Rage 2, among many other titles, was denied a surprise appearance at this year’s E3 by a leaked sales page at Walmart Canada. Somebody just lost their job! There’s a bit of hubbub right now, surrounding what was at the time, the strongest rumour of the bunch – that Rage would be making a surprise return. Its post apocalyptic themes have a lot to offer disgruntled and disappointed Borderlands fans. Not only will it draw from an audience pool originating from the original Rage fanbase, but it’ll also poach a lot of the Borderlands faithful.
It would even appear that, in its very design, Rage 2 is aiming to do this. While the original title was a little more gritty and sombre, Rage 2 is marketing a tongue-in-cheek, quirky approach to a wasteland playground. A theme considered staple for Borderlands, where it could hardly be found in the original Rage. Rage 2’s trailers know that this approach to wasteland madness is the kind of appeal that won over Borderlands fans and, in both its teaser and gameplay trailer, this acknowledgement is rammed home hard.
As a big fan of the original Rage, I was a little saddened to see that iD and Avalanche have opted for the more whacky approach, skewing the original vision of for Rage’s rich post apocalypse. Yet, at this point, it’s clear to see Bethesda is keenly aware of its competition before it even exists. Depending on Rage 2’s ultimate sales figures and reception, it could well leave Borderlands rejected, hanging around in the gloomy corner of the post apocalypse party, empty beer can in hand.
What To Expect In Rage 2
The original Rage was brimming with potential, boasted solid gunplay and had a wonderfully designed world for a fresh IP. Yet that didn’t stop it from underperforming in sales and a couple of optimisation issues on PC, coupled with a choked out world design (a large set of narrow pathways posing as an open world) left it at the mercy of critics. Although, having played the entirety of the original game where few others did or even bothered to stick with it, I can happily report Rage 2 should be a guaranteed success. There’s other reasons for this aside from its sheer marketing inconvenience to Gearbox.
Rage may have suffered from a limited world map, but it knew how to offer the player plenty to do. Knowing that the next title is fully open world means this design ethos will carry over and this time, it won’t feel cramped and crammed into a small world. If there’s anything Avalanche knows how to do well, it’s make a big dustbowl of a wasteland not boring. We can see from a few clips in the gameplay trailer that, no we’re not going to get funneled into the same pathways over and over and yes, there’s varied environments to look forward to.
Rage also offered very soft RPG mechanics. While Borderlands is all about crazy stats flying about and micromanagement of buffs etc, Rage 2 will likely offer a far more watered down experience, again appealing to a variety of audiences. Don’t assume that Rage 2 will be lacking in the customisation department, though. In the original game, we saw vehicle customisation which is going to play a massive part in a full open world, 8th gen game. With the expectations that developers know their audiences have of them, that can only mean serious weapon customisation is also on the way.
It’s Going To Run Like A Dream
iD Tech 5 was janky, as the original Rage proved. Back then we saw a plethora of bugs on consoles and even performance issues on the beefiest of rigs of the time. When we take a moment to consider that iD Tech 6 has achieved great success in DOOM and the Wolfenstein franchise, things will likely start to look up. Those games are among the hallowed few that run at a solid 60fps on consoles. That’s quite a feat for an engine to pull off when those games look as richly detailed as they do. We would likely get some kind of trade off in quality to spread all this power across an open world. Despite that, Rage 2 is going look dependably fantastic when compared to the angular cel-shading of Borderlands. Graphics and performance junkies, hop on board!
It Could Put Destiny To Shame
Yes, you read that right. Take a minute to look back at the teaser trailer. The way it’s presented to us could imply some kind of co-op compatibility
We have an eighth generation open world game, marketing itself as a post apocalyptic playground. It has all the visuals and gunplay of DOOM and an open world to back it up. I have no sources that suggest this, but I’d be willing to bet money on Rage 2 boasting a strong co-op community. Maybe even PvP. With an open world, comes an inevitable grind. An exploration for reward system that we’ve all gotten used to, as if open worlds demand an RPG format. To insert the ability for players to discover areas and level up together, taking on optional, super hard areas just seems like common sense at this point. I think it’s pretty safe to say at this point that the Destiny community is feeling pretty deflated in the wake of Bungie’s laughable attempts at end game content. Can iD and Avalanche show them how it’s done? That ticks another audience box.
It’s certainly looking like Rage 2 has a lot of promising chips on the table. Whether or not the teams behind it will leverage that to good effect is another thing altogether. We’ll just have to wait until the full demonstration at E3 to know the facts. We can however, make a fair guess at Rage 2’s release window. Bethesda have a clever knack for releasing their games which usually involves an announcement at E3, followed by a surprisingly short wait for release. In the case of Dishonored 2, DOOM and Fallout 4, Bethesda announced them at E3 then released them the following Spring. In other words, waiting any longer for Rage 2 would break with Bethesda’s marketing tradition.