Rage - 15 Hour SP!

Apr 17, 2009
San Diego, CA
Contains spoilers, pictures, insight, and a cool bolded tidbit.

Launching a new IP is a nerve-wracking experience for any developer. If you are legendary game maker id Software showing off your first new IP since the mid-1990s, the level of pressure must be excruciating. After two years, two trailers, and even some confusion about the game's genre, id finally pulls back the curtain on its multi-platform post-apocalyptic shooter, Rage, and shows a live demo to both press and the public at QuakeCon 2009.

With Rage, id is trying to reshape what people think about when they hear the name "id." As the creators of the first person shooter genre, that's not an easy task. Despite Rage's early genre confusion (is it a shooter or a vehicular combat racer?), it's clear from this demo that Rage is definitely a first person shooter first -- but with added layers (like the aforementioned vehicular combat, and even character interaction) to enhance the experience.


Our demo begins with a little backstory that sets the stage for the new world we are about to see in-motion for the first time. Rage takes place on a future Earth -- about 80-to-100 years after an asteroid was supposed to destroy the world. In preparation for the impending disaster, the governments of the world banded together for a last ditch effort to save humanity: the Eden project. For Eden, special arks were then buried underground -- arks where approximately a dozen specially chosen people (military personnel, scientists, government officials) would lie in cryogenic sleep until a future date to then wake up to a new and better world.
The game begins with your character waking up from his cryogenic sleep, but there's a problem: Everyone else in his ark is dead.

The ark is apparently damaged, and surfaces early. Soon afterwards, you discover that you are not alone, and this future world is far different than expected. Segments of society have survived the disaster, but have instead devolved from the early pre-asteroid Earth, and have no memory of the Eden project.

Id's demo starts about an hour or two into the game. Your character has been sent on a mission to the regional hub city of Wellspring to find the mayor and gather supplies to resupply a local settlement that he's been helping. As you leave this starting area, the game world opens up for the first time.

This is the first time we see the desert buggy that you'll be driving on your journey. Shortly into the trip, mercenaries attack you with their own vehicles -- of course, our vehicle brandishes two roof-mounted machine guns that pack a mean punch. These guns auto-aim onto any vehicle that crosses our frontal cone of fire. We also notice that instead of a traditional radar box, the interface utilizes a circular HUD wrapping around your car, with arrows pointing toward threats. Matt Hooper, Rage's lead designer, mentions several times that the car combat is an, "extension of the FPS experience," and that he wants players to grow attached to their vehicles much like how Link felt for his horse Epona in the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Within moments the enemies are dispatched, and we arrive at Wellspring. After loading into town, a quick musical flourish plays which sounds partially Old West -- but with an Asian sound that stylistically communicates the city's societal makeup. While walking around the town, you're met with equal parts disdain and apathy. Most citizens ignore you, while others comment on how goofy you look in your ark outfit.

Link to Video: 1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3175573

The city's architectural design combines rusted shantytown with steam punk. Its citizens wear odd clothing combinations -- like pauper pants alongside a waist jacket and monocle. This whole aesthetic is a bit strange, but it adds to the world's bizarre beauty. The developers at id clearly spent their time planning the look of this world. Parts of the environment feel familiar, yet at the same time completely alien. It's hard not to just sit and stare at the beautiful lighting and particle effects in town -- especially indoors, where the game does a great job of recreating the effect of sunlight reflecting off of dust floating in the air near windows.

At this point in the demo, we jump forward in the story a little bit to a sun-soaked dusty office where we discover, through a conversation, that you've been working for the local sheriff. Although there were several conversations with NPC's during our demo, it's clear that id isn't trying to copy the conversations systems of Fallout 3 or Mass Effect. "We're trying to implement an action storytelling experience, rather than a five-page text conversation," says creative director Tim Willits.

Most of these conversations appear one-sided, and include either exposition about the world, or merely an explanation of a new mission. The sheriff explains that he needs you to explore a Shrouded clan base in the north, because they've been using remote controlled cars packed with C4 (called RC-Bombs) to destroy vehicles. Once inside the base, you have to find their bomb cache and -- guess what -- blow it up.

