Quelling The Rage: Carmack and Willits Speak Out
August 1, 2008 Page 4 of 5
I've been playing id games since Wolfenstein 3D, and when I was at QuakeCon last year, it was really almost astonishing to me how many disparate genre elements you're bringing into Rage. Which is an unusual thing for a developer that has made its name on really establishing one genre, and I'm wondering how much you had to, or if you had to, modify your internal design processes to deal with that.
JC: Yeah, it is a tough call, because I've always argued against "kitchen sink" gaming design, and that's a real problem with modern games, where the idea is that you throw hundreds of people at it and make sure that you have everything in there.
There are some extremely successful games that are built along that model, of "have everything, give people nothing that they could criticize us for" - but we're not a team size big enough to do that. I wouldn't really want to do that type of thing, but we knew that we wanted to do certain things different; the idea of setting it out in the brighter outdoor area, that was one of the preeminent things.
I mean, the first game, that we rebooted, was called Darkness. And I was thinking, "This is just going to be another thing that people hate us for - the exact same things." So we're going to go ahead and do the "running over mutants in a pickup truck" sorta thing, in the outside.
But we feel we retired most of the risk for the driving side of things; the last big question is the more adventureish, RPGish side of things - which, of course, is the hardest thing to retire, because you wind up meeting the entire game, there, and finding out how fun it is to go take these tasks, around that. And that's the remaining thing, that none of us internally have built games like that, except for cellphone games, to a minor degree.
But we went through the driving aspect, and we hadn't done this, but we've got stuff that's fun now; it's fun to sit down, drive around, and either race or shoot at other cars, and mow down things. So, we can build the skills; we've got extremely talented people on all sorts of levels, and we can learn what's necessary to do any of these different tasks.
We went into this knowing that we had the humility to say, "We're great at what we do, and we're all smart, and we're all talented; we can learn these other things, but we don't know it yet." And we have to go in with this "freedom to fail" sort of approach. We're going to go take some cuts at it, we don't expect it to be right first, and we'll work on it as long as it takes.
id Software's Rage
The focus on Rage is the consoles. I think that's understandable, these days, from a market perspective, but I'm wondering, from a development perspective, again, if that is something of a shift in the way that you have to think about the project.
JC: Well, it's a lot of fun, actually, going and working on the different console platforms. I mean, I enjoy doing that type of stuff. The mobile phones are fun, the 360 and PS3 stuff is. It's fun to look at the different challenges. You've got the set of all these technical things here, and figuring out the right set of techniques and organizations for all of that, I love that type of stuff.
I do miss, in some ways, the, "Let's just stay at the bleeding edge on the PC; work real closely with all the hardware vendors so that you're using the latest stuff the minute it comes out," but there are days when I'm like, "Wow, it would be nice to develop just for the 360," you know? If you just want to make games, it would be great to just do that, and not have to worry about driver updates, and all the different hardware SKUs on there.
So we're still trying to do things that - the Quake Live project is all about, "Let's do something that the PC is uniquely good at," because the console is still a crappy web browser, and it's still not as good as a keyboard-mouse interface; it's just not. So there are things that the PC is better at, and we want to take advantage of that.
And there's exciting stuff that we can do on the mobile, but for the big, blockbuster, media-rich, triple-A titles? You have to be cross-platform across the platforms. If you're going to devote the tens of millions of dollars that it takes to make one of these games, you just really need to be there, just from a business reality sort of standpoint.
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