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The Creative Intent of Rage

October 3, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

I played through a lot of Borderlands. Were you guys annoyed when that came out? I mean, because you'd been planning this for a long time, and there are a lot of similar elements? A lot of driving, a lot of shooting, linear with mission-based side branches -- the internal structure of the game is extremely similar.

AC: Yeah. I sometimes wonder if it's like when, maybe five or six years ago when every military shooter was based in World War II. And I think that just happens. Technology moves along to a point where it's like, "Hey, you know what? Technology is at a point where we could do a post-apocalyptic game."

And we can't be the people that came up with the post-apocalyptic genre, so it's just a matter of, I think, different studios reaching this same sort of goal, and using that as a jumping off point. And when you jump off from post-apocalyptic themes, obviously Road Warrior is going to come into it, you know? That's the big one, and then…

As we've noted, brown is one of the easiest colors to put in everything.

AC: Brown? Quake is famously brown, and I would say with Rage, the palette is more orange.

Did that come naturally or were you looking at the trend of popular culture now, as with the orange/blue trend in films?

AC: Not really. I mean, I think we had a lot of great concept artists, and when we were doing initial concepts and prototypes for the game that's generally just what we leaned to. Our artistic eyes move along with pop culture as well, so if it seems to be looking like a trend, then that's probably why.

Yeah, you're just getting swept along by the zeitgeist.

AC: Yeah.

Is the entirety of the game relatively linear, as I have experienced in these two and a half hours that I played?

AC: The story itself is linear, obviously, but there are moments where you can just have fun, and go off and make money. I've seen people just do races; I've seen people at this press event just do races, and races, and races, because that's what they like to do. So in that sense it's what we call "open but directed."

TH: There's a main story arc, but the gameplay isn't necessarily directed, or dictated, by that. There's a narrative that goes through it, but then the game is sort of built around that. There are story branches as well, that you can either play on the main path to completion of the game, or you don't necessarily have to participate in.

And then there are also aspects of the game that, as Andy was saying, kind of have an arbitrary nature -- like, how many times do you want to race? Is it really important for you to get first place, because that's the type of player you are? Because all the game requires you to do is finish in the top three.

Yeah, although I did come across while playing at least three or four instances where the game was like, "Nope, you're not going that way right now!" I can see that it is not entirely linear, but I did feel like I was being strongly gated -- usually by getting murdered.

TH: It's not like, "just wander around," and that's on purpose. I mean, the point of the game isn't to [wander around]. And in fact we looked at it as we were building the wastelands. Part of the reason why you have a car is sort of the same thing -- we have these vast environments. If you're just walking around through the wasteland, I mean, that's one of the bad things that happens.

If you die out in the wasteland, we put you back in a town, or whatever, and you have to rebuild your car, and stuff, because we didn't want people just like, "Oh, now I'm out in the middle of nowhere! I'm going to get it handed to me by all these guys in cars, and towers with guns, and stuff." So we try to make the wastelands more like -- some of the experiences like running a gauntlet to get through from point A to point B, as opposed to just going where you want.

And that's kind of the idea: that it's open, there are meaningful choices that you can make, in terms of what you want to do. There's not necessarily a predetermined order of, "this is number one, this is number two, this is number three." You may have multiple missions that you can do at the same time, and the order in which you choose them is up to you. Now, it may be more or less challenging based on the way it was intended, but it's not necessarily dictated.

But there are aspects of the world that are only opened up to you once you do certain things, and you cause the bits to happen, and yeah, we don't open the whole thing. For example, once you go from the Wasteland One part of the game to Wasteland Two, you go forward; you can't just go back and forth between the two.

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Benjamin Quintero
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Wow. Is it just me or was the interviewer being kind of a jerk through the whole thing? I mean every question was like:

"This looks like every other shooter out there. Tell me again what is different?"

"So.. Borderlands is pretty cool, why did you rip them off?"

"The game is linear. Convince me why that doesn't suck."

"About Borderlands again. That was a fun game, right?"

"My guy doesn't talk. When are you going to fix that?"

"Did I mention that the game was linear? What were you thinking?"

