In May, Walmart Canada leaked Rage 2—after which Bethesda returned with a tongue-in-cheek reply, before officially confirming days later. Despite being so close to E3 2018, id Software studio director Tim Willits reckons the leak helped the shooter stand itself apart from another, similarly-themed big hitter: Fallout 76.
Chatting to gamesindustry.biz, Willits says the timing of the leak turned out to be "quite nice" for id because it'd planned a staggered pre-E3 reveal of its own. He suggests a number of journalists have since questioned the developer's intentions—some have implied the Walmart leak was staged, says Willits—but is adamant the leak wasn't planned.
Willits tells GI.biz the reason for Rage 2's proposed pre-E3 reveal was to avoid the "55,000-ton gorilla we have to compete with", in reference to Fallout 76.
"That's why I positioned this as the post-post-apocalyptic game," Willits tells GI.biz. "From the story and the different biomes we've created, we tried to evolve the game past the 50 shades of brown we had in Rage and [Rage 2 developer] Avalanche had in Mad Max.
"So we really embraced the colors, the vibrancy of the personalities, the characters, the story, and of course the marketing, which has done really well for us. You have to be at the top of the scale, otherwise you're just at that bottom. You're ballast."
The original Rage's muted look is something both Willits and our own Tom Senior have explored recently. Besides more vibrant landscapes, Willits hopes to attract would-be players to Rage 2 by presenting a world that's both believable and laden with cool, sci-fi tech and "over-the-top" creatures and weapons.
"We can have these high fantasy, sci-fi-type experiences and over-the-top action in a world that people may not be able to directly relate to, but they can relate to it easier than some super fantasy alien world," adds Willits. "We don't have to explain buildings and roads and all that, people understand it, and then they come on the journey with us."