quite nice for us.” That’s because the plan was always to reveal the game before E3 2018 to avoid comparisons with the similarly post-apocalyptic Fallout 76. After the retail listing leak, plans were slightly moved up.
“It turned out so well that a number of journalists were like, ‘You guys planned that right?’ No, we didn’t plan it,” said Willits. He also called Fallout 76 “a 55,000-ton gorilla we have to compete with,” further justifying the pre-E3 reveal.
“That’s why I positioned this as the post-post-apocalyptic game,” he said. “From the story and the different biomes we’ve created, we tried to evolve the game past the 50 shades of brown we had in Rage and [Rage 2 developer] Avalanche had in Mad Max. So we really embraced the colours, the vibrancy of the personalities, the characters, the story, and of course the marketing, which has done really well for us. You have to be at the top of the scale, otherwise, you’re just at that bottom. You’re ballast.”
That being said, isn’t it somewhat concerning that Bethesda is making adjustments so that it’s own post-apocalyptic titles don’t cannibalize each other? What is the appeal of the setting and why does it remain so popular?
Willits says, “The reason we like the setting is it’s grounded in things people can understand, or easily imagine, but it’s set in the future where we can have sci-fi stuff because we’re a bunch of sci-fi nerds. So we can create these over-the-top weapons and over-the-top creatures, but we can ground it in something people know – ‘Oh yeah, this could be our new future.’
“We can have these high fantasy, sci-fi-type experiences and over-the-top action in a world that people may not be able to directly relate to, but they can relate to it easier than some super fantasy alien world. We don’t have to explain buildings and roads and all that; people understand it, and then they come on the journey with us.”
Despite wanting to avoid being compared to Fallout 76, RAGE 2 has plenty of its own unique properties. It’s more light-hearted (not unlike Gearbox’s Borderlands franchise) and experiments with a wider range of colours. Willits that it’s focusing on “fun, over-the-top violence” as opposed to the “mean violence” that other developers may go with. “There are some serious elements to Rage 2, but we’re making fun games, and they need to be fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
RAGE 2 is currently in development for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.