Even the title set the mood, Creative "Intent". As if to say, nice try, maybe next time. This guy has a real case of the Mondays.

Dan Weatherman
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I couldn't agree more. Almost every question made me wince.

Chris Howe
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Yep, the interviewer seemed actively hostile to the game and/or iD.

Robert Fearon
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I thought it was fine. I mean, the first answer was entirely marketing blurb of no substance - I don't see anything wrong with trying to cut through that to get to something interesting.

Alex Belzer
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To Brandon Sheffield's credit, the game looks incredibly derivative, and he put it all out there to see what iD had to say about that, giving them a fair chance to explain themselves.

Benjamin Quintero
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@Robert, I agree that it's important to cut through the fluff sometimes and land some difficult questions, but it's something else completely to just sit and rub the product in their face like it just pooped on the carpet. Most of the interview consisted of a bunch of specific scenarios and how the interviewer didn't agree with them. They were hardly questions at all, it was more: he bash them, then they reply in defense. I wouldn't exactly call that investigative journalism. That's just trolling.

Mike Weldon
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It's not just you. We don't need investigative journalism for a video game. If you don't like the game then why are you interviewing the developers? Publish an editorial about how much you dislike the game, but don't drag the devs through the mud over it.

Robert Fearon
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Benjamin, I think we're at cross purposes a tad - I'm not talking about hard hitting questions, I'm talking about attempting to wangle *anything* out of iD at the moment that isn't generic marketing talk. It's nothing to do with investigative journalism and everything to do with not just sitting there being fed lines.

I dunno, if it were IGN, Eurogamer or anywhere else, I'd likely be a bit more uncomfortable with trying to push past a fluff piece but this is Gamasutra - a predominantly industry and developer aimed site and I think that yes, we should hold people to more than throwing out marketing fluff and push them if they're not going to give.

I wouldn't like to say the mood between Brandon & iD, I wasn't in the room and there's a few ways you could read this interview (tetchy, humorously, either side being bored with the other...) but if you're going to claim that "it is a game that doesn't look like any other game" and it really, really doesn't look anything of the sort - I don't have a problem with that being queried.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Justin Leeper
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@Johnny Fox: Developers can't play as many games as gamers. They're too busy MAKING GAMES. It's an incredibly time-consuming and not all that rewarding job. Hence why I no longer do it.

Mark Venturelli
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Actually, Brandon's attitude was the main reason I thought this interview was great. The id guy was just repeating generic PR stuff and Brandon gave him several opportunities to talk more openly - this is Gamasutra, not IGN.

Don Langosta
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You're right and this is a rather hostile interview, but to be fair the developers did quite a lot of dancing, too.

The game DOES look like Fallout or Borderlands. Sure it's prettier and they did do a great job with the environments, but the idea and feel of the place is the same.

The interviewer was also absolutely right to take them to task for claiming the game has "meaningful choices" when they themselves admit that the choices are basically, "play the game" or "don't play the game." Sure, you don't NEED to collect the buggy parts early on if you don't want to. If you don't, there is NOTHING for you to do.

That's like saying Super Mario Bros. has meaningful choices because you never need to actually move.

David Holmin
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He seems to have expected an RPG or something. Judging from the 45 min video on IGN, the gunplay looks smoother and more satisfying than other recent FPS out there, and the environments look great. What more can you expect from an Id game?

I like interviewers that ask tough questions, but this was just a ridiculous attempt to make Id look bad. He only asked about the RPG aspects but left driving, weapon punch, visuals, animation and AI untouched (all of which look great).

Adolfo Sanchez III
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I mean I get why you might want to constructively analyze this game and perhaps give them a chance to explain why they set themselves apart from the rest of the market. Or exactly how they plan to do that, but yeah some of these questions are a bit biased I think. Not every game has to completely push the boundaries of what currently possible at any given time or place in the game world. A healthy mindset for innovation is all that is really required, trying something completely new is interesting yes, but very risky not as a designer but financially.

Peter Clark
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Sorry man, couldn't disagree more.

One of the MAJOR PROBLEMS with all western media is they end up a thinly veiled advertising campain for everyone and anyone.

