When I think back on Rage, the thing that sticks out most to me is how visually stunning the game looked for its time. Developer id Software clearly got everything it could out of its engine, especially when you consider this game originally launched in the Xbox 360/PS3 generation of consoles, seven years ago. I can even remember sitting in on a Rage panel at PAX East 2011 and being in awe of how good the skybox looked.
Unfortunately, that was really the highlight because as we now know, most everything else about the game fell short. While gunplay felt really good, everything else about the experience couldn’t hold up from the weak story, a wasteland that seemed to be too open and devoid of things to do, and a final boss/ending that was borderline insulting. I believe that part of the problem was how overhyped the game had become prior to release, no doubt increasing expectations beyond reasonable levels.
So when Bethesda confirmed Rage 2 is real and on the way, I was a little surprised. I certainly think the franchise has a ton of untapped potential, but what really perked my ears up was the fact that Bethesda brought in Avalanche Studios to work on the game. You know, these are the talented folks behind the excellent Mad Max and Just Cause franchises.
Now, before I go on, let me just say that we can all agree that id really redeemed themselves with DOOM, an unbelievably great and modern entry in the long-running franchise. Man, they really knocked that game out of the park and put that old franchise right back on the map. SO no disrespect to those folks, they certainly can still make games with the best of them.
While id remains tied in some capacity to Rage 2, what has me most excited is seeing what Avalanche can now bring to the Rage 2 party. They’ve already proven themselves in the post-apocalyptic wasteland genre just recently with Mad Max, so Rage 2 feels like a natural extension for them. Already, I can see a big difference between this game and its predecessor. Have a look:
Already, the game is visually interesting as it not only has the expected brown wasteland look, but it also throws a few other locales at you like the badlands, forests, and swamps. They’re also throwing some additional colors in there not only with the painted style of the wasteland gangs, but colored smoke and the carnival of carnage style place as well.
As you can see, this one has plenty of potential. Being able to combine the first-person shooter mechanics that id Software clearly has nailed down, with a lot of the great open-world elements that Avalanche has displayed in their previous games (remember those wasteland storms from Mad Max?), Rage 2 has a very strong foundation to rest on.
Without a specific release window or launch date, there’s still plenty of time to form an opinion on Rage 2. I hope that this won’t be another over-hyped situation and that the story can match the gameplay this time around.
There’s still a long road ahead, but this seems to be a potentially exciting first step.