id Software would go PC-only if it could

Creative director Tim Willits talks about working with next-gen consoles, learning from Rage, and why id takes so long between releases.

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If it were up to id Software creative director Tim Willits, his company wouldn't have to worry about the next generation of consoles: it would just make all PC games, all the time. "We'd make PC games and ride off into the sunset. But we can't," Willits said in an interview with the Penny Arcade Report. "Look at Rage [sales], we had what, less than half went to the PC? Most of it was 360, PS3. You need to go to the installed base."

id loves PC, but consoles pay the bills.

He said id learned a lot about launches after Rage, particularly from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, another Bethesda property. The developer showed off Rage too early and spent too much time talking about the game's vehicular combat for fear of people not understanding it. "We knew we were doing first-person, we're id! Of course we're doing first-person! But [the early talk of vehicles] skewed everyone's ideas so much we had to play catch up." Instead, Willits hopes the next release goes much more like Skyrim's, with bits of info carefully meted out over time and good presence at industry events so people understand what sort of game they're getting into.

As for id's typically sparse release calendar, Willits said the culture of continual reinvention insisted on by co-founder John Carmack makes its development cycle a bit different from competitors. "[Carmack] always wants to change the technology. We could have done Doom 3 with Quake III, and then Doom 4 with modified Quake III to Quake to Doom tech, and then Rage 1 with that tech, and then Rage 2 with id Tech 5. We would have had three other games we could have done in the same time frame," Willits said. "That's what everyone else does, do you think Unreal 2, 3, 4 is really that different?"

Discussion

103 comments
00J
00J

consoles pay the bills because to installed base of plug n play console is a sure bet. That's the problem with PC, i've done PC gaming since PC's could move a sprite around the screen, but the main problem with PC gaming is that it's wildly difficult to run the latest game off the shelf with the variable system requirements. PC developer's always make games for the PC requiring almost the same specs as the development PC to get the game to even run half way decent... Consoles are easy you go into the store or buy off line and the game is assured to meet the system requirements and run... PC's wildly vary based on System, Chip, Memory, OS, connection speed, Graphic Card and a slew of other complex system setups including but not limited to even your anti-virus software... PC's are like the car owner who drives the overpriced and expensive sports car, and consoles are like the everyday Toyota Corolla driver... 

Red_lath
Red_lath

well if we talk about Rage for PC..It sucks! seriously, I enjoyed more Borderlands, Rage was a bad copy PC port from the consoles...What happened there ID Soft? I was a believer, I came with the old crew since wolfenstein!

 

I'm happy ID is trying to learn from Skyrim which has such a strong PC community, build that again like in quake Arena; I have an eye on you Id

magusat999
magusat999

HALF of the sales of all playable ports sounds like a good reason to stick with the {C to me. It also costs way less then half to dump the consoles and just develop for the PC.

deviant74
deviant74

Red Dead Redemption and Rage not as different as you think.  How can you put cars with guns into Red Dead Redemption and the game suck so bad?  That's the $500,000,000 dollar question If not more.   

Darkreaper_1
Darkreaper_1

"Look at Rage [sales], we had what, less than half went to the PC? Most of it was 360, PS3. You need to go to the installed base."

 

That's because Rage was a console game that was badly ported to the PC.  And haven't games like Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein, which for the large part have been PC only, covered the "bills" so far?

auntbessie
auntbessie

I loved Rage, I couldn't bind numpad 5 which gaves me wankers cramp cos I had to use Numpad 2 instead to go backwards and it didn't look anywhere near as good as I expected on PC but other than that I thought it was the dogs danglies, I do wish they wouldn't keep us waiting for so long but I guess they're trying to go for quality over quantity.

iluvOP
iluvOP

Im sure many devs would like that. Sadly piracy is out of control on the PC. Its too easy and almost no risks involved. "Why pay when you can get it for free!" - a bunch of people.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

LOL

 

Wolf3D, Doom, Doom 2, Quake, Quake 2, Quake 3 and Doom 3 PAYED THE BILLS.

RAGE scored bad sales because it was a piss poor broken console garbage port for PC, didn't even worked without specific drivers and most AMD users still have issues today.