So called "critics" rarely criticize.

So called Interviewers rarely interview. (questions in advance?)

It all ends up a puppet show. Only have to check out some of the more awful games on metacritic these days to verify.

And don't get me wrong, I actually LIKE rage, I think the game is good, but if more people asked questions of this nature, less bad game companies would still be plying their 2-bit warez to kids who rely on critics to tell them what's good.

Daniel Haddad
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Is it just me or is the "English" in this interview is really hard to follow?

"Well the choice on that stuff is like is this something like"

"So when you get them the intent or the idea behind the game"

" wonder if it was probably like, I don't know, maybe five or six years ago when every military shooter was based in World War II. And I think that just happens. Like, technology moves along to a point where it's like, "Hey, you know what? Technology is at a point where we could do a post-apocalyptic game."

To point out a few, it is no problem if you are watching or listening to the interview, but reading it? Take the time to proof it a little more.

Chuck Charles
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The irony of your first sentence....

Zach Rupp
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That's just Todd Hollenshead. Nothing he says ever makes any sense. Read every other interview with him and you'll find the same circular reasoning and flat-out incomplete thoughts in every one of those interviews.

Ali Afshari
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Wow, I normally have had no qualms with Sheffield's interviews and features but it really seemed like he was not happy to play and wanted to let id know. Yes, it's an FPS, the story has a beginning/middle/end so it's linear, the protagonist doesn't what? Are these really things that we need to bring up as issues? The part about the art-inclined bandits just kills me! Why is it hard to accept that the bad guys also have a creative streak? The idea that the game is derivative cannot be confirmed yet because it hasn't been played in its entirety. I'll get the game eventually, but I'm not expecting a sandbox game with multiple story paths and dialog's an FPS from id! Obviously, there is also a nod to the old school shooters.

Vin St John
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But the purpose of this interview was to find out about the creative intent iD was touting for their game. The game doesn't necessarily look BAD but nobody would step into an interview in an attempt to prove that their game is Completely Average. He asked interesting questions that clearly came from a place of questioning the assertion that the game had any interesting creative intent worth talking about.

I actually viewed the question about the artist colonies as being his attempt at throwing the interviewee a bone - that would stand out as something potentially intriguing with an interesting story behind it. Those details are what people latch onto when looking for evidence of a well-authored creative vision. Unfortunately, this particular element was coincidental, not intentional.

Of course, it's quite possible that the interviewee had a lot of great, specific things to say about Rage that these questions never let him/her get to.

[User Banned]
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jin choung
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so what? exactly. and that's how id could have handled it. it's THEY who mishandled the questions. if there's nothing wrong with wearing jeans, you're not going to react DEFENSIVELY when someone calls you out on wearing jeans... but that is id's error here.

it doesn't just SIMPLY ADMIT to what it is.

- linear? yes. we believe that a linear story worked best for blah blah blah

- protagonist doesn't speak? absolutely. in the tradition of shooters like quake and half life blah blah blah.

- art inclined mutant murdering bad guys? that's a hilarious question and observation. we have no answer.

the mistake is to not admit to those things that correctly characterize your product and instead trying to "spin it" with a dense barrage of sound bite language.

Bart Stewart
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Interesting. I'm normally pretty twitchy about rudeness, but the questions here didn't cross that line for me. I thought they were challenging, but not confrontational.

In fact, it was pretty refreshing to see direct questions eliciting (reasonably) direct answers. What Brandon was asking were the questions that many gamers -- whose money id wants -- will be asking. If a game developer is not able to handle such questions from a professional site like Gamasutra, how will they be able to cope with the entitlement-based nastiness of some likely customers?

On balance, I thought this was a tough but fair and informative interview.

Kevin Cardoza
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Agreed. Heaven forbid a journalist decide to challenge developers when they give a rehearsed PR line to their questions. Still looking forward to playing the game regardless.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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I know this is slightly off topic, but I am sincerely curious: when and how did "entitlement" become such a common term? It's derogatory right? I apologize if I am wrong, but if it is derogatory, then why is someone feeling entitled to a product being well-made that they have to exchange money for deserving of scorn? If it's not derogatory in this context, then never mind :).