Before leaving Wellspring, you have to visit Mick's garage to your vehicle of choice and take off. The choices for this part of the demo include the Monarch (a larger, more heavily armored vehicle) and your trusty Dune Buster buggy. You can upgrade each component of your vehicle at this garage as well. One nice visual touch is that while selecting upgrades, you view the car as a wire frame model that disassembles and reassembles each part as you change the options.

Rather than driving to the location, we once again skip forward to the facility where we not only get our first extensive look at combat, but also get a chance use the Shrouded's own RC-bombs to blow up their explosive caches. According to Hooper, players can visit any location in the game at any time. "The player is allowed to come here [the Shrouded clan base] before he actually has the mission [to destroy the cache]. Perhaps the bandits will be too tough, but we allow [players] the freedom to explore the world in an open, but directed, experience."

Once inside, we quickly encounter enemies. The gunplay looks similar to many previous id titles. Besides your somewhat standard pistol, machine gun, and shotgun, we also notice the crossbow weapon. The designers intend to offer a "streamlined" list of ammo types. "We don't want to add ammo types just to say we have ammo types," Hooper adds, "we always want a short list of meaningful items that provide the player choices." As an example, we see the crossbow with an electrical bolt take out the front entry without alerting enemies further down the tunnel. Another stealth-oriented weapon is a three-sided boomerang called a wingstick that you can throw from great distances. If stealth isn't your thing, the last ammo type id shows off is the "fat boy" -- a type of bullet for the pistol that increases stopping power for close quarters combat.


In addition to standard weapons you also have access to a variety of engineering gizmos that enhance the base combat. In one encounter the player gets the attention of a group of enemies with a poorly aimed crossbow shot -- but instead of attacking the attacking bandits head on, he then places an automatic guard turret at the only entrance to the balcony, and it mows the enemies down. After dispatching all the enemies, the player can actually use one of the enemy's RC-Bombs as a reusable engineering item to enter the explosive cache from a tunnel entrance and then detonate to finish off the cache (and the mission).

Once back in town, we pay a visit to the vehicle upgrade vendor, Rusty. After a short conversation we discover that he gets paid in racing certificates -- ones that you can only win by competing at the Wellspring speedway. Once you accept this racing assignment, you can then choose between several events: Time Trial, Combat Speed, Dusty 8 Open, and Southern Highway. We opt for Combat Speed: a three-lap race where the fastest time wins. As the name suggests, you also have access to your vehicular weaponry during the race; this ends up playing out like a mix between Motorstorm and Full Auto. You can destroy your opponents during the race, but they will respawn and continue racing. The benefit for doling out damage is an extra racing certificate for each vehicle you destroy. Also, littered throughout the track are both ammunition and nitrous oxides power-ups. It's actually surprising how complete the transition from FPS to racer is in these events.

After winning the race we see another aspect of the racing scene: sponsorships. In order to gain access to more powerful vehicles, you have to be part of a sponsor class race. So while talking to Slim (the race scheduler), you might learn that Mutant Bash TV is looking to sponsor a racer -- so you might want to visit their studios. Once there, you meet J.K. Stiles, the corpulent neckerchief-wearing producer of MB TV -- a show that is a mixture of gladiatorial games and a funhouse carnival gone mad. One interesting thing we notice during our demo is a disfigurement to J.K. Stiles' feet. After asking the developers about this, we find out that he's part mutant -- adding a self-loathing psychological element to his desire for mutant destruction.


If the title of the show isn't a clue the premise is simple: complete each challenge room by killing all the mutants while surviving their attacks and any environmental hazards along the way. One room requires constant movement as you race around the area, shooting mutants while avoiding spikes that randomly shoot up through the ground. After making your way through several crazy rooms, you then unlock a bonus round for an opportunity to gain powerups -- but there's a risk. The bonus round features a gigantic slot machine that works by shooting a target in front of each spinning wheel to make it stop. Land on three combinations of dollar signs, and you gain rewards. But hit a spinning skull, and a swarm of mutants bursts out of the machine to attack you. Id concludes the demo after finishing the bonus round.

