id Software has been fairly quiet about their upcoming game plans for some time. Aside from their work with Splash Damage on the very-close-to-release Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, they have been working in near secrecy on not just one, but a number of upcoming projects. However, QuakeCon 2007 has become the time for id to finally lift their curtain on at least some of these projects, along with some related id activities as well.
FiringSquad got a chance to chat with id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead and id Software design director Tim Willits where we discussed a number of these projects. Our chat was so extensive, in fact, that we are going to break up our discussion into two parts. The first will concentrate on id's newly revealed game Rage and id Tech 5, while the second will cover id's other upcoming projects and related deals as first announced at QuakeCon.
From Quake to Rage
The big announcement at QuakeCon was, as we mentioned before, Rage, the first all new game franchise from id since the release of Quake over 10 years ago. The game's setting, as described by Willits, is a future Earth that has been devastated by a collision with a comet.
Your player character is described by Willits as "Buck Rodgers but not in space". He's an outsider who links up with a group of settlers who are trying to rebuild the planet. An evil regime, however, has designs to take over the settlers. Your character will work with the settlers to "rage" against the evil forces.
The demo movie that was shown at QuakeCon gives people some idea on what the gameplay design for Rage will be like. This will not be a corridor first person shooter, but a game in an open and non-linear enviroment. While there will be a lot of first person shooter action, Hollenshead and Willits told us it also incorporates vehicles via Rage's versions of dune buggies. You won't just be driving around in the game; Rage will also give players a chance to go racing as well. As Willits told us, "We want this game to be fun. We want fun first person shooter stuff, fun vehicle stuff with combat involved in it, and fun racing." While Willits told us that the game will have load times, the graphics and textures have been streamed so that the load times should be "ridiculously fast". There will be multiplayer features in Rage as well with Willits telling us that they will be concentrating on co-op play for the game.
id Tech 5
The game uses what id is calling id Tech 5, the next graphics engine from the company's co-founder John Carmack. (according to Hollensheadm they consider id Tech 1 to be the Doom engine, while Tech 2 is Quake 1-2, Tech 3 is Quake 3 and Tech 4 is Doom 3).
The new graphics engine was first shown at a Macintosh event earlier this year and a new in-game movie trailer was shown to the audience at QuakeCon on Friday night. While the game does incorporate some concepts of Carmack's MegaTexture tech that he developed for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, id Tech 5's code was written from the ground up.
One of the most important aspects of id Tech 5 is the fact that id wants their game and all other games that use the technology to run at 60 frames per second on all four platforms (PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360..and no a Wii version of id Tech 5 is not planned). That means that if a developer uses id Tech 5 they in theory will be able to make a game that will be released on all of those four platforms at the same time and perform at the same frame rate (in practice that might not happen due to how Sony and Microsoft have to approve each game for their respective consoles).
id Tech 5 should also eliminate how artists and level designers make games using the engine. Usually developing a game means having to cut textures and parts of levels in order to have it work on multiple platforms. However, the new graphics engine should allow people to use the same art assets and all of the level design on all four of id Tech 5's supporting platforms. While Hollenshead told us that different platforms will still be limited in terms of polygon detail, the art and level design should not be affected.
While id has shown off the tech to other developers and publishers at E3 a few weeks ago, the tech won't actually be available to third parties until sometime in the fall of this year. Hollenshead said that engine licensing has changed since they licensed the Quake engine to third parties 10 years ago. However, he does feel that id Tech 5 will allow just one development team to make a game that will run on four platforms at once.
So Rage is the game and id Tech 5 is the graphical horse that runs it. While the actual game wasn't being shown live at QuakeCon this weekend, the brief in-game movie demo blew us away with its visuals. Combining that tech with open world gameplay, shooting and racing, should make Rage the most original and most sophisticated game id Software has ever made. The game has a "when it's done" release date. Hollenshead told us no decision has yet been made on the game's publisher (Activision has published nearly all of id's games since the first Quake expansion packs).
In the second part of our article we find out more about Quake Zero, the next Quake game, Quake Arena for Xbox Live Arcade, id's new download deal with Valve's Steam service, and the newly revealed deal to make a new Wolfenstein movie. Stay tuned.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!
Mass Effect 3 PC Demo Impressions Mass Effect 3, EA/BioWare's third iteration in their series of sci-fi action RPGs and one of the most anticipated titles of the year, is fast approaching its March 6th release. This week, though, they released a playable demo on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 that offers a glimpse into both the single-player and multi-player portions of the full game.
Whether you're waiting impatiently for your download to finish or don't have the time to check it out yourself, go ahead and read some impressions of the demo from resident FSers Synch and Vandy in today's article!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 Review
The self-appointed "most anticipated game in history" launched worldwide this past Tuesday. Why, it's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, of course (of course), what else? Unsurprisingly, the military FPS debate between this and Battlefield 3 rages on, but now that both have been released, surely we can take a look and objectively evaluate them both? Luke's taken the Xbox version of MW3 for a spin this week, so to find out what he thinks of it in today's review!