Vin St John
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@ Jeffrey Crenshaw - I believe the "entitlement-based nastiness of some likely customers" may be better reworded to "entitlement-based nastiness of some would-be customers" and still fit Bart's point. (Bart, correct me if I'm wrong).

People feel falsely entitled to the game that they want released to be released. The entitlement problem is in the minds of gamers who have not yet paid money for a game. It's from the notion that developers (or any business) "has a responsibility to serve their fans." It's not a real responsibility, just a perceived one, but ignoring it can still have very real consequences.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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@Vin Ah, like how people insisted on complaining about the Wii for not serving their hardcore market instead of just enjoying the two consoles that did? Makes sense; past some point, if you aren't getting the game anyway, just accept that it wasn't intended for you. Of course polite complaints can always benefit the developer, and nastiness should be avoided anyway.

I'm still pretty sensitive to the modern use of the word "entitlement" as it has become a political weapon lately. To sarcastically say that someone's desire is an "entitlement" is really to claim that they don't innately "deserve" what they want; which is fine if that is your opinion, but what does anyone really "deserve"? Who gets to decide what people deserve -- you? And can't that rhetoric be used anywhere -- you are not really "entitled" to welfare, you are not really "entitled" to a job, you are not really "entitled" to a home, you are not really "entitled" to freedom, you are not really "entitled" to live, you are not really "entitled" to opportunity, you are not really "entitled" to _not_ have to pay for other peoples' welfare, you are not "entitled" to your opinion, etc etc. It seems like a disingenuous rhetorical tactic made from spite more than reason (in political use, not in Bart's post -- he just reminded me of it).

Sorry, off topic, but that word has been bugging me a lot lately. I still don't understand why people are using it so much now -- if it is some falloff from the healthcare debacle or if it is a long-standing trend that I just haven't been paying attention to. Thanks for clarifying though.

Bart Stewart
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@Vin: I said "likely" thinking of people interested enough in Rage to show up someplace to talk about it, but "would-be" is not that far off.

@Jeffrey, by "entitlement mentality" I'm afraid I did mean it as it's come to be used -- people believing that they have a right to control or possess things that others worked to create. In the gaming context, it usually manifests as an unquestioned certainty that what the gamer wants is the obvious Right Thing, regardless of what anyone else may think, and the developers need to spend whatever time and money are required to implement the gamer's expectations most instantly. (Angry denunciations of "nerfs" are another case.)

I suspect there's likely to be a fair few folks with this attitude interested in Rage. Brandon's questions were gentle by comparison....

Kris Graft
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Just as a bit of background, Brandon's questions followed a four-hour play session during an event prior to this interview, so in his defense, his questions weren't just to be a "jerk," but I believe he legitimately wanted some insight into his initial impressions he had of Rage. I won't put words in his mouth though, maybe he'll comment here later!

Thomas Engelbert
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I'm very excited about Rage. It felt great to play at Gamescom, and to me (who could just play about 10 - 15 minutes), it looked like they were really looking into the details. Like in that mentioned Ark scene at the beginning, you come out, you're helpless, have to be rescued within the first few minutes, and then your rescuer asks you to go out and attack a bandit outpost. My first impression was like "WTF? You just saved my ass from TWO bandits, and now you want me to go out and do WHAT?" But then the man explains that you're from that Ark, that you kind of have special powers, and I remembered the hints that you have cyberware implants. And suddenly it all made sense.

Yet, to me, these answers sounded a lot like if the person being interviewed tried to not aknowledge that the game is pretty much like all the other games of this genre. I mean, In Fallout for example, I can save money to get a weapon, hope to find it somewhere else, or whatever, too.

Anyways, I'll see if it can live up to my expectations when it arrives. Only a few more days to go *smiles*

Brandon Sheffield
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Yes, just to clarify for folks, this interview was done directly after I had played the game for four straight hours, and my questions were essentially trying to reconcile what id has said about the game publicly, and what I had actually experienced in the game. Essentially, defend your statements against what I saw.

And the mood in the room was not hostile! We had quite a fine time, but my interviews can definitely come across as harsher when you can't hear my inflection!