For a first look at a game, id showed off surprising amount of content, and the id folks assure that this is only a taste of what Rage has to offer. The developers confirmed that Rage's campaign is split in two parts -- each with a very distinct look and feel. At the moment the singleplayer campaign is scheduled to ship on two DVDs for the Xbox 360 and PC, with a third disc featuring some type of multiplayer component isn't up for discussion yet. The PlayStation 3 version will fill up a dual-layer Blu-Ray, and feature less compression to the game's megatextures. We're still not quite sure what to make of Rage's unique mix of game elements, but the even just the technical achievements associated with producing a game that looks and runs this well make this a game worth keeping an eye on.
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beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
Milwaukee, WI
So tell us your name, and your role on the project.

Jason Kim. I'm the senior producer on RAGE. I've been working on that game ever since I started at id.

So you started with RAGE was under EA?

I started at Id, and we didn't start development on RAGE until maybe a year past when I started, because we were working on another IP that's completely different from RAGE that we may still approach again in the future. But we decided that once the tech actually started getting some good momentum, where, "Hey, let's really maximize the technology and utilize the megatexture. So what can we do to really make this a rich experience for the player with that tech?" That's how we got to the outdoor experience in this vast megatexture and used that as the basis for an environment that the player has the ability to enter into different combat environments and also interact with various other things, like drive a car, go into a town and talk to different settlers. That whole evolution was based on what John (Carmack) was working on and what we felt could best explout out of that tech was what RAGE is now.

Switching from EA to Bethesda, did that change much of the game?

It didn't change anything on that, actually. Our partnership with EA was great. Our eventual acquisition by Zenimax to be part of the Bethesda family had nothing to do with our discontent or anything. I don't know what people are talking about in that regard. We actually enjoyed working with EA.

I don't think I've read anything negative about that relationship.

Yes. Those guys are just awesome. This just made a lot of sense for the co-owners, the directors now, and obviously Zenimax to have the Bethesda guys. This was just a great fit, having id. I think we're really good at making FPS games, so it seemed like a nice fit. We make FPS games. They make RPGs. We're not stepping up on each other, and we're both good at what we do.

Have you guys gone through graphical tweaks before you got to where you are now? When you showed it at QuakeCon and Gamescom, has it changed much since then?

Surprisingly, I don't know if people can really understand, especially people that aren't in our development cycle maybe can't really understand. We always go through different generations of technology, because it's always in development. But the core rendering technology of what you see onscreen has not changed ever since John had the first inkling of wanting to do this megatexture stuff and the virtualized texture system. Nothing's changed ever since even before we got RAGE running. That system has been pretty much the same since its very inception.

Can you talk some about the mechanics in the game, particularly in two different areas. I noticed when he was aiming with the pistol, it seemed like he was actually pulling up a scope or a monocle to his eye to aim with. Is he meant to be holding that and aiming a gun at the same time?

Yeah. The item that you get early on is a monocular. It's basically something that you can see great distances with and be able to identify objects in the wasteland. What we decided was, the pistol's fun, but it's missing a little something. Why don't we combine the monocular and the pistol? Yeah, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the real world, but this is a game. Let's make it fun for the player. So I can zoom in with the monocular, because I have that as an item, and shoot distant objects with it. We still need to balance out some of the characteristics of how that works, but it was fun, so we kept it in.

It's actually an interesting addition for all the other weapons you have. Because we do have a sniper rifle, so we don't want to make it exactly like a sniper rifle. But it actually gives you this added benefit to having this monocular in hand all the time. If you decide, "Well, the monocular is useless. I don't want to deal with this thing. I don't need to see that far," or whatever, you can sell it. You can get rid of it. Maybe you can buy it back again; maybe you can't. But if you don't have it and you want to do the zoom, you won't be able to do that.

The other mechanic was the quick-use items. We saw the remote-control bomb car, the sentry bot. How big a part of the game are those items?

I think those are a really big part of the game because we can do the weapons with our eyes closed. What we wanted to do is add this meaningful new layer of ... I think Matt (Hooper, design director) called it the player's tool box, or get some new toys for the player to be able to kill all the bad guys with. When we were first thinking about these engineering items, it was just a cool idea. "Hey, why don't we make a little car that has a bomb on it, and it just becomes another grenade that you just control?" But it was fun. We got it in. It was like, "Oh yeah, you can drive this around. You drive around the corner. The guy's like, 'What?' and it blows up." It's just gratifying. So then we take it a step further, and we add these turrets and these sentry bots. We'll have more and more of these engineering items that just work with the fiction, because it is post-apocalyptic and we'd kinda be out there.

