They knew the asteroid was coming, but no one expected total destruction. After it was confirmed that the asteroid would collide with Earth, the leaders of humanity secured a deep underground bunker. Its sole purpose was to house the future of the human race, leaders who would eventually rebuild the planet after the cataclysmic explosion.
The asteroid hit, destroying a large chunk of the planet, presumably wiping out all life on the surface. The survivors were supposed to open the doors of the bunker to a ruined planet and begin reshaping society on a new Earth. When they finally set foot on the surface, they quickly discovered they were not alone. Mutants stalked the desert wasteland, looking for their next victim, and were filled with rancor and hostility and what could only be described as...rage.
At QuakeCon 2008, we got our first details on the story behind id's upcoming first-person action game. Id also showed off an extended version of the Rage trailer that debuted at E3 earlier this month that put a larger emphasis on driving and racing. But most of our new information came in an interview with id producer Tim Willits, who painted a somewhat clearer picture of a game heretofore described simply as a postapocalyptic shooting/driving hybrid. Rage is much more than that, he says.
In addition to vicious mutants roaming the desert wasteland, several human factions have formed in makeshift cities across the land. You play as an as-yet-unnamed character who emerges from the bunker to restart society, only to see that many of these factions have their own vision of how to implement the new world order. Some are friendly, but many are not, and one in particular has risen to power and is attempting to put a stranglehold on the rights and freedoms of the survivors. Willits likens it to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. You'll travel from makeshift city to makeshift city, learning more about each faction as you progress through the main storyline.
Willits also pointed out that Rage is not an open-world game in the vein of Grand Theft Auto IV. Instead, id wants Rage to be a cinematic, story-driven experience that sucks you in and doesn't let go. But that doesn't mean you won't have choices. While Willits didn't elaborate on a possible conversation system or multiple endings, he did say that Rage will open the door to mission choices.
As seen in the many id Tech 5 demos and recent Rage trailers, driving will play a very large part in Rage. Over the course of the game, you'll accumulate several different vehicles that can be customized to your liking. In the latest trailer, we saw dune buggies racing on a desert track, armed with mounted Gatling guns and machine guns. Willits said these vehicles will become an extension of the player, so expect plenty of options for customization.
Multiplayer is still in the design stages, but both Willits and id technical director John Carmack said that cooperative play is in the works, with the possibility of sharing vehicles with a buddy. While competitive multiplayer wasn't mentioned specifically, it's difficult to imagine Rage without some sort of deathmatch and/or racing modes from the creators of Quake.
At the QuakeCon 2008 press conference and keynote address, Carmack confirmed that the content of Rage would exceed two Xbox 360 discs yet would fit on one high-capacity Blu-ray disc for the PlayStation 3. Since it's not cost effective to release a game on three discs because of material costs and a hefty royalty fee levied by Microsoft, Carmack said they would have to sacrifice the quality of the visuals on the 360 in order to fit the game on two discs. Unless Microsoft is willing to work with id on the disc royalty fees, the PlayStation 3 version will simply look better, Carmack said.
Be sure to check out our complete video interview with Willits as part of our QuakeCon 2008 coverage. Like all id games, Rage will be released "when it's done."