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One thing that I found a little odd at first is, you get out of The Ark and you don't know anything about the world. This guy picks you up, and he's saying all this stuff that I would really want to ask questions about. What do you think about the whole silent protagonist thing?
TH: We like the silent protagonist. He makes pain sounds occasionally, like, "Oooh!" But it's a really a different style of presentation.
It's a gray area where you're going to draw that line as to what we incorporate into it. We look at Rage as, if you're going to compare it to the movie genres, it's like the summer blockbuster action flick -- where the things that are in it are fun to do.
A lot of the action is over the top, and chopping guys' heads off. You're driving through towers out in the wasteland with your car, crashing down, there are explosions, mutants, and all that sort of stuff.
And we had these elements of the towns and things that take you out of the action, which give you a lull, and a chance to take a rest. But the decision on going to dialogue trees and things like that was just something that was one step more than we wanted to go into that type of game.
I found it particularly amusing when I first went into the town Wellspring and the guy says, "You just keep your mouth shut!" Well, what else am I going to do?
TH: Hey, we can poke fun at ourselves, too.
And another interesting thing about Wellspring is, "People don't take kindly to strangers around here -- you better not talk to them." Everybody was so friendly. I go in there, everyone's like, "Oh hey, how's it going? Welcome to Wellspring."
TH: There are a couple guys that will give you a little attitude.
They'll give you a glance or something, but by and large, everyone's like, "Yay! A new friend!"
TH: That's one of the things -- as you play through the game, you basically gain a reputation as this guy who is unique and a stranger. Thematically, if you're going to say it's like Road Warrior, just in terms of the outdoor environment, post-apocalyptic, and all that sort of stuff, that's fair. But if you want to draw a character parallel, it's really more like Buck Rogers -- like a man out of time and place but who is there, and he's the only person who can do the things that he does.
Why is he the only guy that can do the things that he does? He likes to murder dudes. I mean, there's that, but what else?
TH: Yeah, but only the bad guys.
TH: Well, these are parts of the things that come out in the story. Like when Dan Hagar is telling you, "There's something different about you." A lot of it has to do with the Ark Program, and the nanotrites, because you're the only one. Your Ark comes up out of the ground as a result of an earthquake, unscheduled, that The Authority wasn't aware of, and they've gotten everybody else except for you. And so, your ability to regenerate health... And just the fact that if you're good with a keyboard and mouse, or a controller, you can be a badass in Rage, and it makes you different.
The towns, they are a nice kind of a lull thing, and I am interested to hear what people have to say, but because they're there I actually want to interact with them a little more. Obviously the classic Japanese RPGs did similar stuff. It was an interesting choice. I guess you already explained it, by saying it's more about the action.
TH: Yeah, we believe in the philosophy of the wise old owl; the less he spoke, he more he heard.
How did you envision these towns, though, knowing that it was going to be more of a one-way information vehicle?
TH: Within the game construct, it's really about what course of actions a player takes, and how the story evolves, and what you'd do with the missions you chose, and your success in doing those, and [that] builds up how you're perceived by people in the towns. And it changes from, "You're a stranger, keep your head down," when you're in the Ark suit, to when you look more like the rest of us, and "Oh now you look more like you fit in."
And you just start doing things, people start appreciating it -- like when you go back to the Hagar Settlement, they react differently to you. And that's consistent throughout the rest of the game; as you go through, and build your reputation for doing things that are helping Wellspring, Hagar Settlement, et cetera, these people change their attitude and their skepticism of you -- to treat you more like a friend and a protector.