Gerald Belman
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Yea we'll see. I think this game looks awesome. Id has always been ahead of the curve as far as graphics/art go.

Let's just hope the physics and the AI is up to par.

There is so much potential with these graphics/art though, even if the other things suck, the game is still going to be awesome to play.

And whatever graphics techniques are used in this game, you can bet they are going to be taken up by the rest of the industry in a few years. Perhaps this engine will be used to make a ton of different games.

James Gadbury
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Fair enough tackling id's marketing claims based on what you played but the use of your language came across (to me) as a bit sarcastic, nit-picky and overly critical. Many of the points you raised seemed quite trivial, and sounded like criticisms instead of queries. For example, bandits dialects and artistic tendencies, limited dialogue choice, the palette being brown and the game looking like other post-apocalyptic games (in setting, yes, but certainly not in art style or execution).

Also, you mentioned in the interview that you played 2.5 hours of the game but in the comments section it states 4 hours. How much of the game had you played at the point of the interview?

Jeremy Reaban
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Well, not having followed the game at all, it really does look like a combination of Fallout 3 and Borderlands.

And frankly, a game that is almost completely brown and grey is not exactly new to the FPS genre. So I think you have every right to point out the exceedingly obvious.

Jason Bakker
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I think that the interview is fine, but it stands out against most of Gamasutra's other interviews, which while still interesting are often less challenging.

I'd like to see more interviews where interesting, difficult questions are being asked, particularly of big-budget game developers who are often able to get away with marketing the game's selling points in their answers.

rob cook
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Brilliant! It is once in a blue moon, unfortunately, that an interviewer asks the hard, pointed questions that the buying public would ask, if they could, before plunking down their hard-earned cash. Created an account just to compliment the article. Keep your chin up, you *will* take heat for the honesty of the interchange.


Steven An
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"It's because they were made by guys that were art-inclined." LOL best answer ever.

Matt Hackett
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Just the right amount of controversy, well done!

Luis Guimaraes
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"Do you think people will really notice? I mean, on the consumer side?"

Jonathan Daley
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When I read this interview, I immediately picked up on some things that could be big design problems; open world areas you're meant to just drive through and not walk around and explore? Making the towns a "lull" in the action?

Then I read Ben Kuchera's review on ArsTechnica, and it turns out those concerns were completely justified. Here's the review:

Ali Afshari
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Both Borderlands and Fallout 3 had their fair share of tedious quests, broken save system. Borderlands in particular had dull mechanics and linearity, imho. I'm not convinced that the Ars review is the end-all be-all. What I am convinced about, is that Rage is "good", and that's enough for me.

raigan burns
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Okay, seriously people? An interviewer with relevant difficult questions rather than pandering fanboyism is "being a jerk?"

This is the exact sort of proper reporting that needs to be applied across all AAA games: trying to cut through the PR bullshit and get some realness in there.

Seriously, I loved this interview because it was an actual interview and not a fluff piece, unlike 99% of these sorts of things. It's sad that calling people on their marketing bs is considered a faux pas by some.

Christopher Enderle
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This is the exact sort of proper reporting that needs to be applied across everything, for that matter.

I do seriously sometimes skip articles because it seems obvious the developers have come out to do a fluff piece to help hype their game. Not that developers shouldn't hype their games, but I'm not interested in that aspect, so it's really nice when something that could have been pure fluff turns into something that a developer can read and learn from.

Luis Guimaraes
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@Frank Deaton

Same things I was thinking to myself while reading. "Why is a lot of the game brown?". Huh?

Wonder if we'll start seing reviews do that too. "Hey, the game is too brown, and even worse, it's an FPS, try better next time: 3.5/10"

I'm already sad for Far Cry 3 when it comes out.

warren blyth
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@Frank and @luis - you should re-read the interview.

- he NEVER asks why the game is brown. read it.

They are talking about the recent surge in post apocalypse games, and the similarities to the internal mechanics of Borderlands (like driving). The artist notes that when studios think post apocalypse, they can't help but think of Road Warrior. Brandon starts to give the game a pass, agreeing with the artist, noting that brown is just an easy color to build from. The implication is that you can't really fault them for pulling from the same palette as the makers of Borderlands. The point here is still about why there are similarities to other post-apocalypse games.

