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.
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."
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?"
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