You'll get these little plans for things that you can make that become your engineering item list. You can utilize whatever you feel is going to help you in combat. You may not want to do any of it. You might just be fine using your machine gun, your shotgun, your pistol, and all the different primary weapons, but it really adds to the depth of game play between what your interaction is with the AI and the gunplay that you'll have. You can make the AI actually do some different things by introducing a turret, like when you saw in the demo. We try to control it as much as we can, but we can't really control the AI. So when they come in, they were going after the turrets. We actually wanted to show more of the turret firing at the guys, but what we ended up getting was those guys came in and took all those down really quickly. This is the kind of dynamic action experience that we want the players to have.

You could go in there guns a-blazing, but you could also set up little defensive perimeters and send in a sentry bot. If you're one of those guys like, "I'm never going to get hit ever in this game," you might get an achievement for that. That's because you were crafty, you used your RC bomb car, you used your turrets, and you were good at taking cover. These are just kind of nice ways for the player to use these engineering items. It is part of the game that's a core part of the game, but it's not the be-all, end-all of the game. The weapons and the whole system is just wrapped around together with the fiction.

Is your character meant to be an engineer? Does he have a background in that?

We purposely keep the character's story in the background ambiguous, because we want you to feel like that's you and project what you feel you think the player should be through just your own creative thought process.

He didn't really say in regards to the Ark, but are you in some sort of suspended animation in those things?

You are, actually. It's a cryosleep or suspended animation. I don't have the exact date, but years into the future after Day Zero, the Arks are supposed to come up. You don't want a bunch of senior citizens coming out of the ground or dead people because of just the aging process, so they are suspended. Even though your Ark is damaged, it goes through this process of reviving you, and that's where you get some little tutorials about the standard thing: Do you like your look inverted or not? How advanced of a player are you? Should we set the difficulty to be medium, hard, easy? And then shoot you out into the wasteland as soon as possible.

Do you see your own character ever, à la Fallout's third person? Because when one character was remarking, "Oh, you're wearing an Ark jumpsuit," I was immediately wondering, what does that look like? Because I can't see my own character. It's not third person. Is there ever a time where you see your own appearance in the menus or anything?

We haven't solidified whether we will actually have something to be able to view your player in the menus. But we're still working on the actual look of the inventory system that has all of your different items, all of your different weapons, and even all of your vehicles laid out for you. There's a possibility that we've been throwing around. "Well, why don't we make this dynamic?" It depends on how convincing it is of a feature that makes it compelling for the player. But we're a first-person shooter. We have really no need to see the player. The Ark suit mechanic in the story is we want to be able to give you bits of the story as you make your way through town. So when people are telling you this, it's not just, "Hey, I want to look at myself." It's, "Hey, you're in that Ark suit still. You have to go and change your clothes, otherwise you're going to stick out like a sore thumb and the authorities are going to get you."

When we first started getting emails from Bethesda about this event, they were calling it BFG 2010. The term BFG exists because of id and Doom. Is there a BFG in RAGE? I'm imagining there will be rocket launchers and stuff like that, but anything beyond?

Yes, we do have a rocket launcher. We have just a good selection of weapons, not millions of weapons, that you can upgrade and things like that. But we really want to keep it concise. We want to keep it more directed, but also open it up for action for the players. So we do have bigger, better weapons as you progress through the story. Whether we call it a BFG, who knows? But we definitely want to hearken to some of that. We take references from our own games as well as other games we have, even movies and pop culture. We get influences from everything that all the developers actually read, play, watch. It's interesting to see how Tim (Willits, creative director) and Matt are able to collect all that information, figure out if it actually fits within the concept and the scope of what we're able to accomplish. It is really that flat. People can throw out ideas and say, "Well, that's cool, and that's doable. Let's do that," and then try to prototype it. If it's a good enough idea, and it stands the test of time or even analysis by your peers, then maybe it's something we do for DLC. Maybe it's something we do for RAGE 2.