But the Artist cuts him off at this point, to side track into an art discussion, and notes that while previous id game like Quake could be summed up as brown, the Rage artists chose to focus more on a strong orange aesthetic.

This not at all the same as asking why the game is brown. !!!

And so, the question Sheffield actually asks of the artist is if the art team sought to tie into recent trends in movie poster (and box cover) design, which use blue/orange color palettes. Again, this is not a question about why the game is brown.

@frank, you make up your own answers to why the protagonist is silent, or why he is the only one who can solve problems -but id answers these questions in the interview.

By suggesting these are silly questions to ask: you overlook why he is asking them. His question starts by pointing out that anyone waking up in the game's scenario would have questions, and then asks id how they feel about putting a silent protagonist into this scenario (and they give an answer).

He doesn't set up "why are you the only hero" as well, but if you play the game you'll see why this question was asked. It's because characters in the game tell you they are glad you came along, because only you can solve these problems. And id answers this question by pointing out that the game will answer this question more fully, farther in.

The three questions you point out: are not awkward in the context of the interview.

raigan burns
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Okay, I really don't understand what's happened to id. Can anyone explain these two contradictory statements, made in quick succession?

"There's not necessarily a predetermined order of, 'this is number one, this is number two"

"once you go from the Wasteland One part of the game to Wasteland Two, you go forward; you can't just go back and forth between the two"


Luis Guimaraes
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I think it's a question about scale, not linearity. In every game, you necessarily start playing before you stop playing. Once you got to analise macro progression, everything will seem linear.

The choice of dividing the game in two huge story supported world sections is not like the game being on rails.

Gerald Belman
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I think you people are reading to much into this. Id has been pretty honest from the beginning that this is not an open world RPG. This is an FPS with some driving elements and some simple rpg flavors.

They've been pretty clear about this from the beginning.

You can say what you want about the game (I personally think it's awesome but thats just me) they are not misleading anyone. You are projecting your own design tastes onto this game instead of appreciating it for what is and what it tries to do well.

Alex Hutchinson
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Great interview. Finally, someone asks interesting questions instead of letting people regurgitate their PR spiels.

As someone who does a lot of game interviews, I would welcome 10X more of this: mostly game developers have complete and thoughtful reasons as to why decisions were made, and I honestly believe anyone who reads a site like Gamasutra would like to hear them.

Lo Pan
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I wish Christian Nutt had taken this aggressive tact with the From Software team on Dark Souls. Love to hear their honest answers on their design decisions.

jin choung
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i liked it. he wasn't accepting the sound bites at face value. he was comparing what was being said vs. what his actual experience of the game was.

i think what amped up the tension was that the id guys weren't prepared for it so they stuck to their guns about the sound bites instead of really coming up with a true answer.

"this looks like no other game" ... i mean come on. interviewer called the hyperbole for what it was.

first game interview to to make me laugh out loud though... "i feel like i'm murdering people at an art colony" and, "what is it about these mutants that make them so art obsessed"...


Dimitri Reinhart
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That's sad, as if the ID guys had no idea about their own game's background. The part with the different types of accents could have revealed that they worked hard on the coherence of their world (I do hope they did).

They just look like they're here to talk about another game :(.

Enrique Hernandez
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To me it felt like the interviewer was bordering on "internet forum troll" who has nothing better to do than complain about every little thing he doesn't like in a game.

"oh noes, the game is brown and another boring fps!!! oh my god rage sucks!"

Or like those people who say: "wait, the reloading animation in bf3 for the M16 is not 100% accurate???? I'm cancelling my preorder!!!"

warren blyth
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I think you mean he sounds like the kind of "troll" who asks if they art team ended up with an orange color palette because it arose naturally or perhaps because they were looking at the orange/blue trend trend in the movie posters and game box art we've see in popular culture for the past few years.

