The 2010 QuakeCon event is still going strong in the spacious halls of the Dallas Hilton Anatole, and that means panels, special presentations, and lots and lots of cheap applause in exchange for free T-shirts. One of the most exciting presentations at the show so far has been today's special demo of id Software's Rage, which was shown in the grand ballroom not only on three distinct monitors, but on three different platforms. The leftmost monitor ran the PS3 version of the game, the center monitor ran the PC version of the game, and the rightmost monitor ran the Xbox 360 version of the game (which, incidentally, crashed once).
The idea behind the simultaneous triple demonstration was to show the level of visual quality on all three versions of the game as being comparable while id staff played through the exact same areas, and to the game's credit, all three versions looked virtually identical on a big screen from a seat several rows back, even though we know there will, in fact, be real differences between them (in John Carmack's keynote address this year, the technical officer cited that the console versions of Rage won't have antialiasing on the level of the PC version, for instance).
The demonstration briefly touched on desert exploration--very similar to the content we covered in the press demo at last year's QuakeCon--as well as a visit with the inhabitants of Wellspring and also a sewer battle against the Ghost Clan, a faction of pale-skinned, acrobatic bandits, both being areas we covered at Bethesda's press event this past May.
The demonstration ended with a brief visit to a brand-new area called Dead City, which has been overrun by vicious mutants and from which no one has ever returned. According to lead designer Tim Willits, you visit the area in the game as part of a mission that requires you to scour the zone for some sort of evidence, though as we saw, you'll be in for a fight here. The entrance to Dead City looks like a bombed-out business district, with flattened skyscrapers bent around a shattered freeway overpass, and the rubble offers many places for nasty monsters to hide.
At first, we were attacked by the scrawny, club-wielding mutants we'd seen in last year's demonstration in the Mutant Bash TV area--these weren't much of a threat, and a shotgun shell or two put each of them down rather easily. However, a new group of these little nuisances popped up from another pile of rubble, supported by a much larger mutant carrying what appeared to be an enormous backpack-mounted grenade launcher, which was carried two-handed like a minigun. We kept our distance from the brute, which worked out just fine for it, since it periodically lobbed an explosive round in the air to come raining down on our head. We watched the id staffers skillfully dispatch the lesser mutants and then pull out an assault rifle and shred the grenade launcher mutant with concentrated fire.
Just when we thought it was safe to take a breath, an even bigger mutant the size of a high-rise came marching out from behind a fallen office building and let out a fearsome roar. The screen then faded to the Rage logo, but the crowd at the presentation apparently liked what they saw and erupted into thunderous applause, second only to the applause they let out when Willits again took the stage and announced, for the first time in id Software's illustrious history, an actual final release date for one of its games: a US ship date of September 13, 2011, and a European ship date of September 15, 2011, for Rage.