Speaking of millions of guns, it's hard to see this and not think Borderlands. t's a post-apocalyptic setting. You've got cars that can shoot. You're interacting with towns that are post-apocalyptic. Then Fallout: New Vegas is set in that same space. Is it just a space that developers are getting comfortable with and feeling like we've got a lot of stories to tell there? Why do you think these games are all using that setting?

Well, I can't really speak for the other developers. [laughs]

Well, sure.

I've maybe talked to Todd Howard a little bit, not exactly about that. But for us on the RAGE team, it really afforded us that opportunity to be out there and still make it fit. It also goes back to what can we do with the technology that's going to be convincing and compelling? We wanted to do something that looked destroyed, because if we start making space stations and all these clean lines, then it's a completely different game, visually speaking. Even though we can still do that, the artists really wanted to push on the ability to use the technology where you have everything is unique. So we want to dirty up everything. You saw down in the well in that level, the guy was just down holding his arm. He was bleeding out, basically. That does not add any more data to what we already have in that level for texture space. We can go in and unique everything in that level, and that's what the megatexture allows us to do. It's just one big megatexture. You can stamp up a big blood pool throughout the entire section of that area, even the entire map. This is just something that the artists were thinking, "Well, it'd be cool if we did something destroyed, something post-apocalyptic."

At the outset when Tim was thinking about story and how to really push on this stuff with the directors, it was already in that vein, and how far we go depended on what we were able to push on with the technology and what the artists were going to be able to execute convincingly. Hopefully it comes out, and from what I'm hearing from various people today, I guess we really hit the mark. Because even when I play it -- I'm just a producer; I don't make anything that actually shows up in the game -- but it's awesome for me because I can sit back and see what all is being worked on, making sure that it gets done in a timely fashion. But when I actually get my hands on the controller from time to time and look at the game, I'm just amazed by the amount of detail that's in there. I wonder if people see the same thing that I see. It's really cool to hear some of the nice things that people are saying about it, not just today, but we've heard at QuakeCon. I really feel that this was a good decision for us to go this post-apocalyptic route.

You've said the word megatexture a few times. What does that mean? Obviously we know what textures are, but what are you guys meaning when you say megatexture?"

It's essentially that if you saw this pillow as a world, that's one texture. Instead of this procedurally drawn thing, you have a texture that's 64x64 that's being drawn everywhere and repeated. This whole thing can be entirely unique. We start off with some tiling textures, but then we go back in, and just like the blood that we can stamp on the ground to show that the guy is really hurt, we can put grass. We can put erosion. We can basically go down to the pixel level and that can be a unique texture, color, everything, and that still does not increase the size of the texture limit, because that's what the megatexture is. It's just the name that was chosen by John.

We saw Wellspring. We saw the Dam. Besides those, how big is the scope of this game? Is it pretty massive? You do have vehicles, so I'm imagining there is some size to it.

It's hard to say in one word or two what the scope of the game is. I think what we're trying to hit is that the scope of the game is just right. We don't want it to be too long, and we don't want it to be too short, because we've been there. We're consumers, too. We actually buy games and play games, and when you play a short game, it doesn't feel like you did anything. Then it sucks, because games aren't that cheap these days. If it's too long and you don't have the right emotional moments to carry that through, then it just feels like you're doing things over and over again. So we're very cognizant of this nice balance between long and short, and then trying to hit that sweet spot is what our goal is.

Tim was touting the game as being "Open, but directed." For instance, when he was in Wellspring, and that alarm started going off, and he went into that office and started a mission. Could he have just ignored that if he had chosen to to go on to do something else?

You could have ignored that and gone on to do some other things, but there is still this feeling of openness, and the directedness part comes when you're on this ... you are basically in a movie scenario, for lack of a better phraseology. When you get to a certain point in the story element, if that's something that has to be done as part of your growth into the story, then you may be able to go and do some other things. There may be some side missions and things that other settlers may need that you want to do before you do that, and you could definitely do those things. But until you do that, you will not actually be able to progress along the critical story path.

Well great, thank you for coming.

No, no problem. Thank you very much.



beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
Milwaukee, WI
you know, when i first read that i was like EEK! i know a jason kim who works in gaming development!

but its a different guy :( actually, the JK i know worked on the Kick Ass game on the PSN
Apr 3, 2009
this looks pretty sweet.

this is crazy,lol how they gonne put this on the 360
"John Carmack has revealed that an uncompressed software build of Rage is one terabyte in size."
Apr 17, 2009
San Diego, CA
RAGE will get DLC soon after launch

Tim Willits, head of id Software, has confirmed that his company’s upcoming shooter RAGE will be supported via downloadable content soon after the game hits store shelves in September 2011.

