Bethesda made a number of huge announcements at this year’s E3, including a wealth of details around the upcoming Fallout 76, confirmation of Elder Scrolls VI, a teaser for DOOM Eternal, and heaps more. But along with all of that, we got a tasty chunk of gameplay footage for post-apocalyptic shooter, Rage 2.

I got the opportunity to sit down with id Software studio director, Tim Willits, who told me all about the game before I sat down to give it a whirl for myself. Having never played the original, my first question was whether or not I should pick it up before Rage 2 hits the shelves.

“You do not have to have played the first Rage,” Willits told PEDESTRIAN.TV. “We pushed the story forward thirty plus years, we have a new main character, he speaks, unlike the original. So we’ll catch you up to speed in about, you know, a couple of seconds on what you missed, don’t worry about that.”

In other words, the game stands on its own merits without needing to lean on the finer details of the previous entry. “We really needed to make this game be its own game and that’s how we launched it, that’s how we talk about it,” Willits added.

From the art and trailers we’ve seen so far, Rage 2 certainly looks more vibrant compared to its predecessor, which seemed to use “every shade of brown” to bring its world to life, Willits said. This time around, the team was able to play with an environment set decades on from the original, offering more possibilities.

“In Rage 2 we have these lush biomes because this is more of a post-post-apocalyptic game and the world has evolved, the world’s growing,” Willits said. “So we have forests and swamps and lakes and really cool lush areas that lead to more diversity in the environment which then leads to more diversity in the characters.” 

After playing through roughly half an hour of the game, I found the that combat feels incredibly similar to the latest DOOM in terms of speed and intensity, but where the latter was a rather linear experience, Rage 2 is completely open world which, to me, feels exciting as fuck. You’ll even be able to head straight for the end if you’re keen or just have a death wish.

“You can find roaming mutants and bandits and once you get out of the kind of introduction area, if you wanna go straight for the end, more power to ya,” Willits said. “Take it at your pace.”

Where the combat really shines is in the ability to perform combos. You’ll have access to a wealth of special weapons like the Wingstick, hectic anti-gravity grenades, and tons of guns, but you’ll also have special Nanotrite abilities. For example, there’s a move which throws enemies into the air with a powerful stomp. Using a number of these in quick succession to bring down a group of post-apocalyptic assholes is as fun as it is satisfying and adds a new dimension to the run-and-gun combat most id Software games are famous for. Using these combos will award you with a kind of agro mode that ramps up the damage you can dish out for a limited amount of time.

“In DOOM 2016 you’re encouraged to do the glory kills, in Rage 2 you’re encouraged to use your Nanotrite abilities because that increases your killstreaks which then allow the enemies to drop the Feltrite which charges your overdrive and you get this loop,” Willits said.

“One evolution over the original is the original had the story about these Nanotrites, these little nano robots that kind of helped you and healed you and stuff, so we’ve evolved that storyline to actually give you combat abilities.”

One of the biggest lessons the team learnt from the original Rage was that open world games need to be built with the right tools, which is something Willits is stoked on this time around.

“Don’t make an open world game without an open world engine. Lesson learned on that one,” he said. “One of the things people struggled with on the first game is, you know, you loaded into first-person areas, and then you loaded into the driving areas, and you loaded into a race, whereas this is just no level loads.”

“We’ve taken all the great things that Avalanche Studios does, and then we fused all the lessons that we’ve learned at id for the past 25 years into something that is really unique and special.”

You may have taken no notice of Rage back in 2010, but that shit won’t fly this time, folks. If you liked the DOOM remake, the new Wolfenstein games, and anything set in a vibrant open world, Rage 2 is gonna be right up your ally.

Image: Bethesda