Adam Guetti
24 Sep, 2011

Rage: An Interview with Tim Willits

PC Feature | We ask the hard questions of Rage's legendary Creative Director.
Last week Tim Willits, creative director for Rage visited our humble shores in order to host 'An Evening with id Software' - an opportunity for him to provide insight into the legendary studio as well as showcase Rage to the Australian media and lucky members of the gaming public. While he was here though, we got to sit down with Tim in order to quiz him about all things Rage and get his view on the current state of the saturated FPS market as he dropped some industry knowledge on us.

PALGN: What brought about the concept of Rage? You've gone from Nazi's in Wolfenstein, Hell on Mars with Doom, Cthulhu style monstrosities in Quake and then the Strogg based ideas with Quake II to come around with Rage which is essentially post-apocalyptic. How did the idea and setting come around?
We were actually playing around with IDTech 5 technology and doing some test runs in a canyon with buggies, to see how the mega texturing and other features were working out. Through this placeholder design, we really digged the style and tone of it all, and that's essentially how Rage came about.

PALGN: Considering the history of id, do you feel a certain degree of pressure for Rage, as you try to meet the expectations of long-time fans?
There are always high expectations. I think because of our legacy we were able to do a new IP. I think Rage is the only game in the most anticipated top ten that is an original IP and if it wasn’t for Doom it would be difficult to launch a new IP and have anyone pay attention to it. So our legacy has given us that leg up, but I’m so happy with how rage turned out that I believe it will change people’s perceptions of the company.

PALGN: How long is Rage?
It takes most people about 15 hours if you’re a real fast gamer. But you have to do most of the races and pick up the side missions and stuff, but if you’re really fast you could do it a little quicker and if you’re slower it would take longer.

PALGN: Will Rage have any kind of free roaming elements like games such as Fallout and such? Or is it more linear?
Rage is more focused on the story so you are pointed in the right directions. There are a good amount of secret areas and there are the sewers to explore too, which I'm sure long time id fans will come to appreciate big time. But ultimately, Rage is open but linear.

Yes, this is the man that can make all your dreams come true.

Yes, this is the man that can make all your dreams come true.
PALGN: There seems to be a lot of promotion for the implementation of vehicles and racing in the game. How heavy is the emphasis on these races?
Well I was worried that hard-core id fans would be put off by it, so I designed it in such a way that you are only required to do two races to complete the whole game. But you know, you won’t be able to upgrade your car with all the cool shit so I would definitely encourage you to win some more races, get some more armour, upgrade your suspension, some rockets for your buggy , stuff like that. And I found in testing, that when most people play, they play about half of them which makes me really happy. So even people like hardcore id fans have taken to the racing components better than I thought they would have, which is awesome.

PALGN: So does racing play greater part in multiplayer then?
Yes! So there’s two multiplayer components, there’s the vehicle side, which is actually kind of centred around combat rally, so there’s no pure races. There’s just wasteland type areas, where you get points for crossing rallies and the rally points change, but you also get points for blowing up everybody. And then there’s XP and unlocks and things and then we have split screen co-op on the consoles and then of course co-op on PC via Steam. Those are dedicated co-op missions that are kind of extensions of the single-player campaign.

PALGN: Have you streamlined the console versions of the game in any way compared to the PC??
No. One of the great things about id Tech 5 is that everything is the same. So all the textures, models, characters, that we made for the game are all the same. So the same number of characters, the same number of races. Of course on the PC version you can crank the resolution, turn anti-aliasing on, you can have extra cores transcoding, but the game experience is the same.

PALGN: Seeing that you guys come from almost exclusive PC development with your IPs, do you intend on supporting and giving freedom to PC gamers with high-end technologies such as AMD's Eyefinity, and also allow things such as console commands and custom configurations?
Eyefinity will unfortunately not be supported at release, but I can say that Carmack may or may not be experimenting with it, so you can possibly expect some extra features and additions in Rage like that sometime after release.

As for console commands, we definitely give the PC side this freedom as we always have. You can customise your configs and tweak things a fair amount, and PC hardware will be taken full advantage of if you have the hardware to support it. We'll also have an SDK (Software Development Kit) available for some modding too, but we're still waiting on our SDK guy to finish that up so we can release it with the game.

This is what you get when you fill the Opera house with crazed gamers.

This is what you get when you fill the Opera house with crazed gamers.
PALGN: How would you like to differentiate Rage from all the other post-apocalyptic games on the market at the moment?
Ah, we don’t really shove that down your throat too much. You know you’re not trying to survive and drink water and buying anti-radiation suits and stuff. The reason that exists is because I wanted to have muscle cars with guns and sci-fi elements, so you start thinking about Mad Max, that’s kind of like the original image.

PALGN: Is that where the inspiration came from?
Um, I mean all Aussies should appreciate the fact that there’s a lot of Mad Max. I mean look at the [game's] poster, you can imagine… I mean just flip the guy around, put him on a road and what do you see? So that’s kind of like the setting. But it’s really the action, the story, what you’re doing and that; it’s not a ‘survive in the wasteland’ kind of game.

PALGN: What sort of surprises do you think are in store for players?
I think they will be surprised that, I like to say that at its core it’s [Rage] still an id Software game. It feels good with your shotgun, its sounds, the way it feels. But it’s also not an id Software game, so I think people will be surprised that it's intuitive, it’s easy to play, it’s fun, there’s a lot of variety. It’s not these… so many first person games these days are so cookie cutter that I think it will be a refreshing breath of fresh air.

PALGN: Well while we are on the topic of other FPS,’ how do you feel going up against the Call of Duties of the gaming world
Well like I said, I think there’s a general fatigue for these modern shooters where you have to pick up a weapon then drop the weapon and you get the same guys popping out behind cover and dropping into cover. And I think gamers want something new and refreshing and different and then again rage is the only, the only one in the top ten that’s not a sequel and yeah it’s just different and exciting.

PALGN: What’s your favourite element in the game?
The wing stick. But just the idea that the game is the sum of its parts. It’s not a corridor shooter, it’s not all about ammo types, it’s not about engineering items. It’s just so many good things wrapped together in this nice little package, that’s probably what makes me proudest.

PALGN: Do you have anything else special in store for gamers, other than the wing sticks?
The pop rockets. They’re ammo types you have to make for the shotgun. When I play, I play with fat mammas for the pistol and pop rockets for the shotgun; that’s all you need to beat this game.

PALGN: Roughly, how many weapons will be in the final game?
Well there’s the pistol, shotgun, crossbow, rifle, authority, machine gun, rocket launcher, authority pulse cannon but then each weapon has ammo types. So there are four for the pistol, four for the shotgun, four for the crossbow, two for the machine guns, two for the authority; so you get a lot of variety that way. Then some of the ammo types you can buy, some you have to make, so you have to find schematics or buy schematics, and then you get the pieces to make those.

PALGN: To wrap things up, if you had one sentence to convince people to go out and buy Rage come release day, what would it be?
Um, I like to call Rage the complete first person experience – it’s more than a run-and-gun game and you will definitely get your money’s worth.

To read up on what we thought of Rage after playing through the first sixty minutes, click here.

Related Rage Content

Rage Review
11 Oct, 2011 Doom + Mad Max.
Rage Preview
23 Sep, 2011 We get our hands on the game's first 60 minutes.
RAGE 'Gearhead Vault' gameplay trailer
29 Aug, 2011 A familiar voice.
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Australian Release Date:
  24/11/2011 (Confirmed)
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