Also, Tech 5 is garbage compared to Tech 3 and 4, we know you developed a LAZY engine to make it run decently on 8 years old hardware. That's not was id was used to do, that's not what fans expected, that's not the way you're going to get better sales.

Carmack just screwed everything and the hate is well deserved.

Now try, just try, to don't f*** up everything with Doom 4, even if you're going to use that crappy engine again.

evil_m3nace
evil_m3nace

Unlike some others, I really enjoyed Rage...but the ending was so bad and completely lackluster, I keep wondering when they will do a DLC to fix it...and it worked fine on my PC...I only found out afterward that people had problems with it..so...

coolmike999
coolmike999

I think they should check their math. I'll bet they spent more than half of their time making sure Rage would work well on consoles, while not giving PC its proper focus. They could have released a better game for PC only in half the time, and probably have more sales. Oh well - it's their business.

 

deathblow3
deathblow3

rage was short, boring and not even truely open world once you clear a mission dungon you could really go back and nothing was there but dead space. and some lame car combat

syztem
syztem

It's twice as bad for id these days. Can't make hardcore twitch shooters anymore because console control schemes don't allow dynamic movement, and because the modern shooter player won't be interested in it anyways.Before all they had to worry about was the military shooter take over, now they also have to worry about making their games work on a pad. It's like giving Rachmaninov a cowbell.So what's their plan these days? Try and make it look pretty and cross their fingers.

TruthSerum808
TruthSerum808

Rage ran much better on console than it did on PC. Plus the whole driving part wasn't all that fun. ...I own both a 360 and an i7/6870hd PC and I prefer my 360 because I like kicking back on the couch with a big screen....In 2012 you can't make serious money going PC only without the game being either always on internet or mostly multiplayer because your game will be pirated up the yin yang.....I just wish the next gen console specs that are leaking looked better. 

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

Didnt buy rage after the texture balogna fiasco that burned PC gamers : |

Kirintar
Kirintar

If Rage hadn't been so lackluster and broken on the PC, it would have done MUCH better in sales. Don't try and tease the fans with statements like these when you guys fail to deliver any quality beyond a shiny coat of paint and good shotguns.

TrueGB
TrueGB

These discussions about PC power is silly. I can come up with a bunch of reasons for the state of the PC market that doesn't involve consoles at all (massive shift to cartoony graphics to appeal to Chinese markets, mainstreaming for old computers, pirates killing all but the biggest devs and crippling the few talented small devs, appealing to casual audiences, etc). I mean, yeesh, consoles are the LEAST of your worries. If it weren't for the above problems, PC devs might not feel like they have to port their games.

SolidTy
SolidTy

PC gamers don't like console ports, console gamers don't love PC ports, but they will put up with it. id should stick to PC and crank out an opus.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Develop for PC, port to console.  NOT the other way around.

jenova
jenova

You know, one of these days people are going to figure out that throwing more horsepower at sloppy code just means that you're powering through sloppy code with a better CPU and not actually working with what most people actually have at home.

littleb75
littleb75

Well, that might explain the big F U at the end of rage. It started great but it gave up on its self. maybe like ID did on console gaming. The same consoles that fund their creative minds. PC gaming is fine. consoles are way easier and like each consoles is a giant step forward. rage and battlefield 3 are impressive on console. outstanding on pc. but on the whole everyone gets a bad product when you want is the next thing.

 

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I don't even have interest in any of id Software's games. And never have. So I couldn't care less if they went the PC-only route.

sortajan
sortajan

Great. More fuel for trivial console wars.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

So much for the theory of platform exclusivity.  In so many words, they just said they're greedy bastards.  You can't tell me that you can't make a profit by going PC-only, because that's where you freaking came from.  I still own the Doom and Quake originals, I know.  Do you really consider us gamers that stupid after all these years of dumbing down the games?  Do you really think that we'll accept your pathetic excuse for not putting out quality software?  I don't think so.  You want to make quality games, then step back up to the PC platform and make all the console people step up, too.  You have so much more to work with, and you're deliberately working with less just to make a buck.  Face it, you're greedy.  Quit wasting your breath and our time by apologizing.  Go PC-only or not, we don't want excuses.  You want a top-notch game with a great and flexible UI, go PC.  Otherwise, quit whining about your limitations - the next XBox is already obsolete, and it's not even done yet.  As much as I hate to admit it, you have Steam, so you don't need a publishing company.  You only need funding, a clear idea of what you're programming,  and a good crew.  Your profit margin should be good enough as is without console income.  So quit whining already.  I'd rather play Quake 2 on my emulator than listen to this kind of pathetic crap.