Patrick Blank
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@JohnnyFox I'm not sure why you would say that developers have no time to play games? We are gamers, and play just as many if not more than the average gamer. At least 95% of the developers I know and have worked with. We got into this industry because we are gamers and love games. Sure there are periods when you can't dedicate as much time to games as you would like for whatever reason. But I really don't see a valid distinction between developers and the average Joe pertaining to the amount of time playing games?

Lo Pan
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After playing the game for four hours like Brandon, the best I can say about it is that their engine will be a terrific core for Fallout 4. Rage's game design = not fun.

Harry Fields
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id is so 1995. Carmack may be an excellent geek, but their products lack vision, beyond the technical. And sadly, putting so much effort into iTech5 is kinda' dumb when you've intentionally dropped out of the engine licensing business. And iTech5 is not well suited to the open environments of Fallout so I'd be surprised if it showed up in any other Bethesda game that's not a unique IP.

Ron Dippold
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All his tough questions were right on the money. We've got the game now, and it's as boring and generic as Brandon's questions implied (though the combat can be fun). The 'RPG' bit is a completely linear fetchquest joke and should have been left out entirely - as far as I can tell it's in there just to artificially extend the gameplay.

So the question is, is "How do you compete with Borderlands?" a) a fair question because it fails to compete with Borderlands at all? or b) cruel and rude because it's too late to fix it now so why would you dampen the hype?

Maybe someone else should have been asking these questions a lot earlier. Internally at id and Zenimax and in all those glowing previews. How often do we have to go through the cycle of hype Hype HYPE HYPE HYPE, and then the game gets released and it's crap?

Edit: Didn't mean to imply that Rage is crap - it's no Call of Juarez: The Cartel. But it is disappointing.

Michael Glosenger
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I enjoyed this interview. I too think Rage looks highly generic and generally uninteresting beyond the unique game engine. I don't think the interviewer was being hostile - he did ask open-ended questions that the id employees could have answered in various ways. I think that with the 'artist bandits' question he was saying he felt sort of bad about killing them. So it goes in these endless kill 'em games when a developer actually makes the 'enemies' vaguely sympathetic.

I didn't realize that the current crop of post-apocalyptic games all started development around the same time, though. Considering that, this is simply id's take on that genre, and it fits all the other games they've released since Doom. Personally I think they've just been making the same game over and over since Doom, but with the latest technology. This new engine looks impressive, and surely Bethesda will be using it to power some of their more truly open-ended role-playing-ish games. id may also be leery of offering licensing after the Doom 3 engine didn't end up being particularly popular.

If Fallout 3 and New Vegas and Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 and Borderlands had never come out, I probably would have bought this.

Jeffrey Baird
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What Ron said. BTW I took the interviewer's tone to be more like what I felt upon playing - not jerkyness, but the frustration felt by a big id fan since the 90s who is continually let down by their regular failure/ambivalence at creating deep mood & Story or any serious world development, despite all their hype. It's like we give them more credit than they earn, just b/c they are id & an industry treasure. Why should we buy into their worlds if they don't seem to give half a **** when building them anyway?

Look the interviewer is not some super critical impossible to please troll, he just played the game and saw its potential and the obvious issues that cruised right on thru the entire dev cycle. WTF, id? This is common sense stuff, not picking at irrelevant nits. You guys are way too talented for this. I think that's where the xtra criticism/impatience comes from - seeing the wasted potential. The insult at being tossed basic clunky forced play mechanics by people that should know better & are capable of so much more. From a team like id, it feels phoned in. It's not a garbage game - a garbage game by a nobody studio you are not bothered by, you turn it off & never think of it again, but this is id and it's been years...

So Rage's got these nice big environments & you keep going to the same places over & over. I survived the Ark but now I'm just a hobo w/ a buggy, constantly collecting empty beer bottles. Gotta get those bottles! Can't break a wooden pallet to get up some stairs but sure can grab every damn bottle I see. I'm glad he mentioned the whole 'forced to listen to the vendors canned statement first' thing. I was annoyed at that right off the bat. Also when I put on subtitles, the text box is small & NPC dialogue is interspersed with dialogue from some town loudspeaker... This is basic playtesting stuff. I can't find the shack to change my armor out, I think there was a minimap but I turned it off by accident maybe.. and am on Gamefly so have no manual.. whatever right

