id Software and Avalanche Studio’s open world shooter is almost here.
RAGE 2 will take place in the same post-apocalyptic, asteroid-hit world as its predecessor, but it’s going to take a bit of a leap. More specifically, the game is set in the year 2165, thirty years after the events of the first title. The survivors have managed to start rebuilding semblances of civilization, but all is not rosy- the tyrannical group known as the Authority is still active and at large, and is mercilessly wiping out any who oppose their rule, while gangs and bandits still operate freely. We will play as Walker, one of the last remaining Rangers, who gets robbed by the Authority, but seeks vengeance and decides to bring them down.
NEW AND RETURNING CHARACTERS
Though RAGE 2 is essentially going to tell a story that is separate from the one told in the first game, complete with a significant time jump and a new protagonist and what have you, there’s still going to be some familiar faces in this sequel. While there will be many new characters to meet, there will also be some that will be returning from the first RAGE, including the likes of Antonin Kvasir and Lossum Hagar.
FOCUS ON NARRATIVE
Though RAGE 2 is placing a huge focus on its open world gameplay and its systemic mechanics that can be used to wreak havoc in its world, it’s still a game that is going to have a strong focus on story as well. Recently, Odd Ahlgren (narrative director) and Loke Wallmo (senior narrative designer) of Avalanche Studios talked about the game’s focus on narrative in an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, and this is what they had to say.
“Bethesda and id have been pushing for the story from the very beginning as well,” said Wallmo. “They knew that they wanted a strong story component in the game, and pushed for that from the beginning.”
“Most people you meet, most stuff that you see, even enemies that you never really talk to, they have a backstory and they have a reason to be there, and they have a reason to behave in the outrageous way that they do,” said Ahlgren. “Most of these things are explained if you look close enough.”
What’s most curious about RAGE 2, from a behind-the-scenes perspective, is that it isn’t solely an id Software venture. The legendary developer is overseeing development, but a large bulk of the development – especially all the open world aspects – is being handled by Avalanche Studios of Just Cause fame (the success of Just Cause and its open world gameplay was what actually prompted id Software to approach the studio for this collaboration).
id Software games use the studio’s own engine, id Tech (which MachineGames also uses for the Wolfenstein games), but RAGE 2 will be using Apex, the engine made by Avalanche Studios. That’s primarily been done to support the game’s open world ambitions. Apex, being an engine that was built as a toolset to create open world games, is far better equipped to deal with the kind of design philosophies RAGE 2 has in mind than the engine that is used to make the likes of DOOM.
RAGE 2 is, of course, going to be open world, but what’s interesting is that it’ll be allowing full freedom to players right from the get go. The entire map will be open and explorable from the beginning of the game, allowing players to go wherever they please. The world will also have towns and settlements for players to visit and explore.
What’s even more interesting about the world of RAGE 2 is how vibrant it is, and how much variety it offers, having been specifically designed to not be the excessively brown world that the first RAGE had on offer. RAGE 2’s world will have five distinct biomes in total, and throughout the map there will be swamplands, forests, cities, deserts, and more.
Given the fact that RAGE 2 is being co-developed by the makers of Mad Max, it comes as no surprise that vehicles and vehicular combat will also be featured in the game (as they were in the first game too, actually). There will be rucks, buggies, and even gyrocopters, and a lot more, with the developers having confirmed that players can “drive anything with wheels” in the open world.
RAGE 2 is looking to be the ultimate power fantasy, and one look at the plethora of abilities it will offer players to use in combat is enough to tell you just how much of a power fantasy it will be. A few examples of the abilities in RAGE 2 are the ground slam, which grows more powerful as the height from which players slam into the ground increases; a kinetic blast called Shatter that sends enemies hurtling away; Vortex, which can be thrown at enemies, which then sucks them into its radius, and can be combined with grenades or explosions for greater and wider damage; and Barrier, a portable shield that blocks incoming enemy fire and kills anything that touches it.
Of course, the abilities aren’t the only thing that will offer players unique and explosive ways to kill enemies. RAGE 2 also boasts some pretty high-concept weapons as well. There’s the Grav-Dart launcher, which attaches enemies to objects in the environment that players choose; the Firestorm Revolver, which fires rounds that stick to enemies and ignite when triggered by players; the Hyper-Canon, which fires a magnetically powered-up shot to destroy enemies and is best used from long range; or the Charged pulse canons. The Wingstick also returns from the first RAGE, but is expanded upon, and can be upgraded and powered up several times, with players being able to unlock higher damage, explosions upon impact, and even locking on to enemies and being able to bend around curves and corners.
One of the key abilities in RAGE 2 is going to be Overdrive. As you use your abilities to cause carnage and kill enemies, your Overdrive meter will fill up. When in Overdrive, players will be able to do- well, exactly what the ability’s name suggests. Guns will do extra damage and gain new attributes, your health will start regenerating, while you will even get better loot from enemies.
While the protagonist of RAGE 2’s story is a pre-defined character named Walker, players will nonetheless be able to customize their character to some degree. This will, of course, include upgrades and trees, but even beyond that, players will be able to choose their character’s gender and change their appearance.
We’ve already spoken of vehicles in RAGE 2, and how players will be able to drive pretty much anything they see that has wheels. That said, there will be a few main vehicles in the game that will serve particular functions. Not only will these be used for combat, these main vehicles will also be upgradable, and can be customized with weapons and custom loadouts.
COMING TO STEAM
Though Bethesda’s titles are almost always available on Steam, Fallout 76 was made exclusive to the Bethesda launcher, after which rumours stared circulating that RAGE 2 would follow suit. Recently, however, Bethesda confirmed that RAGE 2 and all of their upcoming titles will be available on Steam as well (Fallout 76 will come to the storefront as well).
PS4 PRO AND XBOX ONE X ENHANCEMENTS
RAGE 2 will, of course, feature enhancements on both the PS4 and the Xbox One X, but unlike most other games that do so, it will be prioritizing performance over resolution. On both enhanced systems, the game will run at a native 1080p resolution, but will be doing so at a frame rate of 60 frames per second.