Mordraneth
Mordraneth

 @00J And yet my PS3 copy of Dragons Dogma barely even runs 75% of the time, right out of the box. Everything else works though, so, I will give you maybe 98% of the time a game on consoles run as you say.

Sergeant_
Sergeant_

 @Red_lath Agreed, the game looked fairly good but as for the story..god that was wrenched. According to my steam folder, I only clocked in 2 hours before I was falling asleep from boredom. It was shocking considering the past enemies and stories they developed were so unique and intriguing. I had to play through Quake 2 again to regain my faith not only in ID but in gaming as a whole.

Inconsistancy
Inconsistancy

 @s4dn3s5 idTech5 isn't a lazily, cheaply developed engine. It's plenty capable, it's just very vram hungry and consoles don't have much.

 

Gimped due to focus is all.

evil_m3nace
evil_m3nace

and UT 2004 was the BEST UT of all time!!

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

 @syztem

They could remedy the control problem with enabling keyboard and mouse controls for their games on consoles.  I don't know why they haven't done this for the life of me.  Unreal Tournament III had this option, and it came out in 2007.  You could play with a keyboard and mouse with that game.  What they should do is make their games as playable as possible with the regular conroller. Then give us the option of using a keyboard and mouse with some real, PC level, tweaking options.

Zeeksie
Zeeksie

 @SavoyPrime Why bother posting a freaking comment in the first place? Especially in such an authoritative manner?

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

 @VarietyMage My problem with console popularity and devs' tendency to abandon PC development and focus on consoles isn't really the performance aspect.

 

My issue is that every "reboot" of an old classic needs to be "translated" into a form that works well on consoles (i.e. another goddamn FPS), case in point, Syndicate... I #$@%ing HATE EA/Stardock for what they did, and then to hear them talk about how it was a failed reboot just pissed me off so much because of how blindly stupid they were.

 

And then XCOM is on its way, another "reboot". Thank goodness we're at least getting a strategy game out of that through another dev.

TrueGB
TrueGB

 @VarietyMage Actually, what a lot of PC gamers don't realize about their awesome graphics is that they're being funded by console dollars. It costs money to create graphics that good and the only way most publishers will shell out the cash to fund that level of development is if the PC dev. agrees to do a console port; otherwise, no leet graphics (this bit of news reported right here at GameSpot). There are exceptions, of course, but even those exceptions are funded by industry vets living off royalties accrued over the decades or they're not really pushing a PC's limits anyway (for all of Blizzard's money, they're going where the market is leading them and that's cartoony games).I mean, come on, you don't actually believe PC graphics are so great just because, do you? Someone had to make them, and in this era, it's a crapload of "someone's". And they want to be paid.

So the next time you give devs like id a hard time, remember it's those so called outdated consoles that allowed your PC to receive such a beautiful game. Or you can post in internet forums and cry on your keyboard. Your choice.

iluvOP
iluvOP

 @johnny_pay "just as big" No. Get your facts straight before post such silly things son.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

 @Inconsistancy Are you kidding? Tech5 has been made for consoles, this engine automatically downgrades textures resolution to keep 60 fps; who needs that?? Consoles. 