Why are the characters teeth so odd? It's some weird graphical shadow effect that bugged me in Doom 3 and 7yrs later they've still got this issue? Apparently they think its cool when everyone looks like Lil Wayne. The grenade proximity icon works great though, just like it did in Modern Warfare. I thought Mutant Bash tv would be fun but for some reason it was boring as hell. What's up w/ the Mayor? Dude never sits down, stands behind his desk w/ his thumbs hooked in his waistcoat.. we're in Deadwood now? The chicks are pretty hot.. everyone's livin in dirt, its the end of the world with mutants, but she sure is clean & does her pilates. I think the game was ultimately put together in a board room.. despite what happened at Team Bondi I think there is something to be said about a zealot with some say on the team.. not sure who it was here.

But you know what's fantastic about Rage? That super smooth framerate, the art, modeling & texturing is top notch. The mutant/zombie fighting is *exactly* what id excels at, how they slam their clubs and trip up from your bullets as they rush you... it's a blast. And they don't inexplicably take 20,000 rounds to down like the shirtless cokeheads in Bulletstorm. Too bad they keep interrupting the flow every 90 seconds for some braindead pretense of RPGness, bottle collecting & another load screen.

For so much emphasis on buggy driving, it could be better. You're screaming thru the desert with boost packs but tap B and you stop instantly? Right stick is an immediate camera flick, not a smooth transition, too weird so just try not to touch it. The idea of little hovering Mario Kart powerups just breaks any thought of RPG immersion anyway. It's all buggies/Cuprinos so far, no bikes, big rigs or choppers etc but am still playing so what do I know. Sometimes seems the original Doom had more enemy variation... btw why are the mutants' eyes glowing blue? To be xtra scary? They seem to all have the same 2 models & voices, where the NPCs voice acting is great, Goodman was a cool choice. The Doom demon sound effect/card thing & the little space marine bobblehead are cute but just make me feel like they know the glory days are in the past, & are leaning on it a bit too much..

Look maybe they just wanted this out the door so they can focus on the next Doom, which is what we all want anyway right? Like this is a warmup for the real show...

Maurício Gomes
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Warm up for the real show!

Shaun Huang
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Do they let anyone who can spell be a game journalist these days? What's the difference between professionally done interview vs an interview done by an immature kid from the forum? Compare this interview with any developer interview on Game Informer. lol

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I don't know about the tone nor the interview conditions, however the content is interesting.

About the questions asked by Brandon Sheffield, they felt like the ones that could be asked by a producer, the marketing people or anyone in a development team when they challenge a game design decision.

It's fair, and most of the time, the people asking are just waiting for a clever answer they didn't guess by themselves.

Philip Ford
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I enjoyed the interview - and particularly appreciated the interviewer's no-nonsense approach. How refreshing in this age of corporate, anodyne insincerity to stumble upon a genuinely 'awkward' interview with a well-respected developer. Good job. I cringe every time I hear the likes of Hollinshead or Willets from id go into their pre-prepared marketing spiel. I actually the felt the interviewer didn't go far enough, but that a tale for another day...

Tom Bodaine
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This interview was spot on.

99% of all interviews with game designers are pure, meaningless shit. Everybody talks about the innovations, freedom, narrative, characters. And then they deliver the same damn shoot-everything, space marine bullshit. The writer of this piece actually had to the nerve to ASK QUESTIONS as opposed to just letting the hacks spew their PR drivel.

It is pathetic that so many people equate candor and honest inquiry with being "rude." Like asking athletes, actors, game developers sincere and honest questions is somehow insulting. Id has never really developed beyond the tired and trite conventions of their iconic franchises. They just produce the same game experience, except with better graphics.

Why shouldn't this writer inquire about the inconsistencies of what the devs are asserting and what actually ends up on the screen? Rage seems entirely like another ho-hum, me-too game. Call a spade a spade.

I have ZERO INTEREST in the slavish knob polishings that are handed out to "geniuses" like Cliffy B, Miyamoto, Kojima, Tim Schafer. Those people turn out turds. It's insulting to scrutinize their work?