Speaking to the chaps at VG247 during the Eurogamer Expo this past weekend, Willits also let slip that development of the hotly anticipated title is being formulated in such a way to allow for “other platform games, sequels and prequels.”

When asked if the game would support DLC, Willits replied, “Yes,” further adding, “The framework is there, and we plan on supporting the game soon after launch.”

“We do think this is an important brand for us and we want to maximise the brand and also let people see that we are committed to this product.”

He then added that the RAGE universe has been designed to allow for spin-off titles spanning multiple platforms: “One of the things we have done with RAGE is make the universe much richer than we have with our other games,” he explained.

“You can imagine that stuff happened before you got there, and stuff will happen after you leave. We wanted to make a rich world that we can expand on through iPhone games, other platform games, sequels and prequels.”
Apr 17, 2009
San Diego, CA
RAGE single-player to last 15 hours?

RAGE creative director Tim Willits has let slip that the futuristic shooter’s single-player component can be beaten in roughly 15 hours.

News comes via an interview with Willits in the latest issue of OXM (via Examiner), though it’s unknown as to how many other solo-based distractions the post-apocalyptic blaster has up its sleeves beyond the campaign.

Of course, developer id Software has yet to lift the cloth on the game’s multiplayer component, with details expected to crop up at some point this year.

RAGE is due for release on PlayStation 3 in North America on September 13.
Apr 17, 2009
San Diego, CA
Bethesda details RAGE Anarchy Edition

Bethesda’s revealed that it will be treating North American punters to a swanky ‘Anarchy Edition’ of id Software’s much-anticipated blaster RAGE.

That’s providing you pre-order the title ahead of its release this September – doing so will net you the Anarchy Edition of the blaster free of charge.

As for the contents, the Anarchy Edition throws in two exclusive weapons, namely the one-handed double shotgun and a set of spiked knuckle dusters dubbed the Fists of Rage.

In addition to the above, you’ll also gain access to the Rat Rod; a special racing buggy used for the driving sections that replaces the bog-standard vehicle on offer.

Also included is the Crimson Elite armour and a collection of Wasteland Sewer missions, the latter of which sees players ploughing through a heap of old tunnels populated by legions of mutant bad guys.
Just in time for the kickoff of QuakeCon 2011, the epic new trailer forRage sheds new light on the forces aligned against humanity's remnants in id's post-apocalyptic shooter.

As if we needed any more motivation to play what might be the best thing to come out of id since Quake, this intense look at the story behind the game gives us a clear view of the enemy we'll face after the end of the world: Ourselves. Man, we suck.

Source: Kotaku

Here's the trailer

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Sewer levels are frequently some of the most maligned in any action game, but in Rage they're a bonus. In an interview with Eurogamer, id creative director Tim Willits said that sewer hatches scattered across the landscape would be open for those who bought the game new, a perk those buying used will have to pay for.

It's bound to irritate some fans, but Willits tried to soften the blow by downplaying the significance of the sewers, saying, "Most people never even see it. I can tell you, some people will buy Rage, download that, and still never set foot in those things. They just won't. I think that's fair. It's cool. It's outside the main path. We're not detracting from anything. But I know some consumers, when you can't avoid it, then you get a little touchy subject."

Used buyers, we know your inclination is to start fuming, but just look at those guys in the above image. Do you honestly want to poke around the sewers underneath their house?

Source: Joystiq

The game is looking mighty nice!
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Apr 17, 2009
San Diego, CA
Rage requires 8 GB install on PS3

Tim Willits, creative director of id Software, said in an interview (with Digital Foundry) that the PlayStation 3 version of its upcoming game Rage will require an 8 gigabyte game install.

Willits praised the hardware for PlayStation 3, saying, "What we were able to do is install all the textures to the highest level. What is nice about the PS3 platform is that it's just one platform. Everyone has one Blu-ray drive, one hard drive, it's all the same."

Rage is scheduled for release on Oct 4...