The original Rage was widely anticipated- it was John Carmack and id Software’s first new game in years, and the company that had repeatedly revolutionized first person shooters and video game technology back in the 1990s was expected to do so again with their newest, much hyped venture.
Except- Rage disappointed. The game felt too disjointed, too empty, and generally its ambition seemed to outstrip its execution. No one ever imagined that id Software, now under Bethesda, would take a second stab at it- but, together with Avalanche Studios, the folks best known for Just Cause and 2015’s Mad Max, that’s exactly what they are doing.
Speaking about how the new game will differ from the original, Tim Willits, who is working on the upcoming sequel, acknowledged that the original game failed to embrace and execute on the kind of emergent gameplay that it had promised- in large part due to how it needed to cordon off the action from the open world, leading to two distinct gameplay styles, each claustrophobically confined from the other.
With Rage 2, that shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to the technology afforded by the new consoles. “We had the megatexture technology, and we had the open world, but it was really kind of two different things,” Tim Willits told the Official PlayStation Magazine (July 2018 Issue 150). “It was the wasteland, and you then loaded another level, and then you were in your first person combat. Well, that’s all gone now. You’re just in the game. Everything is seamless, and together, and you can engage in combat the way you want. The promise of Rage is delivered in Rage 2.”
Having combat directly take place within the larger open world should allow for the kinds of spontaneous emergence that is so much a hallmark of the best open world shooters, like Far Cry or Just Cause. Whether or not that is enough for Rage 2 to stand out remains to be seen- but for now, the developers are saying all the right things, at the very least.