So, late yesterday a couple of in-game screenshots landed in my inbox of id software's upcoming game Rage. Normally, I don't get overly excited when news of a hot, new gaming title first hits. Maybe it's because I've been a computer gamer since the early days of the Commodore 64 and I'm somewhat desensitized to the whole thing after all of these years. Or maybe it's because I get to see so many A-list titles during their development cycle working here at HotHardware that I immediately begin to compare one to another. Whatever the case may be, I have to admit Rage has me intrigued.
I am the type of gamer that can't get into games that are overly cerebral. I will make exceptions for some of the more outstanding titles, but generally I like to fire up a game and get into the action right away--with as little thought as possible. Just to give you a bit of insight, most of my current game time is filled with short spurts of Unreal Tournament 3 mixed in with some GRID here and there for good measure. Call of Duty 4 also sucked me in right away and I tried to get into Crysis, but it crashed on me too often when it was first released and I haven't given it another chance yet.
I think I'm excited by Rage because it mixes my two favorite types of games, first person shooters and racing simulations. In addition to that though, I'm also anticipating this title more than many others because even at this relatively early stage of its development, it's obvious that id has put an extraordinary amount of effort into the finer visual details. And I'm not talking about John Carmack's obvious gifts when it comes to developing game engines. I'm talking about the team of talented folks behind him that pick up on the myriad of subtle details that enhance the realism of imagery that is obviously out of the realm of reality.
If you haven't already done so, check out the extended trailer for Rage that was posted over at Shacknews. Forget for a second who is coding the game, or its genre, and just try to pick out some of the subtle details throughout. At the :32 mark, listen to the sound of the engine revving in relation to the buggy's motion. Note the high quality, cinematic use of Depth of Field effects during the FPS sequences, the realistic skin tones of the character at 1:13 mark and the subtle, tentative movements of the creature right after. Also note the physics properties employed at the 1:47 mark and the excellent explosions and dust trails. Those are the types of little things that really help suspend reality in my opinion, and suck people into certain games. Of course, the actual game-play is of the utmost importance, but I have confidence in id's abilities in this area as well. Perhaps the only part of that video that struck me as being a bit off are the lip movements and synchronization of the woman in the bar at the :55 mark, but even then they are still pretty good.
id hasn't given an expected release date and has only stated that Rage will be out "when it's fun and when it's done". Some have speculated that it could be released as far out as the 2011 time-frame, but I think that's pushing it. And id's Tim Willits has stated the game "isn't that far out" anyway. If you remember, the Doom 3 multi-player demo was featured at QuakeCon 2003, and the full game release came about a year later in August '04. If we use Doom 3's history as an indicator and consider that we first saw a trailer at last year's QuakeCon, and that this year id showed off an extended trailer and released the first set of actual in-game screenshots, we suspect the game is probably a year away, give or take a few months. Perhaps id will release the game in time for next year's QuakeCon. Or if we can speculate a bit, maybe the next QuakeCon will feature a Rage Demo with the full release to come just in time for the holidays. With so much of the game being shown off already, we suspect Rage is closer to release than id has let on.