We know Rage 2 won’t have multiplayer but it will, id Software studio boss Tim Willits told me at QuakeCon today, have some kind of “social component”.
“We will have a social component but it’s not your typical multiplayer,” he said in our interview. “We’re not quite ready to talk about it but we understand community is important, and we understand connecting with other gamers is important. But there’s not a true what I call ‘classic’ multiplayer, so you’re not running around together with your friends, because we feel we have enough hours of entertainment for your money. We feel like we have a good offering.”
We already know, too, Rage 2 will be a live service, so a game kept alive by id Software with extra content after launch. But id Software has been vague about how.
“Our way of thinking is making the tail of the game longer,” Willits said today. “Our fans put hundreds of hours of their lives into the game and we want to give them an experience worth their time. We have plans to do all sorts of things: free plus paid updates and obviously some dynamic elements.”
“Ah… I don’t know yet,” he answered. “You need to be careful when you say things – like ‘loot boxes’. ‘Argh oh my god loot boxes!’ We won’t have loot boxes but yes we are trying to figure out how it will work. It’s a balance: you don’t want people to feel like you’re trying to chase them for money but you want to give people the opportunity to have the experience they want and to extend that tail, so we’re still working some of those plans out.”
The games industry turned its back on loot boxes following the Star Wars Battlefront 2 furore and subsequent investigations into whether loot boxes constitute a kind of gambling, so it’s no surprise Rage 2 won’t feature them. But one id Software game does: Quake Champions. It still has them now.
“Well it’s a free-to-play game,” said Willits – referring to today’s announcement Quake Champions will be free now and forever more.
“We’ve done well surviving the loot box, um, for lack of a better term, ‘rude word’, just because people know exactly what it is. There’s no content that we’re gating, there’s nothing that prevents you from enjoying the game – it’s totally up to you. We’re not hiding Darth Vader in a loot box. Because we did it well and because it’s all vanity items, players are like, ‘It’s cool.’ Our players have accepted that. We haven’t had a backlash at all.”
In other words, loot boxes in Quake Champions are more than likely there to stay. “Yeah,” said Willits. “I mean we’re always evaluating the way we monetise but they work well for us.”
Rage 2 is due spring 2019, and is a joint production between id Software and Just Cause studio Avalanche. Actually, Willits clarified, “The bulk of the work is done by Avalanche. We have a number of folks that have been working with Avalanche on individual things. We have people come in and lay out this foundation of knowledge and I steer that – heck I talk to them every day – and they do the bulk of the work.”
A lengthy chunk of new gameplay was shown on stage at QuakeCon 2018 today and is in the new trailer embedded above.