Q&A: id Software shakes QuakeCom

The Mesquite, Texas game developer id Software has always conducted business its own way. Rather than announce release dates for upcoming games, the maker of classics such as the Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein series have held the company line that a game will be released "when it's done."

So when id is ready to announce news, it's serious. Company co-founder and technical director John Carmack and CEO Todd Hollenshead made no fewer than six major announcements during presentations Friday at QuakeCon in Dallas.

For starters, id is hard at work on a new game called Rage— a new intellectual property not related to any previous games such as Doom. Carmack has been working on it and the new id Tech 5 game engine since finishing Doom 3 for Xbox (released April 2005).

Also in the works: a movie based on World War II-Nazi hunting Castle Wolfenstein games, a free web-based version of Quake 3 and a Quake Arena Arcade game for Xbox Live. And the company that rarely sets release dates announced one for the PC game Enemy Territory: Quake Wars: Oct. 2, 2007.

Hollenshead and lead designer Tim Willits talked about everything id just before QuakeCon:

Q: Why announce all this now a few weeks after E3?

Hollenshead: E3 was just too soon. And just on the landscape of where things are in importance, E3 has been scaled back and at the same time QuakeCon has expanded. … One way to sort of make sure the event can continue to grow is to do things that we can totally control. Here we have the exclusive ear of the media for a few days and we do not have to scream so loud to get our point across over everybody else.

Q: Tell us some more about Rage.

Willits:The game is built upon our new id Tech 5 techonology. Before we talk about the game it is important to talk a bit about the technology. Id Tech 5 is the very first engine that allows completely uniquely textured environments. Gamers will never see the same environment twice. It has massive outdoor landscape technology as well as classic great indoor id-style techonology and it is fully cross platform compatible, which means that the assets that we make can work on the (Xbox) 360, the (Sony) PS3, the PC and the Mac. We really have a lot of flexibilty. That's what Rage is built upon.

Id invented the first-person shooter genre and we've always helped create online action gaming and John continually developes award-winning technology. Rage is, I believe, going to help define what people expect from a first-person shooter. It's a game that is story-driven (and) non-linear. It has both vehicles, racing and the classic good foundation of first-person shooter action that we are famous for. But you can do so much more in the environment. The name Rage is a catchy four-letter word that works with the story as well as the driving elements. Sometimes when you drive around, you want to drive over something or smash into it. You can do that.

Hollenshead:The story is there is this oppressive regime. So there is something for you to rage against. Also there is more of an adventure aspect to the game because of what we can do with these vast outdoor landscapes. We can give you a vehicle to drive through some of them (and) you can make modifications to your car, garage style and of course, r-a-g-e is in "garage" too.

Q: The story sounds more realistic than Doom or Quake.

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