Scisor50
Scisor50

Smartest idea I've heard. And with time people would start moving to PC anyway. xD Just sucks a ton most "modern console players" prefer just some multiplayer shooter and will spend off 60 dollars in a "new" game that features the same things as the past one.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@Zeeksie For the same reason you have an "Activision must die" avatar. Because we have the right to.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

I'm worried about the XCOM reboot, too.  However, the one is an FPS, and the other is like the original (Enemy Unknown, I think it's called).  The latter will be the one I buy, if any.I miss the days of the space-flight games, but you won't see EVE Online (or a single-player variant) on a console.  Too much graphical (i.e., CPU) power required, and memory, too.  I want to see it, but because the publishers want too much profit, they end up deep-sixing any game that's PC-only.  It isn't right.  Us space-sim players have been out in the cold for over a decade (unless you want to shell out for the EVE MMO, which I won't for monetary and net lag reasons).  I hate EA because of the same reasons, and more.  So many dead IPs because of the greedy publishers and devs...

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

ROFL...Unreal wasn't created on a console.  So, with all due respect, you can keep your BS to yourself.  Id could do it all on their own without consoles.  Sid Meier did with Civilization for 4 games as well as Alpha Centauri, too.  Maxis did it with SimCity long before the Sims came out.  I could go on, too...

MMaestro
MMaestro

 @TrueGB Except the "awesome graphics" that consoles fund are always last generation's, and even then its not top of the line last generation.

 

If consoles commanded the graphics industry, we'd be using 7 year old GPUs because thats what the 360/PS3/Wii use and keeping PCs on the same page would make cross-platform development the easiest.

johnny_pay
johnny_pay

 @iluvOP you clearly have no idea how big it is if you think piracy on consoles isnt giant. most console games are leaked early.

riotinto876
riotinto876

 @iluvOP Not as big in the number of people that do it, but just as big on the options to do it, specially on the Wii and 360, you can torrent and play games like you would on pc

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

 @Scisor50

 Yes I really don't get that either.  I got Bad Company 2 at launch and I'm still having tons of fun with it.  Battlefield 3, for me anyway, didn't seem to offer much of an upgrade from the previous games and spin-offs for me to go out and purchase the game.   

blackothh
blackothh

 @Scisor50 yea im sad to see that is how its going now, they are all clones of each other but the kids now dont even care/notice, i played the first modern warefare once at a friends house, to see what all the hype was about, and i laughed at how un-interesting it was

 

keyboard and mouse is the only way to play a shooter IMO.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@Zeeksie So Suikoden games and Alpha Protocol had multi-million marketing campaigns? Dude, please get the hell outta here.

Zeeksie
Zeeksie

 @SavoyPrime  Haha! Overrated? That is a damn big word for someone who only plays video games which are shoved in his face by multi million marketing campaigns. Please, do tell, how many times in your life you have bought a game out of your own will? I'll take a wild guess and say: zero. I was actually surprised to see Darksiders in your collection, a game which I really like by the way. And don't tell me what to take seriously on teh internets. I can make a difference between trolling and when someone is being an outright jerk.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@Zeeksie Are you some raging 8 year old? lol When it comes to forums, whether something is relevant to your interests or not, you can voice your opinion. I've played id Software's games before, find them overrated. Hence the reason why I don't have an interest in them. You're the one who got all butthurt over an opinion. It's the internet man. It's not that serious.

Zeeksie
Zeeksie

 @SavoyPrime  Too butthurt/scared to address me personally? And I would hardly call that a comeback. Secondly, I asked you a question, why bother posting a comment on something that has zero relevance to your interests? Or maybe democracy taught you to be an annoying jackass?

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@zwenti Don't waste your time on @Zeeksie. Apparently he doesn't like anyone having a comeback for him. Guess he thought he was clever. XD

MMaestro
MMaestro

 @TrueGB "That funding goes to develop PC games and then they just water them down for consoles."

 

Except that doesn't happen.

Its long been known that the industry has moved to a  "consoles first, scaled up version for the PC" position.

TrueGB
TrueGB

 @MMaestro I don't think you understood my post. That funding goes to develop PC games and then they just water them down for consoles. Not very difficult when the architecture is very similar (and why so many ports to 360 seem to work better than PS3 ports. I hear many horror stories there). I'm not talking about funding for a console specific title at all.

Unless I'm misunderstanding your post and you're saying new games like Skyrim running at the highest settings look terrible on PC compared to the best of the last generation. In which case I